Christmas lights shine bright this year on several houses whose owners celebrate their homes’ histories while threading in influences of the modern era.
Homes decorated for Christmas will be open to the public as part of the 19th annual Symphony Christmas Stroll, a major fundraiser for the Chippewa Valley Symphony Orchestra.
One of the eight locations on the stroll gained Eau Claire’s Historic Landmarks designation earlier this month from the Eau Claire Landmarks Commission. The George J. Losby House at 822 Third Ave. features a colonial revival style of architecture common in homes built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Losby house is one of three homes on the stroll in the Randall Park Neighborhood.
The stroll is from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18. Tickets for the event cost $20 and are available in advance at several locations.
Strollers can stop at Grace Lutheran Church for coffee, cookies and bathroom breaks at any time during the stroll, and they can visit locations in any order they prefer.
The locations are as follows:
1. Grace Lutheran Church, 202 W. Grand Ave.
Grace Lutheran Church is serving as the host venue for the stroll. Here, tickets can be purchased and refreshments will be available in the chapel, just inside the door from the Oxford Avenue parking lot. Strollers can leave their cars in the parking lot and walk to three nearby homes on the tour in the Randall Park Neighborhood, each fewer than two blocks away.
2. Tom and Maureen Slauson, 322 West Grand Ave.
Next year marks the 70th anniversary of the Queen Anne Victorian home being under ownership of the Slauson family. Tom and Maureen live on the main floor, with the next generation of Slausons occupying the upstairs. While the upper two floors have been featured on the stroll before, extensive renovations make the main floor a new feature this year.
3. Rick Peterson, 822 Third Ave.
This 1928 Colonial Revival brick home in the Randall Park Neighborhood was added to Eau Claire’s Historic Register by the city’s Landmark Commission in November. Owner Rick Peterson has chosen a more contemporary interpretation for his home’s interior, from an open floor plan to his “White Christmas” tree.
4. Jon Schabell and John Trones, 1033 Oxford Ave.
A world of wonder awaits at this magical and cozy home, where the owners have seamlessly woven together treasures and collectables, and even a few pieces of what may have been trash (see the portrait painting in the upper landing).
5. Yuri and Natalia Ripeckyj, 104 Wilcox St.
Designed and built around 1912, the historic Roy Wilcox House is a Prairie Georgian masterpiece, showing influences of both Endwardian England and the architectural style of Frank Lloyd Wright. The holidays at this home are further enriched by the Ripeckyj’s inclusion of traditions celebrating their Ukrainian heritage.
6. Janet Bethke, 410 Roosevelt St.
This charming Third Ward neighborhood dutch colonial home holds a collection of heirlooms artfully arranged and selected from an antique business formerly owned by Bethke’s mother. Keep an eye out for vintage antique ornaments and take note of floral arrangements created in antique vessels.
7. Bijou Bistro, 2629 E. Clairemont Ave.
Chef, owner and host Tony Draganowski will capture your imagination with several superb holiday table settings. Strollers can vote for their favorite while registering for a drawing to win a $100 gift certificate. As a chef, perhaps Draganowski may have some other surprises in store.
8. Robin and Jackie Crandall, S11170 Lowes Creek Road
This prairie-style home was originally designed by architect Mark Kawell. Located ona 40-acre equestrian estate, the house was created to display a collection of antiques, some of which are built into the home. Accented with pieces designed by Wright, the home has dozens of art glass windows created by the late Eau Claire artist Laurie Bieze. As stewards of the original vision, the owners have continued working with the same architect as they make adaptations and updates to the home.
The Friends of the Symphony contributed to this article.
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