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Patsy Cline's house opens to public

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Joe Richards, left, the docent at the Patsy Cline house in Winchester, conducts a tour at the grand opening of the home on Tuesday. Dennis Grundman/Daily

Want to go?

• The Patsy Cline Historic House is at 608 S. Kent St. in Winchester. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday through Oct. 31
Source: CelebratingPatsyCline.org

By Candace Sipos -- csipos@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- One small white and black home on South Kent Street saw quite a bit of foot traffic Tuesday.

It was the opening of the Patsy Cline Historic House, where the country singer lived from 1948 to 1953, according to Celebrating Patsy Cline Inc., the nonprofit organization behind the event. She lived there longer than she lived at any other home in the Winchester or Nashville areas, the organization's website says.

Moer than 100 guests walked through the same building that Cline used to call home, according to Judy Sue Huyett-Kempf, the house's executive director.

"It would make Patsy proud," Huyett-Kempf said. "I bet she's just a-grinning all the way."

Visitors could walk on the same ground where Cline tread years ago, hear stories about her life there during a guided tour and get a book signed by biographer Douglas Gomery, who was donating proceeds to CPC. Guests were walking around a home that looked very much like it did during Cline's stay, complete with replicas of furniture and decorations from that time period. But most of the original pieces remained in a climate-controlled storage unit. CPC acquired over 100 such items, including costumes, documents, a sewing machine and a porch glider, and the organization may open a museum for them one day.

There were a few original pieces available, however. A table, chair and lamp in the living room used to be Cline's. A colorful quilt hanging on her twin-sized bed upstairs was made by her mother, Hilda. A coat hanging in her closet was worn by Jessica Lange in the movie "Sweet Dreams."

CPC has been financially preparing for Tuesday for almost two years, but the organization bought the home six years ago. It served as a rental property until CPC raised the $100,000 needed to renovate the house.

"Everything about the house had to have work done to it," said Shelda Longerbeam, chairwoman of the fundraising committee for this project.

In addition to installing central heating and air conditioning, CPC hired KEE Construction to work on the walls, floors, windows and more. In order to pay for the complete overhaul, a team of six volunteers sent out letters about the home in hopes of securing the necessary funds. They also sold more than 200 bricks that were used during the construction. People could have messages engraved on them, with one line costing $100 and two lines costing $150. The bricks will continue to be sold to buy a pavilion for visitors who are waiting to get into the house, Longerbeam said.

"We had some great people who were willing to contribute to the home," Longerbeam said. "People in the community were very generous."

CPC members were happy with the outcome, and so were visitors who dropped by.
"It's just beautiful to see that it's back looking like it did then, when she was here," guest Kelly Presgraves said. "It's just a really neat thing, brings back a lot of memories."
Presgraves used to play with Cline's children when she was growing up, as her grandmother's house was right down the street from Cline's mother's home.

Mark Mills, who has always loved Cline's music, brought his daughter and niece to the event.

"I thought it was very nice," he said. "They kind of brought you back in time."

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