Home Tour visitors can share the view that inspired Lora Steere.
Photos by Frazier-Drake

Time to travel to historic Idyllwild — the 18th-annual Home Tour — will be available to the public on Saturday, Sept. 15.

From the beginning of the last century and through the first seven decades, visitors will see and learn about the beginning and growth of Idyllwild. The five homes, including one in Pine Cove, range from cabins to lodges, from a few hundred square feet to larger.

Visitors do not realize the history and value of Idyllwild, just strolling up or down North Circle Drive. Taking the tour introduces them to the whole village community and how it evolved, said Charlotte Groty, Idyllwild Area Historical Society president and head of the Home Tour Committee.

One of the stops has been seen by millions of people. Not while visiting Idyllwild, but in movie theaters and in homes, while watching “Kid Galahad.” Now for the first time, Elvis fans and others can stroll through Hidden Lodge.

The interior of Hidden Lodge. The Idyllwild Area Historical Society offers Elvis fans an opportunity to share the counter with him.

So, “Elvis is in the house,” IAHS proudly proclaims this year. Shooting for the film, which starred Elvis Presley and others, began in November 1961. The film was released in 1962 and quickly became a top-grossing film.

Hidden Lodge, originally intended to be a winter sports center, including ski runs, was built in 1947. The film was shot at many locations throughout town and fans of Presley make annual pilgrimages to Idyllwild. This year, those who join the Home Tour will be able to see the lodge’s interior, rather than just driving past it to pay homage.

“The [current] owner is very excited and happy to show it with us,” Groty said proudly.

This year’s tour includes, with less notoriety, three cabins. But their contribution to the evolution of Idyllwild may be greater than a musical.

Lora Steere, sculptor and educator at the Idyllwild School of Music and Theatre Arts, now Idyllwild Arts Academy, had a beautiful cabin in town. It has been restored and will be on the tour, too. Steere was a member of the original ISOMATA faculty.

An avid hiker, Steere had many friends who adored her. Just 35 years ago, when she could no longer hike, they happily ferried her in a special litter to San Jacinto Peak. This was her 81st trek to the top of the Hill.

Several of her art works will be seen as one walks through the cabin, which was built in 1919.

The interior of the Frances Metcalfe cabin with vintage kitchen appliances.

A newer cabin, built in 1942, housed Frances Metcalfe, one of the original ladies of the Golden Candle Stick, a mid-century Christian Covenant fellowship, according to Groty. In the late 1950s, Metcalfe left Idyllwild to tour Israel and the Middle East. Her home here will be featured on the tour.

The third cabin, from the same period, built in 1947, features a Zen garden and tea house.

The final stop on the Home Tour is in Pine Cove. This log home is less than 50 years old but still amazing. It is filled with vintage furniture and fascinating photographs. The husband, a former fighter pilot, has taken his wife, the photographer, on many flights. These spectacular photos are on display.

Groty attributes the success of the Home Tour to Nanci Killingsworth, who has the ability to walk around the Hill and spot these special homes. Initially, the owner may be reluctant, but once she explains the tour and its purpose, owners are glad to participate.

“I get many home owners telling me how great it was to have 500 to 600 people walk through their house,” Groty said. “At the end of the day, they are smiling.”

Tickets are $20 per person and will be available on Saturday, Sept. 15, at Harmony, the monument on Village Center Drive, across from Idypark, or at the IAHS museum. The tour begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m., and refreshments will be available at the museum for hungry tourers.