One of Charlotte’s oldest historic neighborhoods soon will welcome the public to its annual tour of homes.
The tour will be Sept. 21, 6 p.m.-9 p.m., and Sept. 22, 10 a.m.-4p.m.
The Dilworth Home Tour, a tradition since 1972, marks its 40th year in 2012. But the neighborhood dates back much longer. Businessman Edward Dilworth Latta started developing Dilworth in 1891, introducing an electric streetcar to the area, then about two miles from Charlotte, to attract people.
Dilworth Community Development Association, a volunteer organization of Dilworth residents, stages the tour. Funds raised go to several of its projects, including the fall Dilworth Jubilee, a neighborhood festival.
The philanthropic arm of DCDA, called Dilworth Cares, receives 20 percent of gross tour proceeds. Each year, Dilworth Cares selects a charity with ties to the Dilworth community to support. The focus agency this year is Charlotte Family Housing, a shelter-to-housing program that helps homeless families reach self-sufficiency.
“Charlotte Family Housing is thrilled to be teaming up with the Dilworth Community this year. To us, it is more than being financial recipients. It is about partnering to educate the community on the issue of family homelessness,” Jennifer Frey, a development associate at Charlotte Family Housing, said in an email.
It takes a couple of hundred volunteers to put on the annual Dilworth Home Tour. Geoff Owen is one of the volunteers. He is co-chair of this year’s tour, along with his wife, Missy. They live in Dilworth with their two children, ages 5 and 7.
Owen, 40, has lived in Dilworth since 2002.
“It’s an active community of people that care about the neighborhood, and it’s nice to be a part of that,” he said, summarizing what he likes best about the area.
Historical significance is one of the factors in determining which homes are included on the tour, Owen said. But it is not the only consideration.
Some homes are complete tear-downs and rebuilds that “reflect the changing neighborhood and the changing Charlotte,” he said.
Others are newly renovated, but preserve their history.
“It’s especially neat when you can get a house that has had a renovation but retained its original footprint,” Owen said. “That’s a big deal.”
Recruiting participating homeowners can be difficult.
“A lot of people just don’t think their house is worthy,” he said. He tells those owners: “People love to just come see an old Southern home.”
The tour this year will include nine homes.
Local florists provide flower arrangements appropriate to each home. Other Charlotte businesses also assist the tour through sponsorships and other support.
The tour’s signature home, built in the early 1900s, is at 428 East Kingston Avenue. By the 1970s, the home had fallen into disrepair, and its future was in peril. Now it has been remodeled, landscaped and restored to elegance.