Historical society will host Candlelight Tour of Homes

Historical society will host Candlelight Tour of Homes There's no place like home. In fact, there's no place like five homes. Five unique homes ranging from the historic to contemporary will be on the Christmas Scandia Candlelight Tour of Homes in Vermillion.

The Clay County Historical Society's annual event runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3. Tour-goers will spend part of their evening at a sixth home � the historic Austin-Whittemore House. This year's reception features a Scandinavian theme with ethnic treats and treasures.

Cost for the event is $15 per person. Tickets are on sale at Ashmore's, Deb's Hallmark, The Nook 'n Cranny and the Vermillion Beauty Shop. Ticket buyers will receive addresses and directions. Once the event begins, they will be able to set out at their own pace and choose the order in which they view the homes.

The Austin-Whittemore House, the home of the Historical Society, was built in 1882. Horace Austin, a Civil War veteran, came to Vermillion after the war as a surveyor and was key to the development of much of the county. After the flood of 1881 swept away much of the early Vermillion, Austin bought land on the bluff, eventually building his elegant home, as well as an ice house and 23 other buildings.

The home eventually passed into the hands of Austin's adopted daughter, Pansy, who married Arthur Whittemore, a coach at The University of South Dakota.

The house, at 15 Austin Street, just south of Main Street, was acquired by the Clay County Historical Society in 1970. It is a work in progress with lovingly restored rooms and furnishings benefitting the late 19th century. Tour-goers will have a chance to explore the home and the many fascinating exhibits that reflect the lives of early South Dakotans.

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