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Elkhorn home tour to include a house of memories

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Carla McCann
November 15, 2007
— In a home filled with childhood memories, Laura Dober Yurs rediscovered the quiet of a country morning, the beauty of a sunset and the joy of coming home.

Yurs grew up in a historic Sugar Creek Township home located along the Milwaukee-Janesville stagecoach route. Today, the route is County A, which winds pass the Yurs house on a hill.


Yurs’ childhood home Saturday will be among seven sites open to the public for the Fifth Annual Homes for the Holidays Tour. The event is sponsored by the Elkhorn Area Women’s Club to benefit the Walworth County Performing Arts Center.


When Yurs’ parents decided it was time to sell the family home 14 years ago, she was ready to follow her heart and memories.


She and her husband, Wayne Dober, left jobs as commercial artists in the Milwaukee area.


For Yurs, the house at W6022 County A is a familiar haven. It is the place where she and her siblings went on strike from farm chores, telling their father they either wanted to go on a summer vacation like other kids or have their own swimming pool.


He built the pool.


“Three generations of kids have learned to swim in this pool,” Yurs said.


Since moving in, Yurs and her husband have restored the 1830s home to its original charm.


One of the first tasks was to strip cracking paint from the hand-carved, ornate woodwork.


It took gallons of paint stripper and countless hours just in the dining room.


“It was a labor of love,” Yurs said.


Yurs couldn’t do it by herself. She hired three men, who worked for more than two months stripping, staining and varnishing the home’s woodwork.


While working on a window in the dining room, Yurs found another piece of the home’s history—a note written in the penmanship of the German carpenter who had crafted the ornate woodwork.


The house was featured as one of the paintings on an “Elkhorn Christmas Card” and in the 1873 Atlas of Walworth County.


Yurs said the cupola on the roof was ordered built by S.R. Edwards so he could watch the field hands working. From the cupola, miles of township unfold in fields, homes and roads.


Since moving in, Yurs and her husband have built an addition for their home-based business, the Yurs Group. The new addition incorporates what used to be a hand-built stone chimney on the outside of the home.


Although work on the home required commitment and lifestyle changes, Yurs has no regrets.


“I couldn’t bear someone else buying it,” Yurs said.


HOMES ON THE TOUR

Homeowners and locations of the other homes to be showcased during the Fifth Annual Homes for the Holidays Tour in Elkhorn are:


-- Stephanie and Frank Leuptow, 203 W. Davenport St.


This home has a classic style. Although new, it has a design similar to many homes lining the older streets in the city.


-- Karen and Richard Connell, W4747 Ridgeview Road.


It’s a large and distinctive home located on a cul-de-sac. Karen’s piano students will perform during the tour.


-- Eileen and Mark Fitzgerald, 202 Park St.


This house offers a view of Sunset Park, is designed for entertaining and features a multipoint roofline.


-- The Walworth County Performing Arts Center, which is the Sprague Theatre at 15 W. Walworth St.


Named for the opera house destroyed by fire, the theatre was rebuilt in 1928. It now is owned by the Walworth County Performing Arts Center.


-- Eva and Gary Shroeder, 311 W. Court St.


The home is built mostly of concrete. It’s set amid mature trees and presents a Victorian flair, including tall windows.


-- First United Methodist Church, 111 N. Broad St.


The church was built in 1923. A renovation in 1994 provided the congregation with a fellowship room. The congregation celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1990.


IF YOU GO

The Fifth Annual Homes for the Holidays Tour is 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.


The event is sponsored by the Elkhorn Area Women‘s Club to benefit the Walworth County Performing Arts Center.


Tickets are available at Deakin Isle, 41 N. Wisconsin St.; the Pharmacy Station, 3 E. Geneva St., and Uncle Hunk’s Junk, 203 E. Walworth St.


Tickets cost $8 in advance and $10 during the event.


For additional information call (262) 723-1934.



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