Old House Expo: Another Big Win for Midtown

Take nine homes in some of Montgomery’s beloved Midtown neighborhoods:  Old Cloverdale, Cloverdale-Idlewild, Edgewood, South Hull District and Capitol Heights. Add well over a hundred old house aficionados. Combine with a breathtakingly beautiful Montgomery spring afternoon (Sunday, May 1). And the predictable result:  another home sold during Montgomery’s 26th annual Old House Expo!

Since the mid 1980’s, old neighborhood lovers and passionate preservationists have combined efforts with REALTORS to produce a tour of homes to rival the new construction “Parade of Homes” occurring annually in Montgomery’s newer subdivisions. Their aim: to stimulate demand for Midtown’s older homes AND to invite into Midtown folks from other parts of the city so that they, too, can experience the joys of the Midtown lifestyle.

Some years, the Expo has featured homes that were in horrid disrepair. As a matter of fact, concern over one just such house — the Brittain-Dennis cottage in Old Alabama Town — is at least in part what inspired the first Old House Expo some 25 years ago. Other years, this being an example, most of the houses have been at least mostly (if not totally) modernized and “beautified.”

But all the years have had a common denominator: The attendees not only seem to enjoy the houses, but also seem to enjoy seeing one another. They greet one another with verve, gathering in the corners of one house or another to catch up with one everyone’s busy lives.

Many this year reported that they attended most of the 26 previous annual tours. They tell us, the hosts, that it’s part of the way they celebrate life in our older homes and neighborhoods. The Old House Expo is simply an event not to be missed.

And as a co-founder, I must tell you it’s a not-to-be-missed event for me. My mother, the late Betty Piatt, knew how much Old House Expo had come to mean to me. She was terminally ill in the spring of 1997 and had fallen into a coma around Memorial Day. But she knew Old House Expo was that year scheduled for Sunday, June 1. I hosted a home from 1-5pm that afternoon, then returned to her bed side. Mother died about 6am June 2.

Sandra Nickel has been listing and selling residential real estate for over 29 years, most with an intense focus on Montgomery’s Midtown neighborhoods. Sandra serves on the Mid-Alabama Coalition for the Homeless, the Cloverdale Business Coalition, Historic Southview, the Volunteer and Information Center, Landmarks Foundation and her own neighborhood Garden District Preservation Association.

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