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Publish Date: 11/18/2005

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Al and Nancy Dworak open their home at 425 Longview Court for the annual Christmas Home Tour again, having featured the home in 1972. Times-Call/Erin McCracken

Homes for the holidays
40th tour revisits houses from early years

 LONGMONT — The annual Christmas Home Tour will celebrate its 40th year by revisiting three homes featured on the tour in the 1970s.

This annual event has raised thousands of dollars every year for both local and world charities, organizers said.

Local recipients have included the OUR Center, Meals on Wheels, Headstart-Longmont Children’s Council, Tiny Tim Developmental Preschool and Boulder County Partners.

The Christmas Home Tour originated in 1965 and was inspired by the Colorado Springs Christmas Home Tour.

Then, a budget of $25 per house for holiday decorations was allowed. Today, the decorations budget is about $3,000 per home, co-chairwoman Fran Wahl said.

“All the decorations used to be handmade and homemade, and as the years progressed, we began to buy them” from catalogues and wholesalers, she said.

This year, organizers viewed six homes before settling on the chosen three.

Wahl said the event organizers take recommendations and make a lot of phone calls to potential home tour selections before the final cut.

This year, organizers “wanted to stay away from newer homes to keep it traditional and to keep that history of the home tour,” she said. “The styles of the homes are very different, even though they’ve been on the home tour before.”

The collective theme for the home tour is “Forty Years, Then and Now,” with each home’s decorations inspired by a favorite holiday movie.

7609 W. St. Vrain Road,
featured in 1973

The 1910 farmhouse, owned by Scott and Kathy Bergren, originally was at Third Avenue and Terry Street.

The house was the parsonage for First Lutheran Church and was sold in 1969 to Scott Bergren’s parents, Robert and Helen, to make way for the church’s addition of an education wing on the condition that the couple move the house.

The house was placed on a truck and moved to its current location, land that first belonged to the Presbyterian Church and then was deeded to the school district in 1876.

This land was the site of the old Pella Schoolhouse.

The elder Bergren rebuilt the house, which was featured on the 1973 home tour with the theme “A Country Christmas,” according to a Daily Times-Call article.

Scott Bergren, then 15, was the oldest of four sons raised in the rescued farmhouse. He has owned the house since 1988.

His parents now live in South Dakota and are pleased the house has made an encore.

“The house is really kind of a family heirloom,” said Scott Bergren, who with his wife, Kathy, has raised three boys in his childhood home.

This year’s theme is “Homecoming at the Bergrens,” inspired by the 1971 television special “The Homecoming: A Christmas Story,” which spawned the popular series “The Waltons.”

425 Longview Court,
featured in 1972

Al and Nancy Dworak built their ranch-style home in 1971 and raised two sons there.

“It was considered a pretty big house in those days,” Al Dworak said. “Nowadays, it’s pretty moderate.”

In its time, though, the ranch house was “extremely modern” and was decorated with chrome hubs on the walls and a white Christmas tree.

The Dworaks’ taste for home decor has journeyed to the Southwest, with artwork from Santa Fe and local artists.

The house layout has changed, too, with the addition of a small dining room, a master suite, skylights, tile floors and maple cabinets.

“We no longer have the interior door painted orange or the orange shag carpet,” Al Dworak said. “It’s more traditional and Southwest-oriented.”

This year’s theme is “It’s a Wonderful Life at the Dworaks,” inspired by the 1946 holiday film classic with Jimmy Stewart.

353 Grant St.,
featured in 1976

This Old Town home, built in 1928, was described in a 1976 Daily Times-Call article as one of “those delightful and very livable homes of the middle years” of Longmont’s architecture.

Ed and Harriet “Pete” Dworak bought the home in 1953 and added a carved walnut mantel to the fireplace and, in 1975, a family room and new kitchen.

The house’s yard back then also featured a cast-iron Newfoundland dog nicknamed Joe.

Ed Dworak, who died in 1999, was the brother of Al Dworak, who moved Joe to his home at 425 Longview Court and set the statue in concrete.

“He’s a good pet — doesn’t eat much,” Al Dworak kidded.

In 1976, two months before the home’s debut, Harriet Dworak died suddenly of a heart attack. Her family decided to open the home in her honor.

The home’s theme that year was “Ringing in Christmas,” with an emphasis on bells.

The cottage is now owned by Rick and Cindy Hoge, who bought the home in 1981.

Cindy Hoge said the couple, who raised four children, fell in love with the house immediately.

“We just felt like a loving family lived here,” she said. “I remember opening the garage, and in crayon on the door was ‘Welcome Home Daddy.’”

The home’s theme this year is “A Miracle on Grant Street,” inspired by the 1947 film “Miracle on 34th Street.”

“I’ve always been the person in the family who does Christmas,” Cindy Hoge said. “The home is a comfortable place to be, especially at Christmas.”

If you go

What: The 40th Annual Christmas Home Tour

When: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 1 and 2

Tickets: $10 before the tour, available at the Daily Times-Call, Twin Peaks Mall Information Booth, First Congregational Church and UCC, and from church members

$15 each at the three tour homes. Tickets for children ages 10 and younger will also be available for $2.

One ticket per individual is good for admittance to all three homes.

More info: Call 303-776-4940. For group discount information, call 303-776-7589.

Other tours

What: Estes Park’s annual Christmas Home Tour

When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 3

Info: 970-586-8475

What: Boulder’s annual Historic Christmas Home Tour

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 3 and Dec. 4

Tickets: $15 in advance, $20 the days of the tours and $12 for Historic Boulder members. Discounted tickets available for groups of 20 or more.

Info: 303-440-5192.

Melanie M. Sidwell can be reached at 303-684-5274, or by e-mail atmsidwell@times-call.com.


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