Some of Lawrence's most beautiful and oldest homes are opening their doors next weekend to raise money for historic preservation.
The Old West Lawrence Fall Homes Tour on Saturday and Oct. 7 will show off seven homes and the Ninth Street Baptist Church. Old West Lawrence is the state's first neighborhood to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
"About 1,500 people go on the tour," said Betsi Anderson, one of the 10 or so volunteers who are coordinating the event. "The first tour was in 1988, then 1991, 1995, 1997, 1998 and now 2001."
Adding to the fun this time around is a special historic dinner and tour from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Anderson said.
The dinner will be held outdoors between 701 La., a home built in 1887 that is known as the Innes House, and 713 La., a 1884 structure known as the Henley House. The Innes House is owned by Burdett and Michel Loomis; the Henley House by Bill and Kathy Tuttle.
Participants will tour both houses, receive a ticket for the Old West Lawrence Fall Homes Tour and eat a dinner prepared by Allen Blair, Old West Lawrence Assn. president and executive chef at the Shadow Glen Golf Club. The menu features buffalo and smoked pheasant canapes; roasted chicken gaufrette; goat cheese fritter with tomato jam; romaine lettuce with sun-dried cranberries, candied pecans and cranberry vinaigrette; applewood roasted tenderloin with zinfandel demi glaze; Yukon potatoes with garlic and fresh chives; seasonal late harvest vegetables; and apple walnut torte with whiskey custard sauce. Traditional American wines will be served with the meal.
Seating is limited to eight tables of eight place settings. Musical entertainment and a brief talk on the neighborhood at the turn of the 20th century will be included in the $75 ticket price. Tickets can be ordered by calling Burdett Loomis, 841-1483.
Anderson said the proceeds will go to the Douglas County Historical Assn.
"The money will be used for historic preservation for the Old West Lawrence neighborhood and other projects," she said.
In the past the tours have helped with the Lawrence Visitor Center/Union Pacific Depot, the Murphy-Bromelsick House in Hobbs Park and Watkins Community Museum of History.
Here are brief sketches of the homes featured in the tour:
746 Maine: An Edwardian cottage with round columns and curved porch, classified by the Kansas Historic Resources Inventory as a national gable front, wing and cross gable. The house was built in 1908 by Henry Keiser of Barteldes Seed Co. Owners Mike and Ann Goans have designed and built a new kitchen with a circa 1925 look. New cabinets were reproduced using 1920s photographs.
743 Ill.: A folk national-Victorian house built in 1884 by an unknown builder. The house shows fretwork and dowel ornament to the south gable, shaped rafter tails on the porch, first-floor eaves and well-proportioned turned columns with pierced brackets. The house is owned by Barry and Sue Newton.
643 Ind.: A large Queen Anne gable house with intricate fretwork in the living room, stained glass window in the entry, beveled glass with fleur-de-lis in the front door, rose decorative hardware and sunburst fretwork in the gables. The house was built in 1895 and was first occupied by James Frank Wilder of Wilder Bros. Shirt Factory.
710 Ind.: A grand Prairie-style house with classical details and pyramidal hipped roof owned by Brad and Susan Tate. The house has its original woodwork and limestone pillars. A sun porch was added in the 1920s. The house was the setting of a movie made in the 1960s by Centron Co.
734 Ind.: The transitional Victorian/Edwardian home was built in 1906-1907 and has been remodeled. In the last remodeling, owners Leni and Neil Salkind added granite counter tops and ceramic floors in the kitchen.
615 W. Eighth St.: Official records show the site was first purchased for $50 in 1863 by James H. Lane, but the Prairie-style, T-plan wasn't built until 1907. The house went under several remodelings, including a two-story passive solar back porch area and an attic with a bedroom and bath. Owner is Carol Pilant.
847 Ohio: Ninth Street Baptist Church was built around 1865, but the deed to the land from the New England Immigrant Aid Society was transferred to the Second Missionary Baptist Mission in 1855. The native limestone church was designed and constructed by church members. The church has been home to several notable people, including entertainer George "Nash" Walker and the Rev. Frank Brown, past president of the NAACP. The church will be open for touring from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 7.
810 Ky.: A stone house built in 1876 with two rooms upstairs, two rooms downstairs and a kitchen in the basement. Additions were made on the north and east side, and the stone was stuccoed after 1897. In 1999, owners Don and Sherrill Bushnell began remodeling the house into a Craftsman cottage, with hints of Frank Lloyd Wright. Will Orvedahl and Max Entrikin fashioned some of the new woodwork.