Go on the Butchers Hill House Tour this weekend and you might just decide to buy a house there.
That’s what happened to Sue Noonan, who is now co-chair of the annual tour.
“We came on the tour in ’87, bought a house, and the next year we were on the tour,” she said.
According to Noonan, she’s not the only current Butchers Hill resident who ended up in the neighborhood that way. Once they get introduced to the neighborhood, people usually find something they like, she said.
“People are here for all different reasons,” she said. “Usually its proximity to the park and the friendly neighborhood.”
The friendliness will be on full display for the self-guided tour of nine houses this Sunday, Oct. 14, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are available the day of the tour at the white house in Patterson Park at the Lombard St. entrance, near the Pagoda. To buy tickets in advance, visit www.butchershill.org.
The houses on the tour will showcase the diverse interiors in a neighborhood where the houses look very similar from the outside.
“Some are elegant; some are just cozy,” Noonan said. “You get all different ideas for decorating, and some people are even doing their own renovations.”
The most important criteria for getting your house on the tour? Being enthusiastic about opening your home to neighbors and visitors.
“[The House Tour] has kind of changed in purpose,” Noonan said, “but it’s still dependent on people being willing to open their homes.”
Though the tour still convinces folks to move to Butchers Hill, that aspect of it was more overt back when it was started, 30 years and change ago.
“It was really started in the late 70s or early 80s by a group of people who had worked hard on beautifying the neighborhood and wanted other people to see how nice it was,” said Noonan. “They wanted to encourage people to come and live in Butchers Hill.”
The strategy worked.
“We bought our house in ’81 because of stumbling on the House Tour,” said Carolyn Boitnott, who now lives on the 2100 block of Baltimore St. “That’s how we sort of discovered the neighborhood.”
Boitnott’s husband worked then and works now for Johns Hopkins Hospital, and the couple had been looking at houses in the city “just for fun.”
Butchers Hill won them over with “the proximity to Johns Hopkins, the proximity to [Patterson Park], and just the wonderful architecture of the buildings,” Boitnott said.
“There was a lot of nice—fairly simple, but nice—Victorian woodwork and details,” Boitnott elaborated.
Visitors on this year’s tour will be entered in a raffle to win a handmade afghan depicting the Patterson Park Pagoda, made by Butchers Hill artist Martha Simons, www.stelladogcreations.com.
by Erik Zygmont