Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Home Tour proceeds exceed expectations

home tour crowds

Sponsor tents line the sidewalk along East Iliff Avenue for the May 2 University Park Home Tour outside University Park Elementary.

Food sales and more silent auctions items helped push University Park home tour proceeds over last year’s total, and organizers couldn’t be happier.

“We had about the same in attendance as last year — 900 — but more people bought baked goods and hot dogs,” says home tour chairwoman Kathleen Williams. “We made about $29,000. It was more than we expected, and we are very pleased.”

In 2009, the volunteer group netted about $27,000 for its annual fundraiser, which raises money for programs and personnel at University Park Elementary School.

“If we don’t do this home tour, we don’t have [paraprofessionals] in the classrooms and we don’t have a full-time [physical education] teacher,” Williams says.

This year the “mom-powered fundraising” came through very nicely, Williams says, though it wasn’t without a lot of effort from volunteers with plenty of other things on their plate. 

“It’s fun and worth the effort,” she says. “And I’m proud of our school and the work the committee did.” But it’s a lot of hours and effort “to raise money for things a school should already have” if educational funding were higher. Schools that don’t have hard-working [parent-teacher associations], she points out, “are truly in a bind.”

This year’s tour included five homes in University Park plus DU’s Chamberlin Observatory. The weather was chilly and occasional sprinkles fell, but neither was enough to keep patrons from donning blue booties and traipsing through properties. Among these was a totally renovated 4,371-square-foot Prairie-style property, a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired design that emphasizes low horizontal lines and open space.

Another home was the Georgian Revival style home formerly owned by Myron and Shirley Neusteter, whose Neusteter’s Department Store was an important fixture of Denver’s downtown for decades. Prior to the Neusteters, the property was owned by Humphrey Owen (BA ’14; MA ’15), professor emeritus of biological sciences at DU and a faculty member for 24 years.

Other properties on the tour included a 104-year-old Denver Square and two bungalows, one a 100-year-old Craftsman style.

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