A grand tour of the neighborhood is on tap with the South End Historical Society’s 50th annual House Tour on Oct. 20 – which will include six homes, two of them former churches, and one major surprise at the end (weather permitting).
The South End Historical Society (SEHS) will hold its annual South End House Tour on Saturday, Oct. 20, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This year is special as it is the Society’s 50th annual House Tour. Starting in the 1960s, founding member Doe Sprogis organized the South End Historical Society’s first four house tours, and she continued to be a driving force behind every one of them until 2014, when she and her husband David opened up their own home at 184 W. Brookline St. for what turned out to be her last tour.
Doe passed away in 2015, but the House Tour lives on and continues in her memory.
“This is probably the best tour I’ve pulled off,” said Lauren Prescott, executive director of SEHS. “I’m confident everyone will enjoy it. We don’t have any repeat houses at all. We have single-family homes, multi-family homes with interesting twists and the two former churches, which are very interesting. We also have a lot of roof-decks on the tour this year. If the weather is good, those on the tour will be treated to outstanding views of downtown Boston.”
The South End House Tour features an inside look at restored and renovated townhouses in the largest Victorian row house district in the United States. The House Tour is a perennial favorite of anyone interested in home design, architecture, restoration, history, or preservation. Participants are given a guidebook that includes descriptions of the private homes and a map so that they can design a tour at their own pace.
From thoughtful restoration to innovative floor plans and modern interpretations of classic details, each of the featured homes demonstrates how historic spaces can also be livable homes that are easily adapted to modern needs.
“One of the houses was completely gutted by fire a few years ago,” said Prescott. “Unfortunately, the original character of the interior doesn’t exist because of that, but it’s very modern now and very beautiful. Another home the owners have lived in for 30 years and painstakingly kept the original and traditional elements of the interior with modern furniture and fabulous art work.”
The South End Historical Society was founded in 1966 to preserve the architectural fabric of this unique urban neighborhood. In 1973 their efforts resulted in the South End being placed on the National Register of Historic Places and ultimately its designation as a Boston Landmark District in 1983. Today, the annual House Tour is just one of the ways SEHS raises funds to continue to encourage and compile research, and to advocate for preservation of these historic buildings, monuments, and public spaces.
Tickets for the House Tour are $30 in advance and are available at www.southendhistoricalsociety.org/housetour. Tickets will also be available on the day of the Tour for $35 each at Sprogis & Neale Real Estate, 679 Tremont St. For more information, please contact at [email protected] 617-536-4445.