Work Samples

Elgin house tour returns to the city’s first historic district

Margaret Boghossian said she rarely gets a chance to see the older homes of Elgin’s historic district. So, with an opportunity to tour six of them, she couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday.

“We love looking at the older homes,” the Elgin resident said. “We think Elgin has a ton of beautiful homes.”

Boghossian was one of many people in attendance for the Historic Elgin House Tour on Saturday.

Tours of the Gifford Park Association neighborhood, held Saturday and Sunday, feature 6 historic homes, all within a 10-block radius. In the past 35 years, 90 different sites have been showcased.

Pat Miller, chairman for the Historic Elgin House Tour, said it brings great meaning holding the event in the city’s first historic district.

“We wanted to be back in the historic district for the 35th, and we kind of planned that two or three years ago,” she said.

New to this year’s event is a commemorative insert in the historic tour’s brochure that details the neighborhood’s history.

“It’s like a souvenir,” Miller said. “It’s something you would keep and look at. It tells the story of the Gifford Park Association project and the things we tried to do to get all this moving and getting people involved. It’s a story of neighborhood revitalization. How do you do that? What are the things you can do to revitalize neighborhoods?”

Miller said 1,200-1,500 people are expected to take the tour. It’s a celebration of the historic homes and the work that people have put into them to restore and maintain them, she said.

Boghossian said what excites her most is seeing the architecture of the homes.

“It’s the way things were built back then,” she said. “It’s just beautiful. It’s handmade. It’s built to last.”

Margaret’s husband, John Boghossian, said one feature of the homes stood out.

“It’s different than the cookie-cutter houses we get now—and the character of it,” he said. “My favorite was right inside their with the corner units (in the dining room). The corner units were just gorgeous.”

Miller said drawing visitors to Elgin is the magic of the event.

“It is a public relations and it’s certainly a tourism advantage for the city,” she said. “It’s an image builder... So many, many things are accomplished by doing this.”

The Historic Elgin House Tour continues Sunday from 12:30-4:30 p.m., with registration beginning at Old Main, 360 Park Street.

Docents will be available to guide walking tours through the interiors of the featured homes.