Little journeys to the homes of Chautauquans

Click here for an interactive Google map of the House Tour.

Compiled by Beverly Hazen | Staff Writer

Today is the “Little Journeys to the Homes of Chautauquans,” the popular House Tour sponsored by the Bird, Tree & Garden Club at Chautauqua.

“Once again it is a wonderful sellout,” BTG President Norman Karp said. “The House Tour provides pleasure for all the people who go on the House Tour. An important factor is that it provides the funds for the BTG programming and replacement of trees and garden support,” he said.

Karp said that when a tree is taken down, a new one is put in, and the BTG provides thousands of dollars for tree replacement. Funds are also used to support approximately 70 BTG programs in a Chautauqua season.

House Tour Features

  • The admission ticket to the House Tour is the House Tour pamphlet. All tickets have been sold prior to today.
  • The Thursday Morning Brass Band will be featured at the President’s Cottage.
  • Cookies and drinks will be available under a tent near the Bell Tower.
  • No photography, eating, drinking or smoking is permitted in the homes.
  • Homes can be viewed in any order from noon until 5 p.m.
  • This is a walking tour. Buses and trams are free to use.
  • Shoe coverings will be provided for homes where required.

Sunnypointe (2010)

64 Crescent
Nancy and Jeff Leininger

Owners of the former “Doll House” featured on the 2006 House Tour have a new home that includes many of the furnishings from their former home, including the doll collection. Sunnypointe is built in the Queen Anne Victorian style with decorative cornice finishes and an entry with asymmetrical side porches centered on the gateway brick walk through the Garden District.

The Gorelick Cottage (2006)

58 Scott Avenue
Cheryl Opacinch Gorelick

This house is designed with a spacious 12-foot wide porch for Chautauqua living and a southern-style feature of front and rear doors in a line upon entering. High-beamed ceilings and an outsized fireplace further enhance the sense of openness. Hidden pocket doors convert a den and powder room to a handicapped accessible suite. A garden and fountain create a setting for listening to the music from McKnight Hall.

The White House on Maple (1959)

24 Maple Avenue
Nancy and Dick Langston

This year-round Cape Cod style home, originally built by June and Bob Osburn, was enlarged in 1975. In November of 2010 Nancy and Dick Langston purchased the house and renovated it to make the first floor more spacious. A collection of blue and white porcelain accents the living room walls, with many of the furnishings being French antiques. A play and sleep area for their grandchildren has been created in the space over the garage.

The Greenhouse Home

70 Pratt Avenue
Kathleen and Don Greenhouse

This ’50s style home, purchased in 2003 and renovated in 2005, reveals an open and modern structure. A master bedroom has been added to the ground floor and a guest apartment has been added by extending the full basement. Low-maintenance landscaping provides privacy from the road, without blocking views from the interior of the house. An attached porch at the back is sheltered by original evergreens.

The James Cottage (1905)

18 Wiley
Angela and Bill James

Originally built as a three-story residence, this home has undergone renovations that include the addition of porches on three stories, each with its own purpose. The home was lifted and a lower level added to provide guest room accommodations. Much of the art on display has been purchased from Chautauqua student art shows. There are four sculpture replicas of the Miller Bell Tower from a recent show of decorative interpretations of this favorite historic landmark.

The President’s Cottage and Gardens (1985)

55 North Lake Drive
Jane and Tom Becker

This home is an amalgamation of styles, with the heaviest influence being Eastlake, based on principles of simplicity, honesty and propriety. The solid forms and gables address the need for public functions of the Institution, with wide porches and easy flow throughout the main floor. Furnishings include period oak pieces and chair backs stamped with “Assembly.” Attractive gardens surround the house with the green terrain of University Park nearby and sweeping views of the lake.

The Cornell Cottage (1901)

49 North Lake Drive
Chloe and Bill Cornell

In 1969 Robert Cornell, father of the current owner, purchased this eclectic style house; the house was updated in the early 1970s. Paired, square columns flank the center stairway entrance to the porch and round, smooth columns support the ends. Walls and doorways strategically placed act as a sound buffer between the dining room and kitchen. A fireplace mantle and etched glass panels that had been removed were restored to their original prominence in 1997.

The Miller Bell Tower (1911)

Fair Point near Miller Park

A landmark on the Chautauqua grounds, the Bell Tower was constructed for the 1911 season and dedicated that August on Old First Night, the yearly celebration of the anniversary of the first Chautauqua Assembly. Below the belfry on the four sides of the tower are clock dials with a light at each hour point. The 14 Westminster Chimes toll the time daily every 15 minutes from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Chimemaster, Carolyn Benton will greet House Tour visitors.

Park Place (1879)

14 Miller Park
Jennifer and John Haughton

This wooden tent cottage was built on a lot leased at the start of the Assembly, purchased by the Haughtons’ in 2009 and renovated in 2010. A first floor outside wall held a copy of an 1879 Chautauqua text, Bible Studies for Little People. Original wavy glass windows were restored with new frames; the living room floor is wide pine flooring. Inside walls were one board thick. Updates, using tongue and groove paneling, maintain the look.

Unitarian Universalist House at Chautauqua (circa 1890)

6 Bliss Avenue

One of the original tent platform properties, this carpenter gothic farmhouse-style cottage was built to replace the tent. It is thought to have been built in the 1890s and is now a denominational house that has undergone renovations. It is a seven-bedroom facility with a handicap accessible bedroom and bath. Two Peace Poles grace the property — one in English, Chinese, Spanish and animal-paw prints and the other in Braille, Seneca, English, Hebrew and Arabic.

The Thawley Cottage (1876)

22 Vincent (Brick Walk)
Sharon Thawley

This historic cottage on Lot 339 was signed on a 100-year lease during the Chautauqua Lake Sunday School Assembly days and was built as a rooming house. Purchased by the Thawley family in 2005, it underwent renovations and was rebuilt on the same footprint. This Carpenter Vernacular cottage displays board and batten construction. It hosts family heirlooms including birdhouses, Ohio pottery vases and an antique crystal candlestick collection.

The Georgescu Cottage (1901)

35 Ramble
Barbara Anne Georgescu

This location, listed as Chautauqua Sunday School Assembly Lot 776, was signed on a 99-year lease in 1891 and changed from the tent platform to a cottage in 1901. The current owner purchased the cottage in 2009. Renovations, including moving the porch and front entrance façade from Palestine to Ramble, maintain the original square footage and footprint. Art pieces from New York City and the Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution fundraiser adorn the interior.