West side hiatus
Home tours on hold
by Grace Shackman
For the first time since 1973, there will be no Old West Side Homes Tour this month. The tour of six homes and one business normally draws visitors from all over southeast Michigan, curious to see how old houses can be made livable in a historic neighborhood.
Owners are usually flattered to be asked to have their home included on the tour. But Old West Side Association president Christine Brummer says that this year, when it came time to make a firm commitment, more than usual said they weren't ready.
Brummer has a couple of theories about why that is--all of them related to the recent real estate crash. Many featured homes are ones that were bought and renovated fairly recently--but during the downturn fewer people put their houses up for sale. Though the market came roaring back in the last year, many new owners aren't yet ready to show off their places, Brummer says: "They are engaged in furnishing homes and settling in."
The good news is that the home tour committee is committed to reviving the tour next year--and most of the owners who said no have expressed a willingness to participate. Anyone with a suggestion for a house to feature--or who wants to help on the committee--can email them at OWSHT@umich.edu.
[Originally published in September, 2013.]