“Since it’s our 40th year we got the biggest group of houses we’ve ever had on the tour,” said Pat Rodgers, Home Tour Committee Chair and Board of Directors Chair. “We’ve got six homes, a historic church and three historic houses at Chestnut Square decorated for the holidays.”
It was November 1973 when Joan Palmer Hughston organized a small group of women to preserve a sample of McKinney’s heritage. In attendance at that first meeting were Joan’s mother-in-law Margaret Hughston, Martha Schubert, Frances Caldwell, Nan Dyer, Irene Hay Thomas, Frieda Comegys, Lucy Burkett and Ethel Holt. Their first project was to host a Christmas Tour of Homes.
The financial reward from that first tour went toward the purchase the Dulaney House and Cottage. These houses and the grounds became the foundation for Chestnut Square Historic Village.
“The annual Holiday Tour of Homes is our key fundraiser,” said Cindy Johnson, Executive Director of The Heritage Guild of Collin County. “The money raised through the annual tour goes toward routine maintenance and operating costs such as insurance and utilities for Chestnut Square.”
But the annual tour is about more than fundraising. Generations of North Texans have attended the tour, many falling in love with McKinney and returning to shop, dine and attend events. Many homeowners in McKinney’s Historic District cite their first Holiday Home Tour as they reason they moved to McKinney.
“I think our founders would be so pleased that the Holiday Tour of Homes tradition has continued,” Johnson said. “The Heritage Guild was instrumental in setting standards for McKinney’s Historic District. I’m sure they would be delighted to see how far the Historic District and downtown McKinney have come.”
Today, just as it was 40 years ago, the Holiday Tour of Homes is a grass roots effort and it couldn’t happen without the ongoing support of the McKinney Historic District homeowners and the hundreds of volunteers who dedicate their homes and their time to making the weekend a joy for thousands of people from throughout North Texas.
“We owe the homeowners that participate each year SO much. It’s a huge effort to prepare a home for visitors all weekend long,” Rodgers said.
This year to celebrate our 40th anniversary, The Heritage Guild of Collin County will offer brunch and lunch teas with carolers in the Dulaney House at Chestnut Square.
Tickets for the Home Tour and the brunches are available atwww.chestnutsquare.org, by calling 972-562-8790 or at any of the following ticket outlets: Little Red Hen, McKinney Performing Arts Center, Uptown, The Antique House, Smitten Flea, Diggin’ It and Market Street on McKinney’s west side. Tickets to the tour are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Tea tickets are $15.