Twelve homes, five centuries, one day. On September 21, after a ten-year hiatus, the Bristol Historical & Preservation Society (BHPS) brings back a popular tradition that started in the ‘60s: their annual House Tour.
“Homes open span 321 years of architecture and history,” say committee co-chairs and board members Dodie Tschirch and Theresa Woodmansee. “The oldest was built in 1698 and the newest in 2001!”
The tour is a fundraiser for BHPS, but more than that, it’s a celebration of the town’s rich history. Visitors can walk or hop on and off the private trolley through Bristol’s National Waterfront District. They’ll see examples of Greek Revival, Dutch Colonial Revival, and Federal Style. They’ll find National Historic Landmarks that “illustrate the heritage of not just Bristol but of the United States.” They’ll discover an estate designed by NYC architect James Renwick, responsible for the Smithsonian in DC and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC. There’s a 19th century stone school and wooden carriage house creatively converted into homes. Even the more contemporary, 21st century residences are noteworthy productions of Bristol’s own restoration architect Lombard John Pozzi.
“Each uniquely [offers] a glimpse and a story into Bristol’s past,” BHPS shares.
In between stops, Dodie encourages visitors to venture beyond the residential and indulge in what else Bristol has to offer. “With lots of little coffee shops to stop in during the day or restaurants to relax at afterwards, it becomes a whole day event.”
Between the homeowners, sponsors, advertisers, and volunteers, the House Tour 2019 is a community undertaking. As Dodie shares, the planning and implementation process takes over a year. However, Dodie and Theresa cite many favorite parts of the event, from the excitement the morning of as people pick up their tickets, to seeing the animated homeowners sharing their stories with tour-goers.
“There is a wonderful sense of community in pulling it all together,” says Dodie. “What a way to show off Bristol!”
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit online or call 401-253-7223.