BOURBON — Five of Bourbon’s majestic brick homes are open to the public for a Home Tour from 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11.
The greater Bourbon area has more than a dozen brick homes built between 1875 and 1885 that are still standing. Another dozen were lost to fire and neglect over the years. The owners of five of the survivors are sharing their homes with the public.
All the homes are conveniently located on SR 331 and Main Street in Bourbon. All the homes are two-story reminders of Bourbon’s brick industry. The houses were built in a burgeoning era of prosperity and growth fueled by the improving railroad line and the timber industry. Some may even credit the 1871 Great Chicago Fire with spurring the need for timber to rebuild that city.
In addition to the brick homes, the 1928 Bourbon Community gymnasium will be open to the public.
Tickets are sold at each house. Parking for the 1003 North Main St. address is two blocks east at the Old Gym on Shaffer Road. Each house on the tour is marked with a Home Tour sign.
The Shakes-Marshall house at 13020 SR 331 is now Bittersweet Haven, an event venue operated by Lou Doll and Lacey Doll. This is the first time the house has been featured on a Home Tour. Built in 1882 for the Matthew Erwin family, the house was in the Shakes-Marshall family for over 100 years. Very little structural change has been made to the home.
The Mendenhall-Anders house at 523 South Main St. has had some noticeable exterior preservation recently. Built for the Edwin Mendenhall family in 1882, Richard and Jerilyn Anders bought the house in 1971. The improvements and renovations made by Anders have kept to the architectural era of the home.
The Arnold house at 1003 North Main St. is a returning part of the Bourbon home tours. Visitors will be treated to the preservation minded improvements made by Anna Gilsinger who rescued the house and is restoring it to its 1881 period.
The Weaver-Fetters house at 11495 SR 331, built in 1882 for Henry and Jennie Weaver features the most lavish use of natural woodwork of all the homes on the tour. Owner Carolyn Rahe is the first to share the beauty of this house on a home tour.
The Neidig-Wampler house at 10143 SR 331, built in 1875 for Joseph and Elizabeth Neidig reflects the earlier age of a practical farm house. The interior walls are made of brick. The wood work is simple and functional. Barry and Portia Wampler bought the house in 1978. Renovations have been made with historic preservation in mind.
For more information about the tour call Portia Wampler at (574) 342-5722, or email Karin Rettinger at [email protected]. To see photos of the houses, visit Bricks of Bourbon on Facebook.