The Sowerwine/Forsythe/Smith Home at 355 S. Ninth St., a Queen Anne built in 1901, will be on the Noblesville Preservation Alliance's 31st annual Historic Homes Tour on Saturday.
The Sowerwine/Forsythe/Smith Home at 355 S. Ninth St., a Queen Anne built in 1901, will be on the Noblesville Preservation Alliance's 31st annual Historic Homes Tour on Saturday.
I have an Historic Home Tour sign displayed in my front yard, promoting Noblesville Preservation Alliance's 31st annual Historic Homes Tour.

I chuckled as I accepted the sign from NPA board member Sandy Stewart, who invited me to display the sign as I was out walking in Old Town one evening last week.

My chuckle was because I hope that no one mistook my front-yard sign for my house as being one of the homes on tour.

Stewart's lovely and eclectic home on Conner Street was on the tour in 2016. I know from past tour homeowners that they work tirelessly for weeks, even months, readying their homes for tour guests, doing renovations, yard work and house cleaning. I know that it would take me a lot longer to ready for a day of guests walking through my house.

I commend my Old Town neighbors for opening their homes to the community for the tour, which is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. This year's theme is "Door to the Past" and features 12 historical properties, including nine private homes, plus special events and cultural sites.

While it's the third time for Stewart's former home on South Ninth Street -- the Bond/Foor Home, a 1912 American Foursquare at 875 S. Ninth St. -- to be on the tour, there are several homes new to the tour.

With addresses in hand, I jumped in my car and took a quick drive to see the tour homes. I found all of the homes south of the Historic Courthouse Square, where the Courthouse and Sheriff's Residence and Old Jail are part of the tour and where guests can buy tickets on Saturday.

There are four homes on Ninth Street, and three homes on Hannibal Street, with another on Fifth Street and another on Washington Street.

While it's interesting to visit the homes, it's even more fascinating to hear the history of each home, often told by NPA volunteers during the tour.

Herman E. Lawson, Noblesville's mayor from 1952-58, lived in the 1900 Heinzmann/Lawson/Effing Home at 1049 S. Ninth St. A mail carrier who boarded his horses in a barn in the backyard lived in the Swiggett/Gienger Home at 1097 S. Ninth St. Just down the street, a 1901 Queen Anne, the Sowerwine/Forsythe/Smith Home at 355 S. Ninth St., was owned by Charles and Sarah Sowerwine, owners of Sowerwine and Osbon Dry Goods, a store that at the time was on the northwest corner of Logan and Ninth streets.

On Hannibal Street, we find the Moore Home at 671 Hannibal St., a cottage-style home full of Native American artifacts that honor Cherokee heritage. Cassius and Madge Gentry in 1902 bought the 1890 Victorian house at 957 Hannibal St., and it remained in the family for 115 years. And at 1274 Hannibal St., the McCall Home, the pre-1900 home might have been a one-room school house for African Americans, according to folklore.

The Weaver/Knox Home at 207 S. Fifth St., was built before 1900 and is at the entrance to historic Riverside Cemetery. The VanMeter/Boase Home, at 545 Washington St., built in 1910 as a cube-shaped vernacular cottage has been renovated and used as an Airbnb guest house.

The R.L. Wilson Home, 293 S. Eighth St., now home to Heavenly Sweets Bakery, features an Italianate home built on four acres in 1868 by Leonard Wild.

Besides the homes on tour, there are more than a dozen special events happening in or around downtown.

Noblesville Main Street's Old Mill Festival will offer art, antiques and crafts from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Caravan Classes invite folks to make their own art from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in a camper parked on the Square.

County historian David Heighway will share history about the historic Courthouse from 10 a.m. to noon.

The Belfry Theatre Apprentice Players will sing songs from Disney's "The Little Mermaid" at 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. on the south side of the Courthouse steps.

In the Sheriff's Residence, learn how to start a family tree during a genealogy activity from 10 a.m. to noon, pick up children's fingerprinting kids until 5 p.m.,and enjoy brownie sundaes while they last beginning at 10 a.m.

Noblesville Masonic Temple, 295 S. Ninth St., will be open for tours and will give away bottles of water to tour-goers until 3 p.m.

Riverside Cemetery, which will have a water station available, will also offer free tours all day, with Heighway to make a cemetery history talk at 2 p.m.

Nickel Plate Arts Campus will have two exhibits open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Hamilton County Artists' Association's Birdie Gallery will show a "Local Color" exhibit from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the gallery, plus a Mary Jane Keyes art exhibit from noon to 5 p.m. at Noblesville Visitors Center.

Navy Club USA Ship 29 Honor Guard will conduct a military ceremony at 11 a.m. at the Veterans memorial at Riverside Cemetery.

The First Presbyterian Church will serve a BBQ pulled-pork meal benefiting youth programs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and church tours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Authors Nancy Massey and Carol Ann Johnson will sign copies of their Noblesville history book at the Foor Home, and Kurt Meyer will sign "Salvage Man" books at the Ross Home, from noon to 4 p.m.

Also, keep an ear tuned in for Noblesville High School orchestra students playing throughout the afternoon. Plus, the free Pioneer Party in the Park old-time musical festival and mercantile is 11:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Forest Park, and Separate Ways, a Fishers School of Rock band, will perform 7 to 9 p.m. at Federal Hill Commons.

Tickets for the NPA Home Tour are $15 at or at local merchants. Tickets will also be sold Saturday for $18 at the Historic Sheriff's Residence and Jail, 810 Conner St., or the First Presbyterian Church, 1207 Conner St.

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