Tour Des Moines homes dating back to the 1870s

Tour Des Moines homes dating back to the 1870s

Tour Des Moines homes dating back to the 1870s

Sherman Hill residents will offer much more than visits to their stately, historic properties during the annual tour of homes over the next two weekends.

Visitors of the event will walk the tree-lined streets to visit renovated houses in a neighborhood where roots date to the 1870s, but they also will find music and refreshments along the way. The tour runs Saturday and Sunday and again Sept. 27-28.

This is the second year for music to be offered at the Wallace House, 756 16th St. during the tour. Another property in the neighborhood also will offer music, along with refreshments.

Sherman Hill Neighborhood Association board member Debbie Martin is helping with the tour and co-chaired last year. Adding musicians was one way to encourage visitors to linger at and enjoy the Wallace House, a perennial tour stop, she said.

“I used to work at Civic Music Association, so I had some contacts and thought music on the porch would be a great touch to the tour,” Martin said.

Artists lined up to play at the Wallace House are Bill Matykowski, 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday; the Hannah Marks jazz trio, 10 a.m. to noon Sunday; Max Wellman, noon to 3 p.m. Sept. 27; and Ortonville Circus, 1 to 3 p.m. Sept. 28. Wellman will perform inside; but other musicians will be on the porch.

Neighborhood association board member Jon Murphy will host a new rest stop on his property, 701 19th St. from noon to 2 p.m. each tour day with assistance from one of the tour’s sponsors, Veridian Credit Union.

“The station will be located in the driveway of my home and will feature snacks and refreshments for tour attendees,” Murphy said.

Musicians also will be at Murphy’s home. Organizers were still working on the musical lineup late last week.

Organizers expect to have 10 to 12 homes open each weekend, said association president Ryan Howell. Sherman Hill, which became a historic district in the early 1980s, offers a mix of single-family homes, duplexes and apartments with a wide range of aesthetic styles.

Noah Niermann and his wife, Katie Swanson, will open their home at 751 17th St. to tour guests.

The couple bought the 1884 house nearly a year ago, Niermann said. They moved to Des Moines from the Twin Cities for Niermann’s studies at Des Moines University and first rented an apartment in Sherman Hill before their now-home came on the market.

“We loved the neighborhood and the location and when an opportunity came to buy, we decided to jump on that,” Niermann said. Volunteering to take part in the home tour is another chance to get involved in the community.

“We just thought it would be a good way to get to know our neighborhood better,” he said.

They aren’t quite sure what style category fits their home, but the couple like its quiet charm, original hardwood floors and wood trim.

“It’s pretty simple, pretty modest, compared to the other painted ladies,” Niermann said.

Tour Des Moines homes dating back to the 1870s

A small first-story addition was tacked on the back many decades ago, he said, and a second-floor porch was added above that. At some point the upstairs porch was walled in for a sunroom, but the rest of the home’s footprint appears to be original.

Their first big project has been to give the exterior a fresh paint job, which is an ongoing process. Inside they are opening a wall between the original kitchen and a smaller, adjacent room.

Otherwise, it’s just the usual here-and-there tasks that come with any older home.

“We’re taking down a lot of wallpaper, updating and painting throughout,” Niermann said.

Doors to the Past

The Sherman Hill neighborhood will host its annual walking tour of homes from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and Sept. 27 and 28.

WALK-UP TICKETS: Passes will be available at the Hoyt Sherman Place box office, 1501 Woodland Ave. on the first three days. On Sept. 28, tickets may be purchased at the Mickle Center, 1620 Pleasant St. Cost is $15 for one weekend, ages 13 and older; $5 for students with identification.

ADVANCE TICKETS: Cost is $15 for both weekends or $10 for one weekend, with $5 student tickets. Available at Hoyt Sherman Place; Gateway Market, 2002 Woodland Ave.; and the Dahl’s locations at 3425 Ingersoll Ave. and 1819 Beaver Ave. in Des Moines and 5003 E.P. True Parkway in West Des Moines. Advance tickets also may be purchased online at www.historicshermanhill.com and picked up at Hoyt Sherman Place.


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