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Upcoming Events

Date and Time Details
March 15, 2018
6-7:30 pm

Wesley United ChurchFREE Event
Presentation by Todd Bugg
Where: Wesley United Methodist Church (east door), 502 E Front, Bloomington

In this presentation, we explore the architecture of Bloomington-Normal during this Mid-Century period, beginning in 1950 to around 1975. We discuss the changes that led to the design ethos of the time, and look at the public buildings -- churches, schools, and building -- which grew in one community in Mid-Century America.

April 21, 2018
11:15 a.m.

dana thomas houseOld house fans love the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, and we have a fantastic example of his work just south of us in Springfield: the Dana-Thomas House. OHS has booked a group tour of this landmark for Saturday, April 21 at 11:1 5am. The tour lasts an hour and the suggested donation is $10 per person.

If you would like to join us on this tour, please email [email protected] so we may provide an accurate count of how many will be in attendance. We may be able to facilitate carpooling for those driving over, so if you would like to rideshare, please indicate your desire to do so in your reservation email and we will connect all interested parties.

Previous Events

Date and Time Details
February 8, 2017
5:30 p.m.

living word churchAnnouncing a change of venue! The Old House Society Annual Meeting will be on February 8 at 5:30 at the Living Word Ministry at 411 E. Mulberry Street. Designed by Arthur L. Pillsbury, this church was built as the Second Christian Church in 1902. The church features a stately double entry, beautiful stained and painted glass throughout and an unusual hexagonal sanctuary, including the pipe organ (defunct).

Susan Hartzold of the McLean County Museum of History will speak at this meeting on the architecture of Arthur L. Pillsbury, one of Bloomington’s preeminent architects.

Join us at 5:30 for the lecture and election of officers. This meeting is open to the public. Take this opportunity  to become a member of OHS and invest in the future of historic preservation in McLean County.
December 7, 2017
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

holiday partyPerhaps you are one of the many who took part in the annual Evergreen Cemetery Walk in October.

If so, you met husband and wife Carl and Julia Scott Vrooman, one of Bloomington’s earliest “power couples.” If you would like to learn more about them and how they lived, now is your chance.

The Old House Society is hosting its annual holiday party in their former residence, the historic Vrooman Mansion Bed & Breakfast Inn. The current owners decorate the home lavishly for the holiday season, which must be seen to be truly appreciated. You will be able to tour the home while partaking in delicious appetizers and holiday cheer while mingling with others who treasure magnificent older homes in our community.

Julia’s father and mother, Matthew and Julia Scott, purchased this 1869 original 17 room home in 1873, and in 1900 noted local architect Arthur Pillsbury added an astounding 18 room addition for the Scotts. One of their daughters, Julia Scott, and her husband Carl Vrooman, who met on the French Riviera, continued living in the home for almost 70 years.

So, please join us for this festive event, and remember, you do not have to own an old house to come and enjoy one of the best ones our town has to offer.

November 2, 2017
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
OHS social and holiday gift DIY instructional
Where: 601 South Mercer Avenue, Bloomington

Please join the Old House Society for a social in a beautiful old home, along with a DIY instructional on how to make wine stoppers from antique doorknobs.

This beautiful home was built in 1939 by Mr. Dell Deems and was the former residence of Mr. Loring Merwin, the publisher of The Pantagraph. The current owner, Janie Frank, bought the home in 2005. Janie has renovated and expanded the home, all the while maintaining the architectural integrity of the front facade. Janie has furnished the home beautifully, and the spacious back yard is a must see.

Please join us for appetizers and refreshments, while touring the home and learning how to create wine stoppers from antique doorknobs (great holiday/hostess gifts!). Free for OHS members, suggested $10 donation at the door for non-members. Membership forms will be available at the event, or join in advance online at http://www.oldhousesociety.org/join.

Parking is available on Castle Drive, south of the house, or in the circular drive in front of the home.

September 29, 2017
6 pm to 7:45 pm.

