Stately Mansions: Historic Tyler on Tour event kicks off today

Published on Friday, 28 March 2014 16:04 - Written by

By Kelly Gooch, kgooch@tylerpaper.com

Various homes and buildings designed by the late architect Shirley Simons Sr. will be showcased starting Saturday during the Historic Tyler on Tour event, an organizer said.

The event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 29 and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 30.

Homes on the tour are the Pollard-Ellis House, 801 Troup Highway circa 1935; the Wise-Young House, 2001 S. Chilton Ave. circa 1937; the Witherup-Pyron House, 212 W. Dobbs St. circa 1932; St. Gregory Cathedral School, 500 S. College Ave. circa 1946; the Tyler Woman’s Building, 911 S. Broadway Ave. circa 1932; and the Craft-Smith House, 1613 Delano Road circa 1940.

Ginger Haberle, executive director of Historic Tyler, Inc., said Simons designed all of the homes and buildings on the tour, and round windows were a trademark of Simons.

“He came here pre-war in the ’20s, when they were just developing Tyler. He really had a big hand in shaping the (city’s) landscape,” she said.

According to information from Historic Tyler, Simons’ projects not on the tour include Tyler City Hall; the U.S. Federal Courthouse on West Ferguson Street; Marvin United Methodist Chapel and sanctuary remodel on West Erwin Street; Mother Frances Hospital on East Dawson Street; East Texas Medical Center on South Beckham Avenue; Tyler Junior College Jenkins Hall; and Willowbrook Country Club.

His projects outside of Tyler include the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, projects in Austin, the Angelina Hotel in Lufkin and the San Augustine Courthouse, Ms. Haberle said.

Aside from the day tours, a Candlelight Tour and Party is scheduled for 7 to 11 p.m. today at another one of Simons’ projects, the Grelling-Spence-Bertram House, 418 W. 8th St, Ms. Haberle said. Tours of the home are available from 7 to 9 p.m., and the outdoor party, featuring food, beer and wine and music, is slated for 7:30 to 11 p.m.

Ms. Haberle described it as a fun party where guests can mingle. Dress is “casual chic.”

She said the Candlelight Tour and Party is by reservation only. Reservations for the Candlelight Tour and Party are $100 for non-Historic Tyler members and $75 for members. They are $110 at the door.

Tickets for the day tours are available at Sweet Gourmet, The Potpourri House, the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce and at the door. Ms. Haberle said tickets also are available during tour hours in a tent at Bergfeld Park. They are $20.

Ms. Haberle said Mary John Spence is the presenting partner for the Historic Tyler On Tour event, which serves as the primary fundraiser for Historic Tyler. She said the monies are used to supply grants and do preservation projects in Tyler, “to make sure were preserving historic homes and buildings here.” She also noted that Simons’ grandson is on the Historic Tyler board.

To make a reservation for the Candlelight Tour and Party, call 903-595-1960.