Wax nostalgic as you walk the Midwest’s longest-running home tour Saturday, Sept. 10 (9 am-5 pm) and Sunday, Sept. 11 (10 am-5 pm). The 53rd annual Marshall Historic Home Tour will offer more than 20 sites, including six private residences. In addition to showing various architectural styles, the tour homes present antique and modern furnishings and a variety of decorative items and interesting personal collections. All six homes are within easy walking distance of the Honolulu House Museum, 107 N. Kalamazoo Ave., the focal point for home tour activities.
The tour homes include an extensively renovated 1838 Greek Revival structure, an 1853 Gothic Revival home listed on the Historic American Buildings Survey (along with its carriage house), a rare 1856 Octagon house (on tour for the second year as under renovation), an 1850s home updated to Queen Anne-style in 1891, an 1899 modified Queen Anne with a distinctive sloped flowered lawn, and a dual apartment suite above a downtown business.
Also featured is the city’s two-building, historic power plant that has been producing electricity since the 1890s. The Marshall Power House was constructed at a cost of $14,000 in 1893 on South Marshall Avenue and originally contained two waterwheel generators and two streetlight arc machines. The city also built a new dam on the Kalamazoo River that year. The city says Marshall has the third-oldest municipal hydroelectric system operating under its original ownership in the country.
Bonus offerings include access to the three museums operated by the Marshall Historical Society — the Honolulu House, the Marshall Historical Museum at the GAR Hall, and the Capitol Hill School. Other museums open to tour visitors will be the American Museum of Magic and its separate Research Center, the Governor’s Mansion, Marshall’s U.S. Postal Service Museum and the Walter’s Gasoline Museum. Franke Center for the Arts, Trinity Episcopal Church, East End Studio & Gallery with its upper floors under renovation, and five historic buildings at the Calhoun County Fairgrounds round out the tour.
Save $3 and get your advance tickets for $17 through Sept. 5 here or by calling 269.781.8544. (Tickets will be $20 after Sept. 5.) Tickets are good for both days. Parking is free downtown and at the Calhoun County Fairgrounds. Free shuttle buses will run to the tour sites.
There are also a variety of related activities sure to appeal to home tour visitors. Art at the Museum is a juried fine arts and crafts fair held on the Honolulu House lawn. The 15th annual Marshall Civil War Ball is Saturday evening in front of the Honolulu House. Local churches are expected to offer lunches on Saturday and Sunday.
On display this year at the Honolulu House Museum is the full set of china presented to Marshall resident Charles Gorham by the Dutch government when he ended his service there as U.S. ambassador in the 1870s. There are more than 200 pieces in the set.
The tour is a community-wide event involving hundreds of volunteers as well as churches, civic organizations, and downtown stores and restaurants.
This year Marshall is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its National Historic Landmark District that includes 850 structures.
The Marshall Historic Home Tour began in 1964 as a kitchen tour and has grown into the longest-running home tour in the Midwest. The Marshall Historical Society uses the home tour proceeds to maintain and enhance its three museums and to support community efforts to preserve, protect and promote Marshall’s historic heritage.