Annual Historic Homes Tour set for April 10-11


April 2, 2010 at 5:03 p.m.
Updated April 1, 2010 at 11:02 p.m.

J.D. Mitchell House, 301 S. Bridge St.

J.D. Mitchell House, 301 S. Bridge St.

Heritage tourism is something that the city of Victoria has been slow to embrace, Victoria Preservation Inc's director Gary Dunnam said. The one exception to that rule, however, is the organization's annual Historic Homes Tour.

On Saturday and Sunday, April 10-11, six of Victoria's historic structures will be open for the public to enjoy, from a restored 10,000 square foot Queen Anne-style home to a craftsman-style bungalow.

"I'm keenly aware of the potential of heritage tourism but history is something that Victoria has never capitalized on in a big way," Dunnam said. "But the Historic Homes Tour brings in people from all over the area and they eat in our restaurants and fill up in our gas stations. With the restoration of these buildings, not only do local merchants benefits but it's also good for the economy and good for Victoria."

The six buildings, all located in the downtown area, featured on the tour will be the O'Connor-Proctor building, the John C. Sigmund house, the J.D. Mitchell house, the Robert L. Lawrence house, the Francis E. Huck house and the Dr. George M. Tyng house.

All of them were built between 1895 and 1933 and all have been restored within the last 10 years, Dunnam added.

Although many of Victoria's historical structures have been torn down, many still remain and one of the reasons behind the tour is also to document the city's architectural history. Every year, the history of all six structures on the tour are documented and published in the organization's magazine as well as put into booklets by Dunnam to be used for future research.

The tour also helps generate interest for restoring old houses, Dunnam added.

"So many people on these tours want to live in an old house and when they see how others have managed to restore their houses, they start to think 'I can do this,'" he said. "Going on the tour might give them the courage to finally do it. It's a win-win situation."

In addition to the tour, Victoria Preservation Inc. will also have a Pre-Tour Party on Thursday, which will include a candlelight tour of three of the homes, a cocktail party and dinner and a silent auction.



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