OWOSSO — The Owosso Historical Commission is highlighting the history of the Woodard Furniture Company during the 21st annual home tour this weekend.
According to Owosso Historical Commission Director Robert Doran, this year’s home tour is the largest to date and features more than just tours of historic homes.
This year, participants will be able to tour 10 historic homes, six museums, two restorations, two churches and other buildings from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at Curwood Castle Saturday or in advance at the Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The theme is “The worth of Woodard — Furniture for the Ages.” The Woodard Furniture company was founded 153 years ago in Owosso and still makes wrought-iron furniture.
The self-guided (or driven) tour can start at any of the homes or buildings. Volunteer docents will be at each home or building, some will feature tours.
The 10 historic homes on the tour include such styles as the classic Victorian design to a mid-century colonial revival. Many of the homes and other buildings have links to the Woodard family.
The houses include:
n 905 W. Oliver St. A 1952 Colonial revival ranch known as The Alderman Home, it’s Todd Woodard’s original home.
n 115 Curwood Castle Drive. A circa 1905 vernacular with Victorian and Romanesque elements. It is known as the Greenway Home, it was Fred Woodard’s first home and will feature a “pop-up easy growin’ water garden.”
n 900 West Oliver St. is a 1920 Colonial revival, which was Fred Woodard’s second home.
n 110 W. Main St. is an 1884 Victorian commercial. Aviator Jayne will feature Woodard display cases and a pop-up flower market.
n 453 E. King St. The Ludington Home, an 1873 American farmhouse with Tudor revival elements and a 2003 renovation.
n 216 W. Main St., a circa 1909 Neoclassical commercial with a 2019 renovation.
n 508 W. Williams St. James Oliver Curwood’s original home, a 1910 Georgian revival. The home is now a bed and breakfast.
n 609 N. Washington St. The Slick Home is an 1898 Queen Anne victorian.
n 515 N. Washington St. An 1860 Italianate with an 1873 Second Empire renovation and a 1938 renovation.
n 630 Clark St. The Back Home, a 1929 Tudor revival which will feature a Woodard furniture collection.
Piper Brewer, a former member of the Owosso Historical Commission, said aside from Marshall, Owosso has the most well-preserved 19th-century homes in the state.
“We truly have a wonderful collection of homes from the 19th century that are preserved well. Not many communities can say that.”
The museums include:
n The Woodard Paymaster Building in Curwood Castle Park. The 1880 Gothic revival will feature artifacts from the Woodward era.
n Curwood Castle, a 1923 Gilded Age castle modeled after a 15th century French Norman chateau.
n The Comstock pioneer cabin is a 1936 Midland-style log cabin. There will be a pop-up blacksmith from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
n The Shiawassee Arts Center will feature the largest collection of Woodard furniture and artifacts in the Midwest.
n The Amos Gould House. This 1860 Italianate with an 1873 Second Empire restoration will feature Woodard artifacts including the first metal chair the company produced as well as carriages and antique cars.
n The Steam Railroading Institute will be showcasing its 1941 Pere Marquette steam locomotive, featured in the movie “The Polar Express,” from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Doran said the two churches on the list were selected because of their historic stained glass, which will be the main focus of their tours. There will also be organ recitals and boxed lunches.
n The first is the First Congregational Church located at 327 N. Washington St. There will be lunch in the fellowship hall for $8 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., organ recitals from noon until 1 p.m. and tours of the stained glass windows from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.
n The second church on the tour is the Christ Episcopal Church at 120 Goodhue St., an 1859 Romanesque/1892 Gothic revival. There will also be lunch from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. for $8 and tours of the stained glass from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
The tour also features two historical restorations, The Armory and The Lebowsky Center for the Performing Arts.
The Armory is a 1915 collegiate gothic that underwent a $5.5 million restoration in 2018.
There will be a Michigan Historic Preservation pop-up from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The Lebowsky Center for the Performing Arts building formerly known as the Owosso Community Players is a 1926 neoclassical theater that underwent a $6 million dollar reconstruction in 2014. There will be tours from noon until 2 p.m.
The farmers market will open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on West Exchange Street and the entire downtown, which is a historic district, will be open for shopping.
“We’re a historic downtown that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places and I think our history and our historic architecture is part of our community fabric, our identity. The home tour really puts a focus on that,” Josh Adams, the executive director of Owosso Main Street, said. “I think it’s something to be proud of, it’s our history, it’s our heritage. This event is great because it brings in hundreds of people to our downtown to celebrate not only our history but our future.”