Please join The Old House Society for an evening of architecture and fashion at the Ewing Manor! Architect Matt Reed and his wife Fashion Design Associate Professor Elisabeth Reed will present a talk on trends in fashion and architecture over the years. The lecture, "Fast Fashion and Cookie Cutter Homes," will compare the relationship between craftsmanship in clothing to craftsmanship in homes, and how society is trending back towards simplicity and sustainability.

Vintage clothing pieces from the collection of Hazle Buck Ewing will be on display during and after the lecture. Guests may tour the Manor after the lecture, where docents will be available to answer questions about the home and family.

This is a free event, open to the public. Parking is available south of Ewing Manor at St. John's Lutheran Church (1617 Emerson Street, Bloomington). Signs will be present to direct you to the entrance.

June 10, 2017
10am - 4pm

The OHS Annual Tour of Homes is just around the corner!! OHS is excited to announce the focus of the 2017 tour -- The West Side of Bloomington. The West Side was part of the earliest development of Bloomington and home to some of our most colorful citizens. The West Side was home to industry and leisure. From raucous beer gardens to the grit and grime of the coal mines, the West Side was an exciting place to live.

Old House Society is partnering with the West Bloomington Revitalization Project​ and the McLean County Museum of History to present this tour. Bill Kemp and Mike Matejka, two well known historians, will lead a walk on the West Side that explores the neighborhoods and industry.

February 16, 2017
5:30 - 7:30 pm

vrooman mansionMember Meeting
Vrooman Mansion, 701 E Taylor, Bloomington, IL
Please join us for appetizers, wine and soft drinks at the beautiful Vrooman Mansion. We will have board elections and other organizational business followed by a talk from Mike Matejka, local historian and labor organizer with a focus on Bloomington's Historic West Side!

This meeting is open to the public. Anyone who is interested in the Old House Society and the Architectural Salvage Warehouse should attend!

December 7, 2016
5:30 to 7:30pm

What: Old House Society Holiday Party!!
Who: Members and friends and those who are interested in learning more about OHS
Where: Broadview Mansion at 1301 S. Fell in Normal
Cost: Free

The Mansion will be decorated beautifully for Christmas. Bring a friend and enjoy appetizers and beverages while touring this beautiful estate. A host will be on site to provide tours, provide a history of the home, and answer questions.

Built in 1906, this stately Edwardian Style Arts and Crafts Home is on the corner of South Fell and Highland Avenue in Normal, Illinois. The home was named 'Broadview' by its original owners, Bird and Margaret Van Leer, due to the 'broad view' they had of Normal at the time the home was built. Back then, the home sat on one of the tallest points of the town, and the homes around Broadview were not yet built. Thus the Van Leers looked out upon much land with few trees.

Today, the trees have grown, creating a park-like environment. Broadview Mansion and its nearly 4 acres of land is nestled amongst a historic neighborhood. The home is now the location of the Van Leer Academy of Music and Art.

September 23, 2016
5:30-7:30 pm

Follow the red brick road to 903 East Jefferson Street in Bloomington to enjoy wine and appetizers while touring this lovely home. This Grand 1903 Victorian is an old house lover's dream with a fabulous front porch, original woodwork, pocket doors, and some modern updates. The home is located in the Historic Davis Addition near the David Davis Mansion and Constitution Trail.

Beverages and light hors d'oeuvres will be provided, and every attendee will be eligible to win a raffled $25 La Gondola gift certificate. All proceeds will benefit Old House Society's Warehouse operations and Residential Grant Program.

  • $8 at the door for OHS members
  • $10 at the door for non-members*

*Membership forms will be available at the event if you'd like to join OHS that evening. Thanks for supporting Old House Society!!!

August 5, 2016
5:30 to 7:30 pm

highlandGrab a friend and come check out this beautiful stucco home at 308 Highland in Normal on Friday, August 5th from 5:30 to 7:30pm. Looking out towards Broadview Mansion by the Cedar Crest historic district, this 1908 home with wraparound porch is a great place to unwind for a light social at the end of the week.

Beverages and light hors d'oeuvres will be provided, and every attendee will be eligible to win a raffled $25 LaGondola gift certificate. All proceeds will benefit the Old House Society's Warehouse operations and Residential Grant Program. $8 at the door for OHS members, $10 for non-members (membership forms will be available at the event if you'd like to join OHS that evening).

