Board Member Charlotte Groty exudes excitement as she discusses the Idyllwild Area Historical Society’s 13th-annual Home Tour set for Saturday, Sept. 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. “We are featuring five homes this year that are very unique and full of surprises,” she said. “Last year we had over 400 tour guests and we expect even more this year.”
The annual event is a major fundraiser for the museum, supplying more than one-third of the annual operating budget.
Featured homes on this year’s tour represent a cross-section of the rich architecture and design history of Idyllwild. The oldest home was built in 1923 and features single-wall construction; no studs or corner posts support the structure. It is the only home in this area utilizing this unique type of construction.
Back in the day, another featured home built in 1927 was a favorite among many Garner Valley cowboys seeking female company and a slug or two of moonshine. The boot-scuffed floors and ranch brands carved into the stairway recall a very different time in the valley’s history.
Built between 1924 and 1927 is a U.S. Forest Service cabin with rugged log beams and original camp-style windows. Designs of Idyllwild’s earliest furniture maker (1923) Hal Holcomb, “the Rustic Man,” are in evidence throughout the cabin.
The built-in dresser and drawers is original Holcomb and the bed was built by Selden Belden, famous for his pinecraft furniture. The cabin was part of the 1915 Term Occupancy Act where individuals were allowed to lease from the government within or on national forest land.
One of the newer homes on the tour this year was built in 1963 and fell into such disrepair that real estate agents were reluctant to show it. Missing windows and uninvited inhabitants — bats, squirrels and the like — had taken up residency. New owners purchased the home in 2011 and restored and enhanced the home to its current magnificence.
Idyllwild Architect Dennis McGuire designed the newest of the homes built in 1979. The design incorporates the Frank Lloyd Wright philosophy of “creating structures in harmony with humanity and its environment.”
Photographer Julius Shulman, whose vast collection of images resides at the Getty Museum, took interest in the home and came to Idyllwild to photograph it. The home is designed to flow over the boulder outcrop on which it perches.
“The owners this year have been a delight,” Groty said. “They are very excited to be opening their homes to tour guests.”
Tickets are $20 per person and may be purchased on the day of the event in front of the Idyllwild Inn on Village Center Drive starting at 9:30 a.m. Home tours begin at 10 a.m. Guests receive a detailed map and brochure, and may visit the homes at their leisure until 4 p.m.
The museum will have entertainment, vendors and refreshments on hand throughout the day.
Category: On The Town