Holiday Housewalk returns: Mount Prospect Historical Society highlights St. Raymond's neighborhood
After a one-year COVID-19-imposed hiatus, the Mount Prospect Historical Society will hold its annual Holiday Housewalk on Friday, Dec. 3, in the neighborhood immediately north and slightly northwest of St. Raymond Catholic Church -- originally known as Colonial Manor.
Tickets are now on sale for the society's 33rd annual housewalk that will begin in the St. Raymond Parish Ministry Center on the northwest corner of its block (at the corner of I-Oka and Milburn avenues) and will run from 3:30 to 9 p.m.
"This neighborhood immediately south of the railroad tracks was subdivided by H. Roy Berry, beginning in the 1920s, and up until the 1950s it was bordered to the west by farmland owned by the Meier family," said J.P. Karlov, housewalk co-chairman. "It has many lovely homes which we are pleased to showcase."
The interiors of five private homes, built between 1929 and 2019, will be featured on the tour this year. Two additional homes, built in 1929 and 1946, respectively, will be featured from the outside.
The homes that will have their interiors featured this year are: 218 S. I-Oka Ave., owned by Rob and Stephanie Berman; 204 S. I-Oka Ave., owned by Jamie and Debbie McGough; 16 S. I-Oka Ave., owned by Ray and Jill Doerner; 122 S. Elmhurst Ave., owned by Chris and Amanda Manna; and 112 S. Wa-Pella Ave., owned by Shawn and Nicole Stoltz.
In addition, the exteriors of 101 S. Wa-Pella Ave., owned by John and Julie Johnson, and 216 S. Hi-Lusi Ave., owned by Tyra and Tim Jambois, will also be featured.
All of the homes will be exciting to tour in their own ways, whether because of the historic flavor, new construction, lovely decorating or the renovation work that has been done, Karlov said. It should also be noted that COVID restrictions will be in place. Tour-goers will be expected to wear masks inside homes and the Walk's headquarters -- and volunteers will do the same.
H. Roy Berry, this area's developer, purchased a 74-acre farm from Walter Burke and then subdivided it and improved the lots. He left the building to others who were hired by the lots' purchasers.
The earliest-built homes on the Walk were constructed in 1929. The interior of the Charles and Beatta Edwards English Manor at 218 S. I-Oka Ave. will be open for tours. It is a stately home that after housing three different families became the convent and later the priests' rectory for nearby St. Raymond Catholic Church. In the 1960s it reverted to a private family home and is now owned by Rob and Stephanie Berman.
The other 1929-built home on the Walk is the Ira T. Hachmeister Dutch Colonial Cottage at 216 S. Hi-Lusi Ave., now owned by Tyra and Tim Jambois. It may only be viewed from outside but is quite interesting because it was a "Dover" model Sears home. Its story will be told on a lit podium in the front yard.
Chronologically, the 1931 Charles Schmidt Cape Cod home at 112 S. Wa-Pella Ave. (now owned by Shawn and Nicole Stoltz) comes next. It was, at one time, owned by Stephen and Hester Kline. Hester was one of the first female reporters for Paddock Publications. She covered Mount Prospect Village Board meetings, school board meetings and other news stories.
The current owners, the Stoltzes, are both local teachers who grew up in the area and wanted to remain here. They immediately fell in love with the house when they saw it, even though they recognized that it needed a good amount of refreshing.
Shawn has spent much of his time over the past seven years installing crown molding and wainscoting, refinishing floors, updating the electrical system, painting, adding plantation shutters and most recently, finishing the basement.
"Tour-goers will thoroughly enjoy walking through this home and seeing how the Stoltzes creatively flip-flopped the living room and dining room so that they could accommodate a huge dining room table they loved and wanted to buy so they could entertain their large family," Karlov said.
The two post-World War II homes that come next in terms of age are both brick Georgians. The Arthur Blomberg home at 122 S. Elmhurst Ave. will be open for tours. It is a pleasure to behold with its window seats and arched bedroom ceilings. The home was built in 1946 and the current owners are Chris and Amanda Manna.
The other home that undoubtedly appealed to returning GIs was the Herbert and Helen Hackschild Georgian at 101 S. Wa-Pella Avenue. It features distinctive stonework around the front door and was built by R.J. Bluett, one of Mount Prospect's most prolific postwar builders. Its owners today are John and Julie Johnson. This home may only be viewed from outdoors but will be annotated with a lit, laminated description on a podium.
The final featured homes, both of which are open for indoor tours, have been built in this millennium. The lovely Arts and Crafts home of James and Debbie McGough is located at 204 S. I-Oka Ave. and is a modern palace, built by the McGoughs from the "bones" of an earlier Cape Cod in 2001, as is the Contemporary French Provincial home at 16 S. I-Oka, built by Zbigniew Zvolenik in 2007 when he tore down an earlier ranch home. It is now owned by Ray and Jill Doerner. Both homes will undoubtedly entrance tour-goers.
Over the years since it was begun in 1988, the Mount Prospect Holiday Housewalk has opened approximately 165 different Mount Prospect homes to the public for interior tours, headquartering the walk in various churches, the local historic train station, the Mount Prospect Golf Course, a bank and heated tents when no public structure was close by. The Holiday Housewalk has also evolved from a Sunday afternoon driving tour highlighting homes all over the village, to a Friday night neighborhood-specific walking tour.
The annual event has raised more than $275,000 for the historical society's operating fund over its venerable history.
As usual, this year's walking tour will be accented by beautifully-lit luminaria. Parking will be available along neighborhood streets.
Commentary in the homes will be provided by volunteers from local organizations, businesses, schools and the community. Local florists and homeowners will provide the decorations. This year's featured florists are Busse Flowers and Gifts of Rolling Meadows, The Purple Rose of Mount Prospect, Pesche's Flowers and 7 Red Roses Floral Design Studio of Des Plaines and The Flower Studio of Rolling Meadows. Lurvey's of Des Plaines will provide fresh outdoor décor for one home.
Nonrefundable tickets are being sold for $28 each through Dec. 2 at Busey Bank, 299 W. Central Road.; River Trails' Weiss Center, 1500 E. Euclid Ave.; RecPlex, 420 Dempster St.; the Central Community Center, 1000 W. Central Road; Millie's Hallmark, 1024 S. Elmhurst Road; LePeep, 10 E. Northwest Hwy.; and the Dietrich Friedrichs House museum, 101 S. Maple St.
Tickets are also available through PayPal at www.mtphist.org. Tickets purchased online can be picked up at a "will call" desk located at the Walk's headquarters at St. Raymond Church during the walk.
Last-minute decision-makers may also purchase tickets on the day of the Walk, beginning at 3 p.m. at the St. Raymond's headquarters, but the cost will be $30 per person at that time.
"The Housewalk is the Society's largest fundraiser of the year," Karlov explained. "Its proceeds support the many educational endeavors of the society and help to pay for upkeep on our museum. We urge the public to support our effort to preserve local history through enjoying the housewalk and our other activities throughout the year."
Call the Society at (847) 392-9006 for more information or log onto www.mtphist.org.