Peoria Historical Society announces Holiday Tour of four historic homes

Staff Writer
Chillicothe Times-Bulletin

What: The Splendor of Christmas Past -- a holiday tour of four historic homes in two of Peoria's historic districts

When: 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1

1 p.m. - 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2

Where:

·        Flanagan House Museum, 942 NE Glen Oak Ave.

·        Haverhals Home, 936 NE Glen Oak Ave.

·        Pettengill-Morron House Museum, 1212 W. Moss Ave.

·        Pratt Benoit Home, 1325 W. Moss Ave.

Who: Sponsored by Peoria Historical Society

How: Tickets: $15 per person at the door or $12 in advance at

·        Peoria Historical Society, 611 SW Washington St., 309-674-1921

·        Harp & Thistle, 4605 N. Prospect Road, Peoria Heights, 688-5668

·        Kelleher's Irish Pub & Eatery, 619 SW Water St., Peoria 673-6000

Why: To celebrate the holiday season in historic Peoria

PEORIA, Ill. – The Peoria Historical Society is transforming their long-running Christmas Candlelight event into The Splendor of Christmas Past, a holiday tour of four historic homes in two different historic districts of Peoria.

Featured along with the Society’s two House Museums are two private homes that have never been open to the public.

The Flemish Revival home at 936 NE Glen Oak Ave. was built in 1900 for the Frank Lewis family. The architect, Frederick Klein, also designed Peoria High School, Madison Theater and the pavilion at Glen Oak Park. Although the home’s facade is Flemish Revival, the living and dining room design is Arts and Crafts. The home was a boarding house from 1975-1985 and from 1991-1996 it sat empty. With the roof collapsing, neighbors felt it should be demolished. Tedd Hensley, bought the house at a federal auction in 1996. He restored the exterior and replaced all the mechanicals. In 2006, due to his health problems, Tedd’s work came to a halt. John and Bernice Haverhals bought the house in 2009 and completed the restoration.

The John C. Flanagan House at 942 NE Glen Oak Ave. was built in 1837 and is the oldest standing house in Peoria. This American Federalist style house offers a spectacular view of the Illinois River Valley. John, a Philadelphia lawyer, came to settle his father's estate of 600 acres, acquired in 1824. He decided to build and become a land developer. The Society acquired the house in 1962 and it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Displays include: Empire furnishings and period artifacts, 18th and 19th century area history, Peoria’s distillery industry, collections of antique glass, china, furniture, toys, quilts, and vintage clothing. Costumed interpreters will portray a Flanagan family Christmas in the 1860s.

The 1887 Victorian at 1325 W. Moss Ave. was built by Elizabeth Griswold, a widow who owned the estate across the street. The home has always been a single family dwelling. Restored by the former owners, Heather Varney and Robert Delano, the house has most of the original gas light fixtures and many original stained glass windows. Two of the three original fireplaces display exquisite tile work and hardwood mantles. The attic still has the original cistern and the basement has the two large oil drums for heating. The foyer woodwork and all hardwood floors have been restored. The prior owners updated the kitchen using a massive workbench for additional counter space. Dr. Dyveke Pratt Benoit purchased the home in September of 2012 and melds her eclectic Christmas decorating style with the charm of the Victorian past.

Celebrate the 1950s Christmas holidays with Miss Jean Morron at The Pettengill-Morron House. Built by Moses Pettengill in 1868 in the Second Empire architectural style with 11 rooms, the home contains a unique collection of possessions from several generations of a single Peoria family. In 1900 a colonial revival porch and porte-cochere were added, giving the home a grand Victorian appearance. Miss Morron acquired the property from the John Boyd Stone family in 1953 and owned the house until her death in 1966. The Butler’s Boutique will be open for holiday purchases and will feature a display of Santa greenware by Archie Lyons.

Tours will run two days only, from 5-9 p.m. Dec. 1 and 1-5 p.m. Dec. 2. Tickets are for sale at the door for $15 a person. Advance tickets for $12 are available at Harp & Thistle in Peoria Heights, Kellehers Irish Pub & Eatery on Water Street or at the Peoria Historical Society’s office at 611 SW Washington St. Visit www.peoriahistoricalsociety.org or call 674-1921 for more information.