Each year, a dozen or so homes open their doors to hundreds of curious visitors, allowing them a glimpse of historic architecture and interior design. The Heritage Homes Tour is responsible for introducing these fantastic homes to Boise residents. The tour was introduced in 2003 as a way to advocate for preservation of historic homes in the wake of planned subdivisions and cookie-cutter homes. It is the belief of Preservation Idaho that, “Historic places represent a snapshot in time, a reminder of the path we have taken and the base on which our future is built. It is a terrible loss to our cultural heritage when they are taken away.” They encourage the tour as a way to embrace the past while building towards the future. A fun and interesting way to get to know more about the unusual architectural stylings of Boise is to go on the Heritage Homes Tour. This tour is currently available once a year, typically the first weekend in October and has been running for nine years. Within the neighborhood selected, homeowners volunteer their homes for the tour. These homes have been painstakingly and faithfully restored to their original grandeur. The homeowners are proud to show their work, and many will chat about the details with curious visitors. Many of the homes in the past have also been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This years’ tour was put on through the combined efforts of Preservation Idaho, a branch of the Idaho Historic Preservation Council, and the North End Neighborhood Association. It featured houses on 17th and 18th streets, known as the Highland Park Addition in the North End. These houses varied from simple California Craftsman bungalows to ornate Victorian mansions. The North End was the first area to be developed in the early years of Boise. A walk down any of the streets shows a vast array of architecture and landscaping. Often known for its quirky citizens and independent vibe, the North End continues to be a highly sought after place to own a home in Boise. The tour for 2012 has already been scheduled and more information is found on the Preservation Idaho website. It will cover the historic East End of Boise and will be held on Sunday, October 7 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Tickets for the event are available online or in-person and are reasonably priced. The tour is self-guided, visitors are encouraged to peruse the homes at their leisure, taking time to ask questions and read the information printed in their brochures is encouraged. We’ll look forward to seeing you there next time!