Historic homes to open their doors

Sunday's Sweet Home Walla Walla benefits the Kirkman House Museum.

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WALLA WALLA -- Six historic homes will be open to participants Sunday in the Kirkman House Museum's second Sweet Home Walla Walla Tour.

The tour, sponsored by Tourism Walla Walla, is designed for participants to view the homes at their own pace from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. A map will be provided with a suggested route to ensure adequate spacing of people at each home.

Premiering in 2009, the home tour was designed as a fundraiser for the museum's community programs and renovation projects. The tour helped the museum raise money and provided a taste of history for participants.

Roy and Lianne Schellenberg, participants in last year's tour, enjoyed the history and the people.

"It gives people an opportunity to see inside these houses they have always wanted to see," Lianne Schellenberg said. The couple became acquainted with the assistant director of the Kirkman House Museum, Greer Buchanan, through the tour and now are volunteers in a kitchen renovation project at the museum that was funded by the 2009 tour.

"We're hoping to continue the tradition of success," Buchanan said.

The six homes are privately owned and each has something different to offer. Owners of one home have landscaped the grounds to accurately represent the time period in which the house was built, 1871. Visitors will have a chance to walk the grounds and experience the garden.

Another home's upper floor was converted to apartments to house World War II B-17 pilots. A highlight in this 1918 house is the original dining room chandelier. The chandelier had been taken down and left in the basement. It was found during renovations and reinstalled.

The museum staff is excited about one house that was purposely burnt down due to structural damage and rebuilt in 1937. A Kirkman relative lived there in 1821, and according to Buchanan, the home is a must-see.

Other features of the tour include grand staircases, period hinges and door knobs, domed ceiling breakfast nooks and antique clothing.

"I enjoy learning how people live in their homes, and that's pretty much the focus of the tour," Buchanan said.

Jennifer Jorgenson can be reached at jenniferjorgenson@wwub.com.

Tickets and lunches

The Kirkman House Museum has 500 tickets available for purchase for $20 for Sunday's Sweet Home Walla Walla Tour. Kirkman House Museum members will pay $15. To reserve a ticket, go online to www.kirkmanhousemuseum.org. If there are any remaining tickets, they will be available at the door Sunday for $25.

Luncheon boxes catered by Salumiere Cesario are also available for purchase from the museum's Web site for $10.

The tour begins at the Kirkman House Museum, 214 N. Colville St., which will be open as well. A treat for visitors will be the reopening of the upstairs. The second floor has been closed since January for renovations in Isabella Kirkman's bedroom.

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