One of the most popular home tours in central Illinois, Homes for the Holidays, will be held Saturday, Dec. 2, in Delavan.

From 4 to 8 p.m., visitors can relive the spirit of Christmas past. They will experience a candlelight tour of five historic turn-of-the-century homes, all dressed up for the holidays, along luminary lighted streets.

The Delavan Restoration Society is sponsoring this festive Christmas tradition. Tickets, programs, and maps will be available at First Farmers State Bank the evening of the tour. 

In conjunction with the tour, “Songs of Christmas Past” will be performed from 3 to 3:40 p.m. at the Delavan United Methodist Church, with performances by local musicians and soloists.

The Delavan business district, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, will feature Victorian vendors.  Restaurants and businesses will be open, and vendor shows will include an old-fashioned cookie walk in the lobby of the First Farmers State Bank, a candy shop at the First Presbyterian Church, and a Hearth & Home Holiday Show in the fellowship hall at the Delavan United Methodist Church.

“Christmas is a very special time, and that is certainly true here in Delavan,” said Mayor Liz Skinner. “It is the time of year that we like to share with those in our town and all throughout central Illinois as we host this holiday tour of homes.

“We are so proud of our community where traditions abound, and we love to show it off,” Skinner said.  “There is no doubt that Delavan is at its very best during the holiday season.”

One long-lasting tradition began in the 1920s, when the townspeople put up a Christmas tree at the intersection of Fourth and Locust streets.  And year after year and even today, a decorated tree has been a focal point of the downtown Christmas streetscape. 

Homes on the tour this year include Hoeft Home, 408 W. Fourth; McConnell Home, 702 W. Fourth; Wells Home, 706 W. Fourth; Bury Carriage House, 407 Walnut St.; and The Colony House, 504 Linden.

The decorated Hoeft Home is returning on tour for a fourth time.

“Christmas is my favorite holiday so the way it looks for the tour is much the way it would be decorated anyway,” said Jennifer Hoeft, owner of Hoeft Home. “And I am always so happy to be a part of the tour!”

Hoeft Home was built by the Reverend Stover in 1915. It was sold to Harry and Ella Stubbs in 1924 and then to John and Kitty Watson in 1952. The Watson family did extensive remodeling, including modernizing the kitchen. This remodeled kitchen was featured in McCall’s Magazine in the late 1950’s. Eric and Ginger Willard purchased the house from Nick and Dorothy Winkel in 1989.

The Hoeft family moved into the house in 2001. Sons Steven and Eric have grew up in the house since junior high.

The home features beautiful oak woodwork and floors.  The main level consists of an entry foyer with beautiful built-in leaded glass book cases, a living room with a fireplace, and a formal dining room.

An oak stairway leads from the foyer to a landing with leaded glass windows on to the second floor, which has four bedrooms and a laundry room.

“The spacious attic on the third floor served as a hangout space for many kids over the years,” said Jennifer.  “It was always a favorite spot for my kids and the neighborhood children as well.”

Jennifer now has three grandchildren: Wyatt, Madison and Ryan. The oldest is only 4, so they like to hang out with their toys on the screened-in front porch, where they also enjoy the old wooden porch swing.

As visitors exit the home through two sets of French sliding doors that open to the deck, they will see the pool to the right, a summertime favorite of family and friends.

For more information, call Gina Bury at 309-208-9568 or Harriet Szadkowski at 309-241-4479.