Open houses

Sunday, May 2, 2010
The Bertrand home, 306 Independence St., is on the Old Town Cape Home and Garden Tour. (Fred Lynch)

Several Cape Girardeau residents will open their doors to the public Saturday for the first Downtown Historic Home and Garden Tour.

The tour is being sponsored by Old Town Cape, and proceeds from ticket sales will go into a fund to cover advertising and materials printed for the tour. However, project manager Toni Eftink said the goal is for the tour to become a fundraiser in years to come, where money raised will go toward the revitalization efforts set by the DREAM Initiative plan. The plan also details a home tour to promote downtown living.

Five downtown home owners and two garden owners and their families are participating in this year's tour.

Lisa Bertrand, an Old Town Cape board member and the tour coordinator, owns one of the seven homes on the route. She and her husband Charles live in the historic home at 306 Independence St. Lisa began organizing the tour by calling other downtown homeowners and asking for their participation.

Bertrand said the tour is being held in the spring to include gardens and avoid conflicting with a holiday home tour sponsored by Lutheran Children and Family Services.

This is the living room of the Bertrand home, one of seven homes featured on the Old Town Cape Home and Garden Tour.

There are several styles of homes and living spaces on the tour. The Becking family will open its large Queen Anne-style home on North Fountain Street, while Laurie Everett, owner of Annie Laurie's Antiques on Broadway, will show her stylized apartment above the store.

Getting Everett involved, Bertrand said, was important, because people will see how second-level space can be used if they chose to live downtown above a business.

Preparing her own home for the tour, Bertrand said, hasn't taken a lot of work.

"We've done a thorough cleaning, touched up a few places with paint and some other odds and ends," she said.

She said she had to remember that people will come to the tour because they are interested in seeing how you live in the house as much as they are interested in seeing it.

This is the dining room of the Bertrand home, one of seven homes featured on the Old Town Cape Home and Garden Tour. (Fred Lynch)

"It's a not a big dog and pony show or a lot of preparation," she said. "This is where we live, and people can come and see it."

During the tour, the homeowners or volunteers will greet visitors at the door of each home or garden and offer to take them through the rooms or let them explore on their own, Bertrand said.

Volunteers stationed in different parts of the house will tell visitors about a historical aspect or item.

"I will greet them, give them a welcome and a little history about the house, and then people can just kind of wander through," Bertrand said.

The Bertrand home was built in 1906. According to Bertrand, the home was in good shape when her they bought it in 2004. Since they have owned the home, they built on a family room with a bar made from church pews and decorated the upstairs bedrooms in themes. A large bedroom on the third floor has a Texas theme, because the couple returned to Cape Girardeau from more than 20 years of living there. The home is full of memorabilia and antiques collected over the years. In the living room, Bertrand has a collection of Southeast Missouri State University memorabilia, her mother's antique formal dresses and paintings by Southern Illinois artist Jake Wells.

Bertrand said the tour is important to helping downtown revive.

"The more we do as homeowners, the more it complements the businesses, and the more they do the more it complements us," she said.

Eftink said the tour is walkable, with locations at the most five to six blocks apart, although anyone who has trouble getting around may want to drive between the locations.

The tour will run from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Tickets are $15 prior to the tour, and can be purchased at Old Town Cape, Spanish Street Mercantile and Annie Laurie's Antiques. The day of the tour, tickets will be $20 will be available at the Everett Home and the Bertrand Home.

Homes included in the tour are the Everett home at 536 Broadway, the Sachen-Schwepker home at 222 Belleview St., the Becking home at 25 N. Fountain St., the Bertrand home at 306 Independence St., the Scherrman Home at 129 S. Lorimier St., the Stroder garden at 241 N. Fountain St. and the Mocherman garden at 220 N. Lorimier St.

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