Public invited to participate in Victorian Christmas Tour of Homes

The Clay County Historical Society is pleased to announce the Victorian Christmas 2009 Tour of Homes, a Sesquicentennial event with six Vermillion homes/church.  Cleo Erickson and Gloria Barnes are co-chairs for this event. 

You may tour homes  Friday night, Dec. 4 from 6 to 9 p.m. or Saturday afternoon from 1 to 4 p.m. Tickets are on sale at Nook n' Cranny, Davis Pharmacy, Vermillion Beauty Shop and the Austin Whittemore house at $12.50 per person. Hosts will check off their home on the ticket as guests enter their homes. This ticket is to also be used for the reception following the tour on either Friday night or Saturday afternoon.

President James and Colette Abbott  will host their home on 415 E. Main Street. This is a Neo Classical and Classical revival style of architecture and combines houses built in two locations. The original location was on the bluff south of the Christol home on Forest Avenue and was built in 1873. This historical home is often referred to as the Inman house. This home has served as the residence of university presidents and at one time as the University of South Dakota Alumni House.

Jim and Michelle Laughlin will host their Queen Anne Victorian home built in 1914 on 122 N. Yale Street. Romantic eclecticism is the keynote of this lovely restrained Queen Anne home painted pink and finished with red oak. The Laughlins have restored this historical home that was made up of seven rental units for many years. This home was at one time the KAO fraternity. They have done such projects as refinish the woodwork, the floors, and finished the basement which has a tin ceiling. There is a fireplace, three sets of pockets doors and beautiful oak stair case.

Mary Derby will host her Victorian home at 109 Austin Street. This is a large red  historical home  built in 1884 on the old bluff and known as the Morgan house. This home was owned by the Morgan family from 1896-1951. One of the many features in this home is the Shakespeare window and fireplace surround with decorative art tile and the hitching post in the back yard. This home was a convent from 1954-1968 . Richard Bowen, who later became president of the University of South Dakota, bought the house from St. Agnes Church in 1968.

Kim Allison will host her 1873 home at 408 W. Main Street. This historical home located on the old bluff  was the first house built in upper Vermillion and is known to be the oldest house in Vermillion still in its original location. This is known as the Dillon House in the Schell books. The SD State Historical Society describes this as a "T" shaped house with Victorian and Gothic elements.

The Rev. Sandy Aakre, along with other parishioners, will  host the historical First Baptist Church at 101 E. Main Street. Part of the church was originally located below the bluff before the great flood. It is the most prominent Richardsonian Romanesque building in Vermillion.

Dr.  Al and Pat Pravecek will host their beautiful traditional with French country decor home at 2804 Archer Court-Rolling Hills Estate. This three-level home with a swimming pool was the fifth one built in this development by Annar Pettersen in 1999. They have since done many high-end upgrades in this lovely home.

The Clay County Historical Society Board of directors will host this event and cordially invite everyone to enjoy the tour and reception.

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