June 11, 2016
10 am to 4 pm

2016 TourHave you ever been in a home that was built in 1857? Or climbed a servant staircase, or peered through wavy glass? The Old House Society is planning its 2016 Tour of Homes, and this year we are concentrating our efforts on the beautiful homes of “Early Bloomington” on East Jefferson, East Washington, and Kreitzer Avenue. The tour will take place on Saturday, June 11 from 10 am to 4 pm.

Tickets are $15 and will be on sale in May at several locations around town, including Schnucks (in Bloomington and Normal), The Garlic Press, A.B. Hatchery, Casey’s Garden Shop, and the Old House Society Warehouse (214 East Douglas Street). We will be capping our ticket sales at 1,000 this year, so they will be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Lunches will be available for purchase, so bring a friend and make a day of it. Proceeds help support our residential grant program and fund our salvage and warehouse operations. Thank you for supporting Old House Society!!!

Feb. 26, 2016
starting at 5:30 pm

Mark your calendar for a social event with an educational twist on Friday, February 26th. The Old House Society is partnering with the Area Arts Round Table (both organizations are local not-for-profits) for an evening that starts with food and drinks at the gallery of local artist Herb Eaton, followed by a history lecture given there by Bill Kemp (author and librarian/archivist for the McLean County Museum of History).

The topic of the lecture and slide presentation will be "The Development, Boom Years, Decline, and Rebirth of a Downtown Block". The gallery itself is a beautifully renovated building with lots of architectural character and great stories. The social/gallery event starts at 5:30 pm and the lecture starts at 6:45 pm. This event is open to the public, so grab a friend and wind down the week with some food for stomach, brain, and thought. Suggested donation of $12 at the door

December 1, 2015
5-7:30 pm
VroomanKick off the upcoming winter season at a holiday party with the Old House Society! This year we'll be socializing at Vrooman Mansion, which will be in full decor for the holidays. Complimentary food and beverages will be served. You may ask, "Why are we at Vrooman for the holidays instead of there in February for the annual lecture event?".
This year we're moving our special educational event to a different historic location. An announcement will be made at the holiday party revealing our February event location and presentation topic (Bill Kemp from the McLean County Museum of History will again be our featured speaker). Join us at Vrooman and be the first to hear the news!
November 20, 2015
5:30-7 pm
east groveThe Old House Society badly wanted to feature this house for our Tour of Homes this summer. We couldn’t make it happen due to some transition in ownership, but guess what? IT WILL BE OPEN FOR AN OHS SOCIAL EVENT!!! AND YOU’RE INVITED!!!
Join us on Friday, Nov. 20, from 5:30-7pm, to see one of the grandest homes on East Grove Street. This brick 5 bedroom home at 1116 E. Grove Street has beautiful crown molding and trim, stained glass windows, 4 fireplaces, and so much more. Bring a friend and come stroll through this 1907 piece of history.
Beverages and appetizers will be served, with a $10 suggested donation at the door on the evening of the event. All proceeds benefit the Old House Society, to fund our Residential Grant Program and Architectural Salvage Warehouse operations.
September 18, 2015
5-7 pm

It's time for an Old House Society “Wine and Cheese” Event! Grab a friend and unwind with a few glasses of wine, great appetizers, and a tour of a fabulous 1896 Victorian home. If you like stained glass and beautiful woodwork, 404 W. Seminary Ave. in Bloomington will appeal to your “old house” senses.
This event will be held on Friday, Sept. 18 from 5- 7 p.m., with a $10 donation benefiting the Old House Society payable at the door. All “Wine and Cheese” guests will be entered into a raffle for a $25 gift certificate to Beningo’s Italian Restaurant (need not remain present the whole time to win).

