Exploring historic homes


screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-3-54-40-pmBAKER CITY — This year’s annual Historic Homes Tour will again offer a peek into some of the town’s oldest houses, all gussied up for the holiday season.

“We have several new homes on the tour this year,” said Rosemary Abell, secretary/treasurer for Historic Baker City Inc., which sponsors the tour.

The tour is self-guided, and runs from noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 10. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 seniors and students, and $10 each for groups of 10 or more, and are available at Betty’s Books, Bella Main Street Market, the Chamber of Commerce, Crossroads Carnegie Art Center, Historic Baker City office and the Baker Heritage Museum on the day of the tour (the tour starts at the museum).

Stops on the tour will include the Bock House (originally a cigar factory), Palmer House, the Adler House Museum, Wisdom House, Crossroads Carnegie Art Center and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.

“And we’re working on a couple others,” Abell said.

In addition to those featured on the tour, Baker City’s historic district features more than
100 buildings.

On many, plaques provide information about when they were built, who was responsible for the construction and the importance to the area.

Here are some tidbits on the  stops featured in the homes tour:

Palmer House

Earlier this year, Crossroads Carnegie Art Center received a gift in the form of the Palmer House from the late Cristina Simoni.

The house is at 1520 Fourth St. It was built in 1910 by G. Walter Palmer, who had the Palmer Brothers Jewelers business in the Main Street building nowccupied by Kicks Sportswear.

The exterior of the Palmer House is made of tuffstone with black flecks — the same native tuffstone as Crossroads.

Simoni had been in the process of renovating the home, and Crossroads has continued that work. The parlor, foyer and possibly one bedroom will be finished in time for the tour, said Ginger Savage, executive director of Crossroads.

Tours of the house will be offered, and information will be provided on work still needed to restore the historic house.

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church

The scent of fresh gingerbread cake and hot apple cider will welcome visitors to the annual Gingerbread Open House at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. The church is situated at the corner of First and Church streets.

Visitors are encouraged to visit the inside of the historic church, which will be decorated for the holiday season. The gingerbread and warm cider will be served downstairs. For more information, call 541-523-4812. 

Wisdom House

In early 2015, Veronica Johnson of Baker City bought the historic Wisdom House, 2035 Second St., and opened it that June as a vacation rental.

The Wisdom House was built in 1878 by John W. Wisdom, who arrived in Baker Valley in 1862 with the first wagon train. The house’s style is a mixture of Gothic and Italianate, patterned after Wisdom’s grandparents’ home in Kentucky.

Adler House

This completely renovated and restored 1889 Italianate home was the residence of Baker City’s most famous philanthropist, Leo Adler, for 94 years.

The downstairs parlor has been restored using elegant period wallpaper. All furniture, artwork and light fixtures are original.

In his will, Adler left $21 million to benefit Baker County in the form of community grants and college scholarships.

The Adler House Museum is managed by the Baker Heritage Museum.

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