2016 Edgewater Home Tour Preview

Have you ever said to yourself, “Gee, I wish I could get a guided tour through some of the antique homes in Edgewater”?

The Edgewater Historical Society has been offering at least one Home Tour every year since 1989. On Sunday, September 18, 2016 (rain or shine), we will be featuring the Lakewood Balmoral neighborhood and, for $25 per person, you will receive a guided tour through several of its historic homes. You will also receive a souvenir Tour Booklet containing a map of the neighborhood and descriptions of each home on the Tour.

At each home, a volunteer docent will greet you and tell you something about the exterior of the house. You will then be escorted with others in a group to tour the inside of the house, where another volunteer docent will highlight some of the features of the interior.

Reservations are not required. Register at Unity Lutheran Church (star on the Lakewood Balmoral map below) between Noon and 4:00 p.m. and receive your Tour Booklet and map. The address of the church is 1212 West Balmoral Ave. The homes are on Magnolia, Lakewood, Berywn and Wayne, and will be open from Noon until 5:00 p.m.

To visit all featured homes involves walking approximately one mile (starting at the church), using the map in the Tour Guide as reference.

To whet your appetite, here are small photos of some of the homes expected to be on the tour (the list is subject to change without notice).

To see an online version of the Tour Booklets for prior years, select the desired tour in the menu at the top of the left sidebar.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to register in advance? No. You can just come on the day of the event. It’s always a Sunday, beginning at 12 noon.

What do I get when I register and pay $25. Each registrant receives a souvenir booklet developed specifically for that year’s tour – the booklet is your “ticket” to the tour. It includes:

  • A short history of the development of the Edgewater neighborhood featured on the tour;
  • A map of the area showing the houses open on the tour;
  • A photo or sketch and a brief write-up of each home, describing its key architectural features and other interesting aspects, such as furnishings and changes made over the years, as well as when it was built and the name of the architect who designed it, if known;
  • A check list of the homes on the tour; and
  • Ads from our sponsors (please patronize).

Do I have to furnish any information to go on the tour? No, but we strongly urge you to complete the sign-in form. Doing so will enable us to provide you with information about next year’s tour and other EHS events. Also, telling us how you learned of the tour will help us in our marketing efforts for the following year. All participants completing the form will be entered into a drawing for a $25.00 cash prize. It’s a great chance to get back your entrance fee. While the prize is smaller, the odds are far better than the state lottery!

How do I get from home to home on the tour? The tour is designed to be a walking tour and homes are selected in each Edgewater neighborhood to facilitate a person being able to walk easily between the homes. On some home tours, there may be a home or two located a few blocks from the majority of homes. In such case, a person may want to save them for the end and drive there; however, most people do walk.

How do I identity the homes on the tour? You will, of course, have the map in the booklet which shows the addresses of the homes and their location in relation to each other. In addition, there will be a blue lawn sign in front of each home on the tour. And, unless late in the day, there will be people standing in front of the home.

What happens when I get to a home on the tour? At each home there is one docent stationed outside the home and at least one inside the home. The “outside” docent will ask for your booklet and check off the home you are visiting. He or she will in effect be “stamping your ticket.” The outside docent will describe the key architectural features of the exterior of the home. Before starting his or her talk, the docent may wait until there is a group of people present. The outside docent’s other job is serve as a “gate keeper,” allowing groups of no more than 10 people to enter the house at one time. The “inside” docent will signal when the next group may enter. Sometimes the group exits the back door of the home; sometimes the front door. The other role of the inside docent is to guide the group from room to room and point out the interesting features in each room. Visitors are asked to follow the lead of the docent and not wander from room to room on their own but to go with the group and, of course, not touch anything.

For houses, are all floors open to tour registrants? That depends. In some cases the owner may allow access to only the first floor. In most cases the upstairs is open; however a room or two may be excluded.

How long does it take to tour all the homes? It depends on a number of factors: how many homes there are on the tour (on previous tours, the number has ranged from five to nine); how close together the homes are located; the number of people on the tour; the time of day one begins the tour; and how fast one walks. That’s the long answer. The short answer is: between two and three hours.

What is the best time to begin the tour? There are two options for avoiding the crowds:

  • Arrive at noon, which is when we start registration, and then proceed in reverse order to visit the homes, i.e., start at the home furthest from the place where one registers and work backwards.
  • Arrive at the place of registration between 1:30 and 2 p.m. and then proceed in order of the home closest to the place of registration.

Are only single family houses featured on the tour? The majority of homes featured are usually houses but, in some cases, we also feature apartments. This is especially the case when the tour is in an Edgewater neighborhood that is predominantly apartment buildings and has few single family houses, such as East Andersonville. We may also feature a church or school when that is the place of registration.

I noticed lawn signs advertising the home tour. Does a sign in front of the building mean that the building will be on the tour? No. We have placed over 100 lawn signs throughout Edgewater. It’s a way of advertising the event. Owners have graciously allowed us to place the sign on their front lawn to help us in our advertising event. Please don’t assume their home is on the tour.

Is it possible to learn in advance which homes will be on the tour? No. Other than the photos posted on our website we do not identify the homes in advance.

What about parking? Parking is usually readily available on the street within walking distance of the place of registration. Obviously, the parking situation is better in some neighborhoods than in others, but we have not heard from tour goers that parking has been a problem, and we have a significant number of people who go on our tours year after year.

How can I learn about next year’s tour? Our tours are nearly always held on the third Sunday in September, and always in an Edgewater neighborhood different from where the previous tour was held. You can do two things: You can mark your calendar in advance and then check our website about two weeks in advance for the neighborhood and place of registration. And/or you can send us your name and email address and we will email you in advance next year. Furnishing your email will also allow us to email you about programs the Society hosts throughout the year.

If, after I go on the tour, I have comments about how it could be improved, to whom should I address them? We always welcome constructive comments. The easiest way is to use the “Contact Us” button at the top of the page.