November 25, 1999

Historic Homes On Display For The Holidays

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that many
visitors soon would be there.  The garland is strung, the candles are lit
in anticipation of the oohs and the aahs that will be heard.  Join the
Riley County Preservation Alliance and the Riley County Historical Society
for the third biennial Holiday Homes Tour.  The tour, December 10-11, will
benefit the Union Pacific Railroad Depot and the Wolf House Museum.
This year in addition to several homes, a “bachelor pad”, a church and an
area business will all be featured.  “This will be a very diverse group of
houses showcasing downtown Manhattan,” states Jean Bigbeehill.
The oldest house on the tour is 529 Pierre, it was built in 1871.  Jim
Sherow and Bonnie Lynn-Sherow are renovating the house that had been used
as apartments since the early 1920s.  Guests will have the opportunity to
tour the house now and then again in two years when the renovations are
complete.  “This house is in the works.  It will be great for guests to see
some of the treasures the new owners have discovered during the
renovations,” Bigbeehill comments.
Some of the homes have interesting stories to tell.  The Brown home, at 409
North Seventeenth, was once lived in by Gloria Vanderbilt.  After World War
II when her husband was stationed at Ft. Riley, a representative of Ms.
Vanderbilt contacted the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce to find suitable
housing.  The president of the Chamber, A.F. Peine, decided to lease his
home to Ms. Vanderbilt and her husband.  He and his family moved out of
their home so that Ms. Vanderbilt could move in.  The bell system that was
used to summon the servants is still visible in the house.
405 Bluemont Circle was on the edge of innovation when it was built in
1959.  It retains its 1950s charm today.  David Sachs and Rebecca Stark
enjoy the 50s and have reflected that in their decorating style.  “This
will be a fun house to see, as the teals and pinks are there along with the
sleek style of furniture that was so popular in the 1950s,” describes
The other homes include 1014 Houston and the Wolf House at 630 Fremont.
Steve Balderson’s loft above Geometrics, 405 Poyntz, gives a great example
of a Soho style loft.  The First United Methodist Church’s new addition at
612 Poyntz shows how the old and the new can be successfully combined.
Finally Mid-America Office Supplies at 328 Poyntz will show off their
pressed tin ceiling, stained glass windows and pneumatic tubes.
Tickets for the tour are $15.00 and are available at each tour home or at
Campbell’s Gift Shop, Geometrics, Manhattan Town Center Customer Service,
Ben Franklin, Country Gift Shop and in Clay Center and Junction City.  The
tickets consist of a booklet for each site and a map.  Homes can be visited
in any order during the tour on Friday or Saturday.  For more information,
please contact the Riley County Historical Society at 785-565-6490.  “This
tour is going to be really fun with lots of variety, the styles range from
Victorian to the sleek uncluttered look of the 1950’s,” concludes
Ruth St.Clair Tourism Sales Manager Manhattan Convention and Visitors
Bureau 785-776-8829