48TH ANNUAL TOUR OF HISTORIC GALENA HOMES DRAWS AND DAZZLES BIG CROWDS
As anyone who has supervised a special event can attest, the event’s success rests on many factors — planning, volunteers, publicity, competition and, especially, weather. In approaching the Galena-JoDaviess County Historical Society’s 48th Annual Tour of Historic Galena Homes, planners were confident (based primarily on past years’ successes), but also crossing their fingers. They needn’t have worried this year as Mother Nature cooperated spectacularly. The crowds came and the owners of five distinctive, historic and impeccably decorated homes warmly shared the buildings’ histories, as well as their motivations for acquiring and decorating them. Nearly 900 visitors passed through the featured homes, one of the best turnouts in recent years.
“The success of the Tour of Homes rests in the unbelievable stock of distinctive houses we have in Galena,” said Nancy Breed, Historical Society executive director. “Every year we can feature different homes that are examples of different architecture styles. This year we had a federal-style home, a commercial building turned residence, an arts-and-crafts-style home, another beautifully decorated in Victorian furnishings, and an old municipal jail building being converted to a luxury bed and breakfast. That’s great variety.”
This year’s featured homes were:
- DeZoya House, 1107 Fourth St., (pictured left) owned by Nancy Hyman
- Fricke House, 119 Bench St., owned by Michael and Rachel Buckman, managed by Jack Kirkby and Bob Palmer
- Bench Street Bungalow, 100 S. Bench St., owned by John and Marilyn Tebrugge
- Owl House, 116 Bench St., owned by Elizabeth Boggess and Richard Hess, managed by Emily Painter
- Jail Hill Inn, 319 Meeker St., owned by Matthew Carroll
The Historical Society thanks these generous homeowners, along with its enthusiastic volunteers, for helping to make the Tour of Homes a success.
Wait a minute… it’s one thing to say your own event was good. The real test comes in the reactions of those who purchased tickets and waited in line to tour the homes. What did they have to say?
Ken and Wendy Ruf, from Cicero, Ill., (pictured above) have attended the Home Tour for the last nine years, each time marveling at the architecture and creativity owners put into decorating their unique homes. “It is amazing what people can do with these interiors,” Wendy said. “We love antiques and they always seem to be a key feature of the decorations. We really liked the Owl House because it was so different. And seeing the jail under construction gives a good sense for what it’s going to be like when it’s finished. We come to Galena this time every year. We’re staying at a great little hotel this time, but we’ve been all over, at many of the hotels and B&Bs around here. Galena is a great place to visit.”
The Tour of Homes and Galena dazzled first-timers, as well. A group of women from Minnesota came down for the first time. It was the twentieth year of their annual girls’ weekend. Karen Kellas, unofficial spokesperson for the group, said they spent their first two days of their long weekend shopping, riding the trolley, taking various tours, and eating at the excellent restaurants in town.
The Tour of Historic Galena Homes was a great success for the Historical Society, and for the greater Galena community, as well. No wonder we’re already looking forward to next year… and you should, too. That’s Sept. 23 and 24, 2016. See you there!