2024 Dowagiac Home and Garden Tour sites announced

Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2024

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DOWAGIAC — A popular event that made its triumphant comeback a year ago is set to return next month.

The Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce has announced the highly anticipated return of the Dowagiac Home & Garden Tour, scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 22, 2024. Attendees will have the opportunity to explore six of Dowagiac’s most historic and properties, showcasing the architectural variety and historic charm of the region.

Event organizer Eileen Crouse brought the tour back last year after a 32-year hiatus and more than 420 people attended the event. Crouse said she was not surprised community members wanted to experience an aspect of its history. 

“As a home enthusiast, I’m fascinated by these beautiful homes and knew others felt the same way,” she said. “It was exciting, validating and encouraging to see the turnout and support.”

Advance ticket sales for the Dowagiac Home & Garden Tour began Tuesday, May 7 and are available online via the chamber website, under Events at www.dowagiacchamber.com, Imperial Furniture, 57530 M-51 South and at Cottage Gallery, 126 S. Front St., Dowagiac. Advance tickets are priced at $15, with day-of-tour tickets available for $20. The tour will kick off at the Dowagiac History Museum, where patrons can collect their wristbands and receive information on each location.

Most of the properties on tour have steep stairs visitors should be mindful of. 

Stay updated on tour announcements by following the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page and the Homes of Dowagiac page, dedicated to celebrating Dowagiac’s architectural treasures.

The tour committee is chaired by Crouse and includes Alicea Rodriguez Cole, Allexia Money, Dana Sandoval, Jessica Shank, Zena Burns, and Ruth Ausra. Local historians Corey Crocker and Pamela Oliverez are providing research and background information on the homes.

Volunteers are still needed to serve as docents during the tour, guiding visitors through the homes and ensuring a memorable experience for all. Those interested in volunteering are encouraged to reach out to Jessica Shank at jshank1231@gmail.com.

Homes on tour

The home featured on the event poster is an exquisite 1874 Italianate residence owned by Carlos and Dana Sandoval, located on Center Street. With its original architectural details and beautiful grounds, this home sets the stage for the tour experience.

Attendees will also be able to tour the renowned Lee Mansion, known as “The Rockery,” nestled on High Street and surrounded by a three-foot stone fence. Built in 1893 for Fred and Kate Lee of the Round Oak Stove Company, this Romanesque masterpiece, now owned by Michael West, exudes timeless grandeur.

A second home on the tour intertwined with the Round Oak legacy is a Queen Anne/Foursquare with Prairie School influences on Main Street. Originally built in 1903 for Charles and Ida Hubbard, this stately residence was once the home of Dickinson H. Bishop and his wife Mary Beckwith Lee Bishop, the daughter of Fred and Kate Lee. Presently owned by Jane Phillipson,, the interior is offers a look into the past.

Outside of town is William and Katrina Crawford’s 1854 Greek Revival on Indian Lake Road. The Crawfords have invested years lovingly restoring this historic farmhouse, known as the Cullinane House, which has deep roots in the community.

Local restaurateur Kyle Belew is offering a rare glimpse into the past by opening up the famed ballroom on the third floor of the Dowagiac Elks Temple, currently the Wounded Minnow Saloon. Few people have been privy to this long-lost space over the last 30 years, and when renovations begin later this year to convert the upper floors to luxury apartments, the history will be gone forever.

As promised, the Beckwith House on Oak Street, which is the third on the tour with Round Oak connections, will once again be on the tour. This 1887 Eastlake Stick Style, owned by Chris Hilton, has been undergoing a monumental restoration by local historian Corey Crocker. Crocker will be on-site to update visitors on the progress and plans for the coming year.

The 2024 Dowagiac Home & Garden Tour is underwritten by Matt and Ale Money of D. MottL Realty Group and Cari Adams of Chicago Title of Michigan, Niles/Dowagiac, and the team at Imperial Furniture, reflecting the community’s steadfast commitment to preserving its heritage.

“I am a big proponent of restoration and preservation of historical homes that define the community’s personality,” Crouse said. “By showcasing homeowners who have decided to invest time, effort and money into preserving and restoring homes, I want to acknowledge that work because not everyone has commitment to do that. I think when people see the possibilities it motivates and inspires people to do that.”

Crouse hopes to connect with people who have homes built in the 1950s and 60s in future tours.

“Connecting with people who are interested in being on the home tour is difficult,” Crouse said. “If someone has a home they’re proud of regardless of age or style, we are very interested in hearing from you.”