V27-3 Home Tour 2016

Vol. XXVII No. 3 - Fall 2016

By Kathy Gemperle

This years tour featured the Lakewood Balmoral Historic District, with stops at nine homes. On Sunday, September 18, the check-in place was set up at Unity Lutheran church and ready to go before 12 noon. Tour goers were directed to two different paths to go on the tour, one to the north up Magnolia and the other to the south on Lakewood. Much to our surprise, over 400 people registered to go on the tour.

A few of the homes had been on previous tours, the Lynches built in 1906, the Gemperle’s built in 1898 and the Greene-Kieren’s built in 1910. One home, the Kontalonis’, was the second home of Julius Huber, Edgewater architect, built in 1904. The styles featured in this tour ranged from Shingle style to Arts and Crafts to Prairie and American Foursquare. All exhibit some of the original craftsmanship of the era of significance for the Lakewood Balmoral Historic District 1890-1930.

Some of the homes had additions on the back that expanded the kitchens, and created additional bedrooms upstairs. The Gemperle home addition was built in 1901, the others are more recent. The kitchens were mostly updated as these early homes did not usually have any built-in cabinets. With the back additions come additional outdoor living space and tour goers were invited to stop and enjoy the deck at the Gemperle’s with refreshments. Other additions included the one at the George’s, the one at the Steans Cook’s.

A tour like this does not happen without a lot of help. First there is finding homeowners, LeRoy Blommaert, James Robinson and Thom Greene and Maureen Murnane took up the challenge in August which is a late start. LeRoy found the start place and the place for the pretour dinner at St Ita’s Church Jubilee Hall. But then he fell, injured his hip and is in recovery and did not make the tour.

After it was all finished, some of the workers gathered for a debriefing and refreshments at Burke’s on Broadway. It is clear we could use more docents as the groups was exhausted from five hours of talking non-stop. Let us know if you are willing to be a docent for a three hour shift, so we can shorten the hours of work. It such an enjoyable event that sometimes homeowners from previous years sign up to be docents. Let us know.