Special program at Yost House taking place

·3 min read
The Catherine V. Yost House and Museum at 298 W. Water St.
The Catherine V. Yost House and Museum at 298 W. Water St.

Visitors to the Catherine V. Yost House and Museum will be treated to a special free outdoor program put on by Master Gardener volunteers during this month's Third Saturday events on Aug. 20.

For several years, Master Gardeners has planted and maintained a large Victorian Garden that has featured a variety of annual and perennial Heirloom Variety plants. These are flowers that have been especially selected from varieties that would have been available during the years the Yost family lived in the home (1898-1988) at the 298 W. Water St.

By careful planting and selection the gardens begin flowering in the early spring and maintain a constant show of color through the fall. Master gardeners have been specially trained through a series of classes put on by the Extension Agency.

This year the gardeners expanded the size and areas of their gardens and added a number of varieties of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers as well as other edible garden plants. Called "The Giving Garden," the produce is being donated to local charities. The outdoor gardens are always available for the public to walk through and appreciate.

As part of the program, volunteers will be making homemade salsa from the tomatoes and peppers, plus giving out many handouts of recipes. The program is designed to be very informal. Participants can come and go at their leisure.

Volunteers will be available to discuss any type of gardening questions. They will be able to offer suggestions to help home gardeners enhance their current gardens or even help beginners learn how to get started in a very enjoyable and profitable past time.

Free refreshments will be served, including Victorian recipe cookies. The program will be held rain or shine.

The interior of the home, an 1898 Queen Anne Victorian style home, will also be open for free public tours. The home features a large collection of paintings by the prolific Pontiac artist Catherine Yost and all of the furnishings in the home are original to the home and the family. The family patriarch, Zoath Freeman Yost was a prominent Pontiac attorney for over 50 years until his death in 1941.

The Yost House is one of three Pontiac House Museums that will be open again Saturday, Aug. 20, for free public tours from 1-3 p.m. Each of the historic homes provides visitors a different glimpse of life in Pontiac's past, from the mid 19th Century until the mid 20th Century. Each is different architecturally and a different perspective of life is presented in each of the homes. The homes are operated by volunteers from the Livingston County Historical Society.

The Jones House at 314 E. Madison St. For the August Open House, volunteers will be featuring a number of art objects from their large collection of donated area artifacts. Built in 1858, it is a rare example of Gothic Revival architecture in this area.

The home was occupied by several prominent Pontiac families before falling into disrepair. The Livingston County Historical Society restored and manages the home currently. It is now listed on National Register of Historic Places as the oldest surviving brick home in Pontiac. It also features a special exhibit on Pontiac native Thomas Googerty. He was a pioneer in the development of ornamental wrought iron.

The Jason Strevell House at 401 W. Livingston St. The most recent addition to the house museum collection, it holds a special place in local history by being the last known private home to have been visited by an attorney who rode the court circuit in the 1840s through early 1860.

Abraham Lincoln knew fellow attorney Jason Strevell professionally and the pair became personal friends. Early in 1860, Lincoln spent an evening in the home while awaiting a train for a return trip home. The pair spent the evening discussing a possible Lincoln candidacy in the upcoming election.

The home currently is featuring a large exhibit of paintings by Pontiac artist Richard Cunningham. He specialized in painting local scenes and landmarks.

All tours are always free, no advance reservations are necessary and there is free on street parking available near each home.

Livingston County Historical Society

This article originally appeared on Pontiac Daily Leader: Third Saturday event at Yost House involves Master Gardeners