June 13, 2015
10 am to 4 pm
house tourThe Old House Society's 2015 Annual Tour of Homes is scheduled for Saturday, June 13. This year the tour will include several historic houses on East Grove Street in addition to a garden, two businesses, and a bonus house on Washington Street. Addtional information and ticket locations can be found by clicking here.
June 14, 2014
10 am to 4pm.
house tourThe Old House Society's Annual Tour of Homes is set for Saturday, June, 14 , from 10 am to 4pm. This year's featured area is the North Normal Historic Neighborhood, which boasts more than 30 different architectural styles. Our tour features a Pillsbury home designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, a home ordered from the Sears catalog, a house built in 1869, and four others that each have something that will make you go, "Hmmmm...".
August 9, 2012
5-7 p.m.

open houseAnnouncing the return of an OHS favorite!!!
Join us every Second Thursday (except December and June) for an open house. Watch the website each month for more info. Come tour this magnificent purple and lavender queen at 1104 E. Jefferson in Bloomington. She’s a past recipient of the Old House Society Gift to the Street Award. Please RSVP before midnight Aug. 7 for our inaugural open house by calling 309-820-0548. Cost is $10 per person, payable at the door.

June 9, 2012
10 a.m. - 4 pm.
cedar crestHouse Tour: On Broadway
How many times have we all travelled this beautiful street, usually in a hurry these days, going to or coming from Normal, without ever really taking note of the wonderful homes that line entire sections of the boulevard? Well, now we can all enjoy some of these magnificent homes, up close and personal, so to speak, on Saturday, June 9th, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., as The Old House Society once again prepares for its annual tour of homes.
June 11, 2011
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
2011 tourOHS House Tour 2011
Our focus this year is on the White Place Historical District, including parts of Fell St, and Clinton Blvd. Tickets are on sale for $10.00 at the following locations: Casey’s Garden Shop, Garlic Press, Both Schnuck’s Bloomington / Normal, Country Gingham, Bill’s Key & Lock, David Davis Mansion Gift Shop, and the Old House Society’s warehouse at 214 E. Douglas St, On the day of the tour the ticket price will be $15.00 at either the warehouse or the information booth in Fell Park.
June 19, 2010
11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
House Tour: ‘The Houses of Wesleyan’
The Old House Society is hosting its annual house tour. Help us celebrate our 30th anniversary by attending this very special event, ‘The Houses of Wesleyan.’ Enjoy this step back in time as you get to view Kemp Hall, Adams Hall, English House and Blackstock, with a nostalgic walk down memory lane. This is a rare opportunity to see inside these historic homes from our past.
October 3, 2009
5 to 7 p.m.
Behr HomeThe Behr Home Open House
The Behr Home at 611 N. Lee St. will be open on October 3 2009 from 5 to 7PM for a social. Wine and hors d’ oeuvres will be served. Email or call Mike Ryburn to make your reservation now. Tickets are $10.00 each to benefit the Old House Society. The tour is limited to only 50 people and is on a first come first serve basis.
December 7, 2008
5-7 p.m.
elterich Elterich and Schmidt Open House
Join us for an open house at the home of John Elterich and Karen Schmidt. Cost is $10 per person and reservations are required. RSVP on or before November 22 by calling 309-820-0548 or email [email protected].
November 9, 2008
5-7 p.m.
osullivanO’Sullivan Open House
Join us for an open house at the home of Patrick and Ana O’Sullivan. Cost is $10 per person and reservations are required. RSVP on or before November 5 by calling 309-820-0548 or emai l[email protected].
October 12, 2008
5-7 p.m.
gillGill Open House
Join us for an open house at the home of John and Virginia Gill. Cost is $10 per person and reservations are required. RSVP on or before September 28 by calling 309-820-0548 or email [email protected].
September 21, 2008
6-8 p.m.
mcclureFranklin Open House
Join us for an open house at the home of Sarah McClure Franklin. Cost is $10 per person and reservations are required. RSVP on or before September 7 by calling 309-820-0548 ormail [email protected].
July 26, 2008
5-7 p.m.
roseDavis Rose Inn Bed & Breakfast Open House
Join us for an open house at the Davis Rose Inn Bed & Breakfast. Cost is $10 per person and reservations are required. There will also be a silent auction. RSVP on or before July 18 by calling 309-820-0548. Email Sandy Watt at [email protected] with questions or for more information.