Six Dover families again will open their homes to members of the public during the annual Candlelight Tour of Homes, planned for Thursday, Dec. 12.
Now in its 39th year, the Tour features six historic houses, all decorated for the Christmas season.
Joseph and Gail D'Urso will guide visitors through their 1910 home at 305 N. State St., the dwelling they purchased three years ago and where they plan to spend their retirement years.
It's an American Foursquare, a style that became popular in the 1890s as people began to revolt against the ornate Victorian homes that had been built over the prior decades, D'Urso said.
"My wife was looking for an older home," he said. "We liked the location and the fact that many of the original details were preserved. It's got the original cabinets in the kitchen and most of the interior woodwork is intact. It had all the things she was looking for."
Also preserved are the traditional wooden floors, pocket doors and transoms, D'Urso said.
The couple bought the house in 2010 and for the past several months have been doing renovation work and stocking the rooms with period furnishings.
The first floor layout is typical of the Foursquare concept, with a foyer, living and dining room and kitchen, D'Urso said. The upstairs had four bedrooms, but one has been renovated into a large bathroom. Each floor is approximately 1,200 square feet in size.
Foursquare homes also had a smaller, third floor, which in the D'Urso's case has been transformed into a study.
A few houses south, David Bonar and Patrician Patterson will invite visitors into their home at 218 N. State St. Like the D'Urso home, this property is part of the Victorian Dover Historic District, an area that was developed between the first quarter of the 19th century and the first quarter of the 20th century.
This will be the second time their home has been featured in the Candlelight Tour, Bonar said.
"This gives people an opportunity to see the old Victorian style of homes in Dover," he said. "I think all of us are proud of the Victorian heritage we have as part of our history."
The front portion of the home was constructed in 1884, with later additions, Bonar said. Although aluminum siding was installed in the 1950s, the original cedar siding still is intact beneath. It also features a porch that wraps along the side, a feature Bonar particularly likes.
"Those old-style porches were places where neighbors would sit outside and talk during the summertime," he said.
Other homes on the Candlelight Tour include those of Patricia Sherblom at 501 N. Bradford St., Gerald and Diane Street at 39 Hazel Road, Robert and Lynn Gold at 222 N. State St., and Robert Frazier and Frances Riddle at 127 N. State St.
The Frazier/Riddle home also is the tour's hospitality house, where tour guests can gather to enjoy the sound of the Chancel Choir from the Presbyterian Church in Dover. The choir will perform under Frazier's direction from 7 to 8 p.m. Holiday refreshments also will be provided.
A raffle for a painting and photo print by local artists along with several other prizes will be held at the hospitality house, and winners need not be present to win.
Advanced tour booklets are available for $15 and $20, and may be purchased in Dover at Bel Boutique, Beyond Dimensions Fine Art, Christopher & Banks, Forney's Too, Jen-Mor Florist, Some Guy's Bagels, Tea for Two, and Windswept Copy Center; in Camden-Wyoming at Delaware Bay Trading Company and Simply Charming; and in Smyrna at Kelly's Scissors, Sayers Jewelers & Gemologists and Heart of Smyrna.
Downtown Dover merchants will offer discounts on items bought in their stores from Thursday, Dec. 12 to Saturday, Dec. 14, for customers using the tour booklet as the discount ticket.
All proceeds will benefit special projects and programs for the students at the John S. Charlton and Kent County Community schools.