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Passed down from generations

By LOURDES VAZQUEZ
April 11, 2010 at 7:04 p.m.
Updated April 10, 2010 at 11:11 p.m.

Visitors await to tour the J.D. Mitchell house Saturday afternoon during the 24th annual historic homes tour April 10 - 11.

24th Historic Homes Tour

O'Connor-Proctor Building

202 N. Main

John C. Sigmund House

508 E. Santa Rosa

J.D. Mitchell House

301 S. Bridge

Robert L. Lawrence House

406 S. Liberty

Francis E. Huck House

507 S. William

Dr. George M. Tyng House

302 E. Murray

Mary Hall wound up the original doorbell at the John C. Sigmund House, and the loud ding could be heard throughout the home and into the porch.

Originally built as a cottage in 1902, the house has been marked as a historical landmark since 1987 and was part of the 24th annual home tour, this weekend.

The two-bedroom home has not undergone much change with original longleaf flooring and original transom windows, which allows air to flow throughout the home without opening doors. The home continues to be a family treasure.

Descendant of John Sigmund and owner of the property, Laurie Rothwell wants to keep the home as accurate as possible to the Victorian period, said Hall, tour guide for the home.

"It's been in the family for over 100 years." said Don Rothwell, Laurie's husband and tour guide.

Family heirlooms adorn the home, but as Don Rothwell pointed out during his section of the tour, 'some people put money in the home, some put money on the outside'.

"As you can see, the money went to the outside," said Don Rothwell, describing the exterior of the home.

Inside, a modest home sits decorated for the tour with items from various time periods, such as a photo of Sigmund. The bedroom in which Laurie grew up in continues to house a family heirloom, a bed passed down to Laurie by a cousin.

Hall said renovations have been made to the home, including the kitchen and master bedroom, with the owners working to keep the the integrity of the Victorian style home.

"They loved this house," said Don Rothwel of his in-laws.

The tour continued to the attic, decorated as a child's play area with Laurie's collectibles and childhood items.

Originally used as a storage room, Hall said the Rothwell's hope to turn it into an entertainment room.

At one point the home was a boarding house for transients from the rail depot.

The annual tour guide opens homes of historic significance to the public.

"It's important to preserve the history of Victoria and to show what life was like before," said Debbie Stange, vice president of Victoria Preservation and co-chair of the home tour.

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