Seven notable Aurora homes built between 1871 and 1941 will open their doors to the public from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16, for the Aurora Historical Society's Historic House and Garden Walk.
The homes present a panoply of styles, including Italianate, Georgian Revival, Cape Cod, Craftsman and bungalow. They are located along the West Downer Place corridor, where history and elegance have been close neighbors for more than a century.
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If you goWhat: Aurora Historical Society's Historic House and Garden Walk
When: Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16
Where: Homes are in the West Downer Place corridor. Park at New England Congregational Church, 406 W. Galena Blvd., or Our Savior Lutheran Church, 420 W. Downer Place.
Tickets: $20 for historical society members, $25 for nonmembers
Details: (630) 906-0650 or www.aurorahistory.net
In addition to the houses, the walk includes two churches -- the 1898 Romanesque revival New England Congregational Church and the 1941 neo-gothic revival Our Savior Lutheran Church.
"There has been a dearth of house walks in Aurora in recent years," said event co-chair and Historical Society Vice President Shauna Wiet.
Complimentary refreshments will be served at New England Church. A gift shop will be set up at 165 S. Elmwood, where books, posters and 175th anniversary memorabilia will be available. Members receive a 10 percent discount.
There is free parking at both New England and Our Savior churches, as well as on the streets throughout the neighborhood.
The walk is a fundraiser for the Aurora Historical Society. Tickets are $25 to $20 for Aurora Historical Society members and may be purchased at www.aurorahistory.net or at the David L. Pierce Art & History Center, 20 E. Downer, during normal open hours from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.
There will be will-call pickup beginning at 11:30 a.m. at Our Savior Church and walk-up sales at Our Savior and 165 S. Elmwood. For details, call (630) 906-0650.
513 W. Downer: The oldest house on the tour is at 513 West Downer, built in 1871. It received a 1926 makeover and survived a 1991 fire.
435 W. Downer: A feast of rich oak woodwork, grand fireplaces and elaborate stained and beveled glass, as well as a secret hideaway, is concealed within the conservative-looking 1908 house built by prominent Aurora architect Eugene Malmer.
165 S. Elmwood: The owners must have thought the 1929-era house at 165 S. Elmwood was perfect, because when they put on an addition in 1963 that nearly doubled the size of the original, they designed it to be an exact match. The house is Georgian Revival in style.
1029 W. Downer: For nearly 30 years, the house at 1029 W. Downer was owned by Thomas M. Dunham, founder of the prominent shelving company, Equipto. Present owners Duane and Elaine Ross have resided there for 35 years.
1306 W. Downer: The house at 1306 W. Downer, built in 1928, boasts an impressive swimming pool once used as a photo setting for beauty pageant hopefuls. There is a new outdoor kitchen, complete with overhead heaters that the current owners use year-round for entertaining.
66 S. Russell, 200 Ingleside: Both houses at 66 S. Russell and 200 Ingleside are lessons in how compact spaces can present big impact.
730 W. Downer: Although the house at 730 W. Downer Place will not be open for this walk, participants will visit the elaborately executed garden. Flower arrangements in the houses will be provided, for the most part, by the Tuesday Garden Club of Aurora.
"We have a history of collaboration with the Historical Society that goes back decades," said floral co-chairwoman Rita Hupp. "Mansions or cottages, the homes are always a challenge to our skills and creativity.
"It's just plain fun to scramble around looking for the most harmonious vase and the perfect blooms."