Sunday, December 2, 2018 

Noon – 5 PM

Tickets: $25


The Holiday Tour of Homes begins at the Bureau County Metro Center, Shoemake Hall. Free transportation will be provided to each home.

While you're there, visit our vendor fair for unique gifts and enjoy complimentary hot cocoa and cookies. Admission to the vendor fair is free and is open for anyone who wishes to attend. 

You can purchase tickets at any of the following Princeton locations: Central Bank, Princeton Chamber of Commerce, First State Bank, Heartland Bank (main branch) or emailing Brenda Streit.


Home of Crane and Carolyn Schafer

Ballou Home

Judge Martin Ballou built the house at 609 E. Peru Street during 1860 and 1861. At the time, the grounds included land to the east and to the north. The land to the east was sold in 1878 to Judge Skinner, who built two homes on that property. The Ballou home was built in the Italianate and Gothic style known as upright and wing. Identifying features of the mixed style are a cross gabled roof, eave brackets, arched window surrounds, polygonal bay windows and ornamentation. At the time the house was built, it was considered fashionable to have closed wood stoves, so there were no open fireplaces in the house. Downstairs contains the living areas and the master wing. The kitchen was added on at a later date. The upstairs has 4 additional bedrooms. Ballou had the front yard landscaped with numerous evergreens, and the home became known as Evergreen Lodge. Two of the evergreens are still living.

Crane and Carolyn Schafer have lived in the house for over 35 years. 

Christmas traditions: Our Christmas tree is still decorated with all the handmade decorations that our children made over the years along with ornaments that were given to us. Each year, while decorating it, it's fun to remember when!

Christmas Memories: Stand out favorite memories are all the years heading out to find and cut down the tree and then, of course, Christmas day morning when the kids came downstairs. Another wonderful memory is when Christmas Eve was always the time to gather all the extended family each year. We had many wonderful years surrounded by family! 


Home of Howard and Pat Schou

Schou Home

Howard and Pat Schou are the original owners of their home at 1420 Deerfield Road. They selected the floor plan for their 1998 home from a house design magazine. The former Bureau County Sheriff, Greg Johnson, was the builder/contractor for the project. The Schou house is a 2,300 square foot, 3 bedroom ranch with a finished basement which offers a large family rec room, bedroom and full bathroom. What is interesting about their home is that many of the first floor rooms have different ceiling heights, and the great room in particular has a 14 foot vaulted ceiling and fire place. The master bedroom has a sitting room adjacent along with a large walk-in closet and dual shower and tub bathroom suite. Several years ago, they added a large deck and patio on the backside of the home that extends to a 40 foot in-ground pool. The house sits on 1.3 acres.

Christmas Traditions: We have champagne with raspberry juice when we open presents on Christmas morning. The raspberry juice is made from my raspberries I grew the previous summer. Also, we have a Christmas Eve party featuring Christmas foods and wines from around the world. Of course, young and old, everyone gets a Christmas stocking filled with fun, trivial little gifts. For Christmas dinner, I make traditional Norwegian buns my grandmother made as a young girl growing up in Norway.

Christmas Memories: Their oldest son Chad proposed to his wife one year on Christmas morning.


Bureau County Historical Society

Clark-Norris Home

The home was built in 1899-1900 by Sam and Ann Clark of Dover, Illinois. Dover is a small farming community five miles north of Princeton where Mr. Clark farmed and also bred championship horses and cattle. The Clarks moved into their new home two months after celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. It was a house that reflected their considerable wealth and was very modern at the time it was constructed. The house is built of buff-colored brick, has a slate roof, dormer windows and several small balconies. Its curved glass windows are complemented by a large, curved veranda which in 1971 was glassed in to accommodate some of the museum’s collections. The woods used throughout the house are oak, walnut and sycamore, and the floors are maple, oak and walnut. When the house was built, both gas and electric light fixtures were installed. The house was originally, and is still, heated by a hot water system. In 1915, the Clarks’ only living child, Grace Clark Norris, and her husband, Alfred, moved into the house to take care of her aging parents. The couple did not have children, and upon her death in 1946, Mrs. Norris bequeathed her home and many of its possessions to the Bureau County Historical Society.

