Tours Sunday of grand historic Hamilton homes

One of Butler County’s most historic neighborhoods will open its doors Sunday to the public with Historic Dayton Lane’s May Promenade.

The neighborhood, northeast of Hamilton’s downtown, is experiencing a renaissance, with families rehabilitating some architectural masterpieces that transport those who see the homes back to around the start of the 20th century.

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The tour, which costs $20 on Sunday, or $15 in advance, includes visits inside 13 homes, with horse-drawn trolleys, and large-wheeled bicycle performances. People can sign up through the organization’s Facebook page.

The rain-or-shine event, dating to 1980, will happen from 1 to 5 p.m.

Tom Nye, treasurer of the Dayton Lane Association, said people who want to show up without tickets on Sunday should go to the Wolf Gazebo in the Campbell Avenue Park, in the 900 block of Campbell Avenue.

Streets in the area will be closed to traffic, adding to the old-time feel, but parking will be available nearby in two places: the Hamilton Board of Education building at 533 Dayton St.; and the city lot at the corner of Dayton and Martin Luther King Boulevard. “But you can’t drive up to the Wolf Gazebo, because they won’t let you through,” he said.

“The comment we hear often is people just had no idea what they find in the homes, or even once they find once they start looking at the exterior of the homes, because often times Dayton Street can be a busy street and people just kind of zip along and don’t stop to really notice the beauty we have right here in Hamilton,” Nye said.

Even people living in the neighborhood are surprised by the interiors of nearby homes, he said.

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“It’ll be just a chance for us to turn the clock back 125 years, and really get a feel for what it was like around the turn of the 20th century,” Nye said.

Many tourists bring cameras, and about half the tourists are from outside the city, he said.

Event proceeds go toward improving the neighborhood, particularly the Campbell Avenue Park, which, thanks to Steve Timmer of the Hamilton Parks Conservancy has become a beautiful version of its former self, Nye said.

“We think it’s one more way to show off our neighborhood, but also show off the city of Hamilton,” Nye said.

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