Home & Garden

History fills colorful holiday tradition

Take a stroll down memory lane this holiday season during the 2009 Holiday Home Tour of Historic Homes.

The tour features historic homes in Olympia’s South Capitol Neighborhood that were built between the 1600s and the early 1900s. It’s great fun for anyone interested in architecture or local history, said Ryanne Perry, Bigelow House Museum board member and event organizer.

“We get a lot of people who are interested in one or the other or both,” Perry said.

About 60 volunteer docents will be on hand with information about the homes as well as the past owners and their roles in local history. Docents are stationed in various rooms in the tour homes, ready to share on-the-spot details.

For example, one house was built for an influential Olympia City Councilman and later was the childhood home of Gordon Newell, a noted local author and historian.

“That neighborhood is really interesting. It’s right next to the state Capitol,” Perry said, noting it’s always been a community hub.

“We do encourage homeowners to decorate for the holidays,” she said, “and usually people do.”

Perry said this year’s tour is unique because all homes are in the same neighborhood. In years past, people had to drive from home to home.

“I’m excited about that this year,” she said. “It’s interesting to walk around that neighborhood and see the different houses.”

People who choose to promenade along the tour will see four homes.

The Eugley House, 1825 S. Water St., features an eclectic design. The home was built about 1908 by M.C. and Bertha Eugley, who was a local milliner. She set up shop in 1878. The turret is said to be reminiscent of a house built on the Rhine River in Germany.

The Dufault House, 1628 S. Water St., is one of the many well-preserved Foursquare-style houses in the area. Its bell-cast hipped roof and sculptured brackets under the eaves are typical of the style. It was constructed about 1903 by Manda and Charles Dufault, an Olympia businessman and city councilman.

The Janet Moore House, 401 S.W. 17th Ave., features a Craftsman design. It was built in 1911 for Janet Moore, who in 1913 was instrumental in establishing the Olympia Carnegie Library and the State Training School for Girls in Grand Mound. Moore also was a charter member of the Woman’s Club of Olympia at age 17, the first such club in the state. She taught school in Olympia for more than four decades, beginning in the 1880s. She lived in the house with her brothers.

The Baude House, 215 N.W. 19th Ave., is a well-preserved English Tudor Revival style. It has a gable roof, arched entry door and stucco-clad walls. The home was custom built in 1926 for Maximilian Baude, who owned a barbershop in Olympia.

The Lord Mansion, home of the State Capital Museum, 211 W. 21st Ave., and the Bigelow House Museum also will be featured during the event. The Bigelow House is not within walking distance. From noon to 2 p.m., a group of fifth-grade students will serve as docents at the museum.

Following the tour, people can stop in at Chica’s Café in downtown Olympia for dessert, which is complimentary for those who have tickets.

The tour is a fundraiser for the museum.

The entire $15 ticket price goes directly to Bigelow House, thanks to the volunteers who work on the event, Perry said.

There is one exception. The museum is working with an organization called Save Outdoor Schools – Olympia Kids, more commonly known as SOS OlyKids. That organization gains $5 for each ticket it sells. Parents of Olympia School District fifth-graders are aiming to raise $49,000 by Dec. 31 for their kids to attend Cispus Outdoor School.

The outdoor education center specializes in leadership programs.