If you've walked or driven past homes in the McKinley Residential Historic District and always wondered if the inside was as beautiful as the outside, you will get a chance to see for yourself during a home tour.
The McKinley District Home Tour, held from 2 to 5 p.m. April 22, will feature the Warkentin House Museum and the first floor of five private homes inside the district opened for viewing. Tickets for the tour are $15 and proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Warkentin House Museum. Tickets must be purchased at the Warkentin House Museum on the day of the event.
Participants will be given a map to the historic homes and can look through each of them on a self-guided tour.
Newton Convention & Visitors Bureau Coordinator Melody Spurney said she regularly receives inquires about the homes in the district and hopes the tour will appeal to both Newton residents and out-of-town visitors.
"It's a pretty rare opportunity to see inside of these homes," Spurney said.
The first stop on the tour, the Warkentin House at 211 E. First St. was built in 1887 by Bernhard and Wilhelmina Warkentin. It is a Queen Anne-style home that has seen very little change since the family lived here. Today, the home is a museum with approximately 70 percent of its contents originally belonging to the family.
One of the stops on the tour, 309 E. Fourth St., is the house that Barth and Betty Hague moved into 12 years ago.
"We just wanted something a little more unique and we liked the idea of being closer to downtown," Betty Hague said.
Built around 1890, the house is referred to as the Shepherd/Langan House. Jacob A. Shepherd, who lived next door, built the house for his daughter, Emma, and son-in-law William E. Langan.
"W. E. Langan was one of the first photographers in Newton," Barth Hague said.
It was constructed in the Queen Anne/Stick architectural style with a wrap-around porch supported by turned wood columns and decorative braces.
Inside, a traditional parlor, sitting room and dining room are decorated with wallpaper — on the wall and the ceilings. More than a dozen patterns were used on the intricately pieced parlor ceiling.
"It is very period and Victorian," Betty Hague said.
The house features both a front staircase and smaller back staircase going up from the kitchen.
While the kitchen has been remodeled and expanded to enclose the sleeping porch, it still retains much of its original character.
"It's been done in such a way that there's a period nature to it," Barth Hague said. "...There's been cosmetic change, but there hasn't been a lot of structural change, so it has pretty much the same layout of the original home."
Nate Dick and Peggy Souder's home at 317 E. Third St. will also be open for the tour.
"He likes old stuff and so do I," Souder said.
Known as the Lander House, the Victorian home was built by Philip Lander and his wife, Laura Jack, in 1910.
Many of the home's interior walls still retain the original lincrusta, an embossed wall covering that adds a touch of texture to the space.
Dick and Souder have furnished their home with heirloom and antique items, including furniture and
collections of oil lamps and pottery.
"I grew up in an 1800s farmhouse," Souder said. "...so I'm used to old stuff."
A back room was added on to the house, giving the couple a large seating area and wood-framed windows matching the style of the original construction.
The windows allow them to look out on their backyard, landscaped with rocks, plants and a Conrad Snider ceramic piece.
"(Dick) grew up in Canada, but also did a lot of camping," Souder said. "He likes the outdoors and he kind of wanted to recreate that back here."
A garage originally built next to the home in the 1950s was moved into the backyard and redone with old barn boards.
Souder said she may give those on the tour a peek at the second floor of the home.
"Our upstairs is every bit as interesting as the downstairs," Souder said.
Quilts pieced by her mother adorn the antique beds and stair railing. Two special quilts include one made out of pieces of Souder's grandmother's dresses and a "postage stamp" quilt, made with 5,000 one-inch squares.
Known as the J.C. Reese House, the home at 305 E. First St. was commissioned in 1879 by John Clark and Nellie Reese. Built by Benjamin Hatfield in the Italianate style, it has seen little change over the years except for the removal of a cupola from the roof.
The home at 309 E. Third St. is known as the C.F. Claassen House, built for Cornelius F. Claassen and his wife, Mary, in about 1885. The Queen Anne-style home features a turreted porch added sometime between 1905 and 1915.
Last, but not least, will be the home at 317 E. Fourth St., which was built in 1900.
Many homes in the McKinley Historic Residential District have ties to early Newton entrepreneurs and railroad employees.
"At a certain point, there were a lot of Santa Fe executives and VIPs who lived here and they built a lot of the older, bigger homes in this neighborhood," Barth Hague noted. "There's been a lot of infill, now, in the McKinley District, so you find these little bungalows mixed in, but the bigger, older houses, a lot of them have Santa Fe heritage to them."
For more information about the homes included on the McKinley District Home Tour, visit http://tonewton.com/mckinley-home-tour.html or call 316-284-3642.