Get out your walking shoes, pump up your bike tires, warm up your computer and get ready for the 19th season of one of Springfield’s most anticipated warm-weather traditions – the Summer Tour Series.
The Westcott House for Architecture and Design has planned a range of specialized tours that combine fun and education on places that make the area special with an emphasis on architecture, design and history. Walking, bike, youth, happy hour and even virtual tours are on the schedule.
Series program director and frequent tour guide Kevin Rose is thrilled to have the series back to pre-pandemic form after abbreviated seasons in 2021 and 2022.
“It feels really good to be back in that grove. Our series is always shifting, and we’re really excited with where it’s going starting this year,” he said.
One of the things Rose stresses is the tours themselves are based on years of research, of digging into archives and doing countless interviews to tell the most accurate stories and bring the most accurate scope to what is presented.
One highlight of the 2023 season is having virtual tours along with live ones. Rose said it helps on several levels, including involving former Springfield residents wanting to reconnect with the area. Another is it reaches those who can’t get out physically or due to the summer heat or other factors.
“The virtual tours are around 45 minutes and are very focused,” he said. “We see doing more of these going forward.”
Rose also notes a new tour came out of a neighborhood reaching out, resulting in the Rodgers Place walking tour on Aug. 12. Nonprofit UpTurn Ohio, which specializes in helping improve Springfield neighborhoods, turned to Rose and the tour planners to include a walking tour there in hopes of getting its residents excited about its future and building pride.
“This really shows the value of community and the role those who live there can play in its revitalization,” said Rose.
Another popular tour is the newly renovated and dedicated Springfield Burying Ground that is the final resting place of Revolutionary War soldiers, Springfield’s founder and other pioneers on July 19.
The tour schedule includes:
Beat the Block (Happy Hour Tour), 5:30 p.m. Friday, June 2
Painted Ladies (Bicycle Tour), 10 a.m. Saturday, June 3
Eye Spy Springfield (Youth Tour), 10 a.m. Saturday, June 17
Westchester Park (Walking Tour) 10 a.m. Saturday, June 24
Greek Springs (Happy Hour Tour), 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 28
Ferncliff Cemetery: Sacred and Symbolic (Walking Tour), 10 a.m. Saturday, July 1
Downtown West (Happy Hour Tour), 5:30 p.m. Friday, July 7
The Kensingtons (Walking Tour), 10 a.m. Saturday, July 8
East High Street Churches (Walking Tour) 1 p.m. Sunday, July 9
Springfield Burying Ground (Happy Hour Tour) 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 19
Public Art Crawl (Virtual Tour), 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 9
Rodgers Place (Walking Tour), 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 12
Progressive East High (Walking Tour), 10 a.m. Saturday, August 19
Elmwood Place (Walking Tour), Saturday, September 9
Lenski Walk (Virtual Tour) 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 20
The cost of each tour varies, and tickets can be purchased online. Those interested should make their reservations as soon as possible as many sell out quickly.
For more on each tour, costs and other information, go to www.westcotthouse.org/programs/events.