Arizona home tours blend the best of our architectural past with who we are today - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Arizona home tours blend the best of our architectural past with who we are today

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Posted: Saturday, November 27, 2004 7:13 am | Updated: 6:20 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

November 27, 2004

The urge to peek inside other people’s houses makes the home tour a popular pastime in the East Valley. Residents living in similar modern tract homes are always on the lookout for something different and inspiring.

"We get a lot of requests for advance tickets from the Valley," says Bobbe Hossman, coordinator of this weekend’s Historic Home Tour in Bisbee. "They’re dying to see what the houses look like inside."

Home tours in general satiate two symbiotic tendencies in human behavior — the curiosity to see what’s behind a locked door and the desire to show off what you’re got. But people who take historic home tours in places like Bisbee, Florence, Snowflake and Globe are looking for something beyond the visual aesthetic.

"Invariably it’s a yearning to reconnect with their own ancestral past whether they’re from the Midwest or New England," says Amber Faith, coordinator of the Snowflake Pioneer Home Tour. "They’re reconnecting with a simpler, quieter life, but also a life predicated on character and industry. All of our families have stories."


Most visitors to Bisbee ultimately return for the home tour, which this year features 10 homes ranging in architectural style from two-bedroom cabins to majestic bungalows, Hossman says.

"The town sort of looks like pictures you see of Austria," says Hossman, whose historic home is on the tour. "People do get ideas from the tour if they are in the process of renovating a home."

Docents dressed in period costume will lead visitors through homes built in the 1880s by affluent merchants and city officials. The newest home on the tour was built in 1918. The 1905 twostory home designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright features a sunroom with diamond shade windows.

A home donated by the Boys and Girls Club of Bisbee is the grand prize in this year’s raffle. All proceeds from the tour benefit nonprofit organizations in Bisbee.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. The tour begins at the Bisbee Visitors Center, No. 2 Copper Queen Plaza. $10 adults, $5 children. (866) 224-7233 or


Snowflake’s Pioneer Home Tour is open year-round, but Thursday’s event will blend living history with Christmas decor.

The six homes on the tour, which are part of a collection of 45 properties on the Arizona Historic Registry, will be decked out in period Christmas decor from the Victorian and Pioneer periods, Faith says.

Docents dressed in period costume will lead the tour using old kerosene lamps. Guests will be served home-baked cookies, hot chocolate and cider.

"Everyone will feel like they’ve got a hometown to come to," Faith says.

The furnishings in these homes, which are owned by the town, are authentic to the homes’ historical periods and reminiscent of the hand-fired brick and wood stoves of "Little House on the Prairie."

"We are the product of the toughness of our predecessor" Faith says, adding that visitors are advised to dress accordingly.

"It’s really an old-fashioned evening," Faith says. "Just be prepared for a flurry of snowflakes."

6 to 10 p.m. Thursday. The tour begins at the Stinson Pioneer Museum, 102 N. First East. Free, but a $1 donation is suggested. (928) 536-4331.


Located a mile north of downtown Phoenix, the F.Q. Story Historic District is an oasis surrounded by urban sprawl. The neighborhood is one of the oldest in Phoenix and boasts a variety of architectural styles including Tudor, Spanish Colonial, Pueblo and Bungalow. Ten of these homes will be decorated for the holidays and featured on the F.Q. Story Historic District’s 20th annual Home Tour 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Luminarias will line the streets Saturday evening and carollers will perform during the self-guided tour.

Tickets are available the day of the event at Ninth Avenue and Lynwood Street. $10, but a $1 discount is available with a donation of canned or nonperishable food. (602) 258-9282.


Christmas decor in the White Mountains is the theme of the Pinetop-Show Low Cup of Cheer Tour.

"We don’t have a building code, so most of the homes are custom built," says tour spokeswoman Linda Ward. "They’re not subdivisions like in the Valley."

The tour, which is hosted by the White Mountains Women’s Club, will feature eight homes ranging in size from 2,000 to 8,000 square feet. Seven will have Christmas decor inside and out. The eighth will have a Hanukkah theme.

The $10 entrance fee includes a visit to the hostess house where guests can warm up with hot tea or cider and snack on cookies.

Tickets and maps of the selfguided tour, which will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 11, are available at the Pinetop-Lakeside Chamber of Commerce, 102-C White Mountain Blvd., Lakeside. (928) 367-4290.


Mesa is not known for its historic homes, but the organizers of the annual home tour are working to change that.

"Mesa does have a history, even though there are very few homes left that predate 1900," says organizer Jared Smith.

Homes built in the late 1920s and early 1930s in the Temple Historic District are on this year’s tour. "The district really grew up around the temple, and there’s definitely interconnections with it," Smith says. "A lot of the people who lived in the homes worked at the temple."

The self-guided tour includes the Sirrine House, Antique Wedding House and a light lunch at Mesa Historical Society Museum.

The tour is 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 15. Tickets are available at the Mesa Historical Society Museum, 2345 N. Horne. (480) 835-7358.


Florence has more homes on the National Historic Register than any other city in Arizona.

"We’re very proud of our heritage here," says Jennifer Evans, organizer of the Florence Historical Home Tour. "We have a very strong preservation ethic in this town. We started preserving our buildings before it was en vogue."

Now in its 20th year, the selfguided tour features homes built in a wide variety of architectural styles including Sonoran, Victorian and Bungalow.

The tour is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 12. Advance tickets are $8 adults and $3 children or $10 adults and $5 children the day of the tour. Tickets will be available at the Florence Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center, 291 N. Bailey St. (520) 868-4496 or (800) 437-9433.


This historic copper mining community’s tour features homes built in the Craftsman, Mission Revival and Victorian styles.

The tour is tentatively scheduled for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 19-20. Check the Globe-Miami Chamber of Commerce’s Web site,, for updates or call (928) 425-4495.

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