Step back in time and visit the home of Sam and Ann Clark as they prepare for their Christmas holiday events. The Clark-Norris house will be decorated with Victorian Christmas decorations by Julia Cain from Flowers by Julia and a team of dedicated Bureau County Historical Society volunteers. The home will be decked with boughs of holly and the collection of beautiful ruby flash glass donated by Mary Dorsch in memory of her late husband, Dr. Richard Dorsch, who was a member of the Bureau County Historical Society Board of Directors. Historical characters will greet guests and provide them with a tour of the first level of the Clark-Norris house. A selection of Victorian Christmas music will also be enjoyed by guest.


Home of Rex and Ami Chamberlain

Hutchinson Home

The ranch-style brick home was built in 1965 by Dr. Harold and Mrs. Jeanne Hutchinson. The home was designed by the Chicago Architectural firm of Edward Burch. The unique design incorporated the residence and a complete dental office with exam rooms, lab, reception area, office and private entrance. Dr. Hutchinson practiced in the residence for over 29 years. Rex and Ami purchased the home in 2018.

Christmas Traditions: Christmas traditions are such a personal part of each family’s history. Here are a few of our special traditions. Each year we put up several Christmas trees. Large and small, they all have a special place in our holiday decorations. This year we will have a large Family Tree that is decorated with homemade ornaments and ornaments collected from travels; a small tree with over 6 dozen mini ornaments; a Snoopy tree complete with giant Snoopy standing guard; and a Shiny Brite ornament tree with ornaments from our mothers’ old collections. Collecting all these ornaments over the last 4 decades has been great fun! Our Christmas Eve tradition dates from my childhood when my family moved to Fresno, California in 1966. Being from the Midwest, my mother wanted to try something different for dinner and so our tradition of Tacos on Christmas Eve was born. Rex was at first skeptical, but now it is a hard and fast rule. (Margaritas might also make an appearance!) Another tradition, started by my mother, is baking several types of Christmas cookies throughout the month of December. This year we will make 10-12 types of cookies and candies. Old recipes are always included, but a few new ones are tried each year. Whittling down how many types to make is always the hardest part!

Christmas Memories: Christmas 2018 will be our 43rd Christmas together! We have scores of happy memories, with Christmases spent in many places; here are two of our favorites. In 1976, we spent our first Christmas together in London, England. Rex and I had finished a semester abroad in Salzburg, Austria and were traveling through Europe before returning to the States. We were on a tight budget and I noted in my journal that we found a quaint hotel that only cost 7 pounds per night which included breakfast! We spent the day walking along the Thames, eating dinner at the hotel, and watching old American movies on TV in the hotel lounge. A very memorable time! Ten years later, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama we were celebrating Christmas with our then 2 ½ year old daughter, Katie. Our favorite memory of that year was Christmas morning when she walked in the living room, saw the toys from Santa, stood there spellbound and said WHY? As the years go by, the memories get sweeter. Each year is a special part of a wonderful life together!


Home of Dan and Margaret Martinkus

Ferris Home

The home was built to reflect the Greek Revival style (1825-1860). Identifying features include a low pitched hipped roof, clapboard routed to simulate masonry, elaborate entry facing the east and eave brackets. Dentils and the full width porch with classical supports reflect an Italianate influence. The drip mold wood window surrounds reflect the Gothic Revival influence. The house was built in 1839 by Benjamin S. Ferris, a real estate investor and banker. After the turn of the century, this was the home of George C. and Amy W. (Ross) Matson. Mr. Matson farmed north of the city and was an Alderman of the 2nd ward.

Christmas Traditions: Our large 180 year old home lends itself to large and noisy gatherings. One of our trees reflects both our love of music, especially holiday music, and antiques. Also in the living room is our Dickens Village perched in a family cabinet. In our family room our tree is filled with ornaments from years of raising our three children and our travels. Recent years have added cherished ornaments of our beloved five grandsons, and Bittersweet, holly, dried Hydrangea and Chinese Lanterns harvested from our yard. In our hallway we've included a collection of sterling silver and crystal collections revisiting the lyrics of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Our final tree is located in our dining room where our Spode collection is located. This Christmas tree is blue and white, continuing a family tradition dating back to the early 1960's when Dan cut down and decorated a tree each year at his parents' home. The kitchen continues overhead with Spode ornaments collected throughout the years.  

Christmas Memories: Christmas has always been a special time for the Martinkus family. Continuing traditions, entertaining students and faculty while teaching at Princeton High School, and enjoying the Martinkus extended family through the years at our home is among our favorite memories.


All proceeds will be used to assist Perry Memorial Hospital with their mission to provide compassionate, quality health services to the people and communities they serve.