Marshall Historic Home Tour Offers More Than Homes

The 56th annual Marshall Historic Home Tour Sept. 7-8 presents inside tours of six private homes, but there’s a whole lot more to the home-tour experience.

The Bogar Theatre will be showing “The Wizard of Oz,” a movie from 1939 which was the year the theater opened. Visitors can tour a hydroelectric plant that has been in operation since the 1890s. They also can interact with Civil War re-enactors who will be doing an encampment at Capitol Hill School.

Tour hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 8. The Honolulu House Museum, 107 N. Kalamazoo Ave., again will be the focal point for home tour activities. The Marshall Historical Society sponsors the tour.

Other home-tour-related events are Art at the Museum, an arts-and-crafts fair on the Honolulu House grounds; and a Civil War Ball on Saturday evening in front of the Honolulu House. Other community organizations will have activities during the tour days.

There are six museums on the tour including the three operated by the historical society. They are the 1860 Honolulu House, the 1903 Marshall Historical Museum at the GAR Hall, and the 1860 Capitol Hill School Museum. The tour also includes the 1839 Governor’s Mansion operated by the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Marshall United States Postal Service Museum and the Walters Gasoline Museum.
Two of the private residences haven’t been on the tour since the early 1990s. They are the 1868 Gothic Revival home of Craig and Debbie Carrel on North Kalamazoo Avenue and the 1880 Queen Anne home of Matt and Kayla Thompson on South Marshall Street.

Visitors also can see the progress made in the restoration of Marshall’s only Octagon-style house on South Eagle Street. The home, built in 1856, is owned by George Whelan, historical society president, and his wife Debra. Tour favorite Oakhill also is part of this year’s event. The 1858 Italianate home of Tom Franke on North Eagle Street is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Historic American Buildings Survey.

The 1870 Italianate home of Beth Rayner on Division Street hasn’t been on the tour since 2003. Twentieth-century architecture is shown in the 1903 Queen-Anne-style cottage of Nate Palmer on Liberty Street.

The 1893 Marshall Power House on South Marshall Street proved a popular feature on the 2016 tour and is back on this year. The city has the third-oldest municipal hydroelectric system operating under its original ownership in the country.

The Bogar Theatre on Michigan Avenue will be showing “Wizard of Oz” at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. both tour days on one of its screens. The other will have continuous showings of a 1940 Marshall Junior Chamber of Commerce movie along with film of the 1930 Marshall Centennial Parade.
Also on tour is the 1864 Trinity Episcopal Church on East Mansion Street. The historic home tour has its roots in kitchen tours started by a church women’s group in 1957.

Advance home-tour tickets cost $20 and are available through Labor Day, Monday Sept. 2, at or by calling (269) 781-8544. Tickets will be $25 beginning Tuesday, Sept. 3. Tickets are good for both tour days. Parking is free, and free shuttle buses will run to the tour sites.

Ryan and Theresa Underhill are home tour co-chairs this year assisted by Matt and Danielle Siebert.

The Marshall Historic Home Tour began in 1964, and it has grown into the longest-running home tour in the Midwest. The Marshall Historical Society uses the home tour proceeds to maintain and enhance its museums and to support community efforts to preserve, protect and promote Marshall’s historic heritage. More information is available at