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2017 Holiday Tour of Homes Recap

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Corn Hill Holiday Tour of Homes
Corn Hill stages two major events every year that welcome visitors into our neighborhood from Rochester and beyond: the Corn Hill Arts Festival and the Holiday Tour of Homes. Each requires months of planning and a team of dedicated residents who volunteer a great deal of their time and effort to guarantee success.

While the Arts Festival is the larger event, the annual Tour of Homes is very much about our heritage. More than fifty years ago, an urban renewal program destroyed a lot of our 19th Century houses, homes to many of Rochester’s pioneer families. In the midst of that wreckage, a Neighbors Association was formed that worked tirelessly with the Landmark Society of Western New York to bring sense and sensibility to the preservation of our community. The result has been a unique blend of old and new homes, which we proudly share during this annual one-day event.

The photos in this collection show only a few of the many workers and visitors who made our December 2, 2017 Tour of Homes a great success.

Co-captains this year were Rob Goodling and Joanie Fraver. Joe Arena trained the Tour Guides who would lead twenty-one groups of 25 visitors each from one house to the next. Six homeowners opened their houses to more than 500 visitors, graciously sharing what they knew about each home’s history or why they chose to decorate their homes the way they did (one owner is a professional decorator). At least one of those homes faced certain destruction in the 1970s until an owner was found willing to take on the cost and labor to restore it. Another house, the Campbell-Whittlesey House, is a historic gem dating back to 1835. One small home with a large carriage house is currently under major repair—a “work in progress.”

Because the behind-the-scene workers cannot go around to the houses on tour day, there is a “night-before” party in which they gather for dinner and then enjoy a pre-tour visit to houses that will be open the next day. Homeowners are given a gift, thanking them for their participation—watercolor portraits of their houses.

On the day of the tour, visitors (some dressed in Santa attire!) arrive at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church where they show their tickets, get a booklet that describes the sites they will visit and receive a pair of blue shoe-covers to protect floors and carpeting at some locations.

As they wait for the tour to begin, the guests enjoy holiday songs performed by a children’s choir. Some read their programs, familiarizing themselves with the homes they will visit. Finally the tour guides lead each group from the church and begin the journey through Corn Hill’s past and present.

The tour includes a stop for refreshments at the Hervey Ely House, another historic house in our neighborhood that, since 1920, has been home to the Irondequoit Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

View the Photo Album

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