People can learn more about some of Idaho Falls' historic homes this holiday season, thanks to a local woman with a passion for the subject.
Twelve homes, built from the early 1900s to the 1940s and most of them still occupied, will open up to visitors for the Historic Homes for the Holidays tour. Many of them are clustered in the area around South Boulevard, Ridge Avenue and the numbered streets; one is in Iona and the rest are in Idaho Falls.
Rebecca Long Pyper, who organized the tour, said historic homes are a lifelong passion of hers. She bought a house on South Boulevard in 2012 which she has been fixing up since then.
Many people, Pyper said, believe you've made it if you can build a new house.
“One of the things that I’m really interested in promoting through this tour is, it doesn’t have to be new to be beautiful,” she said.
Old houses, Pyper said, have a character you can’t always get with new construction. Even something like the trees — you’re not going to get 80-year-old trees on a new property. And they have history. You might meet the family whose parents or grandparents lived there and hear stories about their lives there, or what they did on holidays.
“One of the things I love the very most is, historic homes tell a story,” she said. “Generations of families have lived in those houses.”
The tour will run from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 7 and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Dec. 8. Tickets are $10; children ages 4 and younger are free. People can buy tickets at Pyper's website, boulevardwestblog.com, or in advance at RE/MAX Prestige, 1684 Elk Creek Drive. You can also buy tickets at The Barn on First, at 3934 First St., during the tour. All proceeds will be donated to Promise Ridge, a shelter for homeless families located in an old mansion on North Ridge Avenue.
The houses run the gamut as far as architectural styles and sizes. Pyper said she picked some smaller old homes intentionally, rather than only mansions.
“I don’t think you need a big house to be very happy,” she said.