Peoriaâs Grand Tour of Homes 2012
On Sunday, May 20th, from noon until 5:00 p.m., the public will be touring the beautiful properties and homes that have been chosen for this yearâs 29thÂ annual Grand Tour. The architectural offerings for the Grand Tour 2012 are:Â 1419 W. Moss Avenue,Â 1635 W. Moss Avenue,Â 1114 N. University Street, Courtyard Estates onÂ 117 N. Western Avenue, The Cornerstone Building onÂ 321 NE Madison Avenue, and lastly, the Amvets Post 64 onÂ 237 NE Monroe Street.
The Grand Tour of Peoriaâs mission is to educate people on the architectural features of homes of theÂ PeoriaÂ area in the West Bluff has a fantastic following each year. Their greatest achievement is contributing money back into theÂ PeoriaÂ community to help areas such asÂ West Peoria, Moss Bradley, and others. The money helps improve these communities and maintains them through efforts as a cyclical achievement towardsÂ PeoriaÂ revitalization. Without projects like The Grand Tour, people would not be able view the quality of older architecture practices and share them for generations to come.
The ticket prices are reasonable for people of all walks of life to come and enjoy fantastic buildings with historic value.Â This yearâs group includes: Connie Wright, Publicity Coordinator, and Charles and LaDonna Bobbitt, who are the main creators of the project as well as owners of the Bobbittâs Historic Quarters, along with many others have focused their efforts on these three homes and three commercial buildings.
Bobbitt states, âThe beauty of it is, we give up our vacations. One day a year we put the ladders away, we put the lawnmowers away, we put the paintbrushes away, and invite people in. People donât realize we have some outstanding smaller homes in the West Bluff. We bring people into the neighborhoods to see the houses that the average joe has redone and has done them nicely.â He also points out that these residents work exceedingly hard to make this a great tour and they enjoy all the questions that they receive from tour patrons.
Some of the other wonderful people involved in the Grand Tour committee are Mary Ruth Ginn, who creates the artwork for promotion as well as tickets, Gary Morris, Lynne Binkele, Sue Nowlan, Andy Speck, Rita Speck, and Chris Stalker. This non-for-profit group with an outstanding committee works hard each year to make each tour successful, no matter how much effort is involved.Â Bobbitt mentions that they are looking for new volunteers who are willing to work hard for the Grand Tour efforts.
When speaking with Connie Wright, her positive focus for volunteering on this community home-showing project speaks volumes about the group even in first meeting her. Wright remarks, âThe Grand Tour used to be called something else and some committee people split years and years ago. We stayed (as a group) and the other part stopped doing itâŚItâs a very spirited group of people.â She is truly intertwined with The Grand Tour, having helped with it for several years, and enjoys giving of her time to make this project a reality.
Bobbitt also mentions that this tour is the only tour unique to the West Bluff, rather than skipping around to different places inÂ Peoria. He believes that their tour is the oldest tour inÂ Peoria. Bobbitt states, âWeâre using commercial buildings for the first time this year. We have had commercial buildings, weâve had churches before. But, this time we are breaking from our tradition because there are so many worthy building downtown that we do not in our opinion believe get their due attention.â
In creating the Tour, the challenge for the committee is to find homes or commercial properties that have older architectural elements and people that would be willing to showcase their homes fully in the area. Wright states, âThis year is a little different, we usually try to shoot for seven houses or seven physical buildings.Â Sometimes we have six houses (along with) a church, or five houses, an apartment and a church. This year, we only have three houses which is unusual. In 2009, we didnât have tour (due to not having enough houses available that year). 2010 and 2011, we did put on tours.â
These great buildings, owned by gracious property owners willing to showcase the entirety of their homes and commercial properties, allow attendees to see all aspects of great architecture inÂ Peoria. Bobbitt mentions that thereâs concern that older commercial properties wonât survive and that the biggest fear is of the wrecking ball. The promotion for the Tour is all about word of mouth and getting the community involved in seeing these buildings. The money that goes back into the community does help over time.
Bobbitt explains, âAll the money we retain is seed money for next yearâs tour. It files back into the community because we fill the gap between memberships in these organizationsâŚWe drive all over the West Bluff, we see things that we know we donated to this sign, to these shrubs, and to these plantsâŚwe see the results of our work and itâs well worth it.â
For more information on The Grand Tour of Homes, contact LaDonna Bobbitt (309)-672-1831 or Connie Wright (309)-674-2330. Tickets are $12.00 in advance and $15.00 the day of the tour. Tickets can be purchased from the following businesses as well: Floral Expressions, Sterling Flower Shop, Marilynâs Bow-K, Bartonville Haddadâs, The Old Hair Shoppe in West Peoria, Fredâs Shoe Repair inÂ Peoria, Relicâs onÂ Adams Street, and Rhythm Kitchen in downtownÂ Peoria.