It’s November and that means it’s time for another Lakewood Home Tour. But this time it’s a special occasion as the neighborhood and its residents will be celebrating 40 years of the tour taking place.
The tour, put on by the Lakewood Early Childhood PTA, began in 1971 and benefits Lakewood Elementary in addition to J.L. Long Middle and Woodrow Wilson High. It’s also just one part of the Lakewood Home Festival weekend, which showcases homes in East Dallas.
This year’s theme is “Explore Lakewood” and it couldn’t be more on-point. Six homes will open their doors in order for the public to explore the rooms, appreciate the interior design and simply take in the unique architecture of the area.
Former Lakewood PTA president Cathey Hundley notes they had toyed around with the idea of having a home tour but it wasn’t until what she describes as a “pitiful children’s book fair” in 1976 that it was decided to turn that tour into reality.
Hundley wrote in an email that the first year they “were off like a herd of turtles” but managed to get five people to open their homes for the tour. The PTA members served as docents, each with a memorized script for the individual rooms, and even though Hundley adds many of them “didn’t know a Hutsell from a Dilbeck,” they pulled it off and ended up raising $200. The tradition has carried on ever since.
Gail Roden, who helped spearhead the tour, says while the annual event began as a means to raise money for Lakewood Elementary in the 70s, it’s become so much more. For the former Lakewood resident and PTA director of finance it’s a way to preserve a part of East Dallas’ history and inspire others to do the same.
“I think that’s what’s so unique about Lakewood, is the people try to keep their homes as much like they were when they were first built,” Roden says. “I think if it’s gone on this long I don’t know why it can’t keep going for another 40 years.”
The home tour takes place on Nov. 12 and 13.
For more information or to buy tickets visit the festival website here.
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