The historical village of Bentonsport will host a ?Home and Garden Show? on Sunday, June 17.
Seven homeowners will be receiving guests for tours of their homes and gardens beginning at the Stone House (26985 RT. J40) at 1 p.m. Additional vegetable and floral gardens will be on tour also. The tours will continue until 5 p.m.
A wristband (necessary to enter the homes and gardens) will be available for a $10 donation per person. The donations will be used to improve acoustics for the Stone House. This event is sponsored by the Bentonsport Improvement Association, a nonprofit organization.
Pre-civil war and civil war era homes are included on the tour. The homes have all been modernized for today?s living. Visitors will be provided a map and will be able to walk or drive to the homes and gardens at their own pace.
? Herb and Jan Shafer own the Captain Frederick Hancock House. James Brown built the Federal style house in 1847. The house contains native wood including oak, walnut and cherry. Hancock purchased the property in 1853 for $1,600. He was an abolitionist, local merchant, and a captain during the Civil War. Hancock also served in the territorial legislature of Iowa.
? Bill and Betty Printy also own a Federal style home, the Herman Greef House. It was built in 1863, with the entrance facing the river. The entrance was moved to the east side of the house when the two-story bay window was added. The windows have interior shutters that fold up into the butternut woodwork.
? Laurie (Rector) and Max Mendenhall own the former Methodist Church Parsonage. Built in 1853, some additional unusual architectural features were added to the house in the 1940?s by Eddie Alexander. He poured concrete steps, bannisters, and balusters.
? Chuck and Joy Hanson own what was first known as the Ashland House, built in the 1840?s. The old hotel was renamed the Phoenix Hotel when Lewis J. Mason came to Bentonsport. The hotel was later named the Mason House. It served steamboat passengers and other travelers during it?s lifetime. The barn on the property reportedly hid runaway slaves on the Underground Railroad.
? Rick and Nancy Alexander own the Albert S. Bigelow house. Once owned by Albert S. Bigelow, whose namesake, Albert Bigelow Paine, was a friend of and the official biographer for Samuel Clemens. This Federal style house, built in the 1850?s, has 11 foot ceilings. The back half of the house and second story were added later. This house possesses the only Gothic window in Bentonsport. The Alexander?s also have floral and vegetable gardens for viewing.
? Jim and Pat McLeland currently own the Chester W. Cowles House. The home was built for Dr. Chester W. Cowles on land he purchased in 1841, from Benjamin Franklin Pearson. Pearson was a pioneer builder in Van Buren County. Dr. Cowles lived in Bentonsport until 1891. A kitchen fireplace complete with a bustle oven is a very unique feature of the Cowles house.
? Tony Sanders owns a civil war era home. He has added unique inlaid wood features to the floors, ceilings, and walls. Tony used only a wood rasp and coping saw when producing the inlaid pieces for his home. He also has several large vegetable gardens and many fruit trees. Tony tells people that he would rather hoe than mow lawns, and that is quite obvious when viewing his landscape. His Indian artifact Museum next door will also be open and features Indian artifacts, deer sheds, and inlaid woodwork.
? The Bentonsport Improvement Association owns the Stone House, where the tour begins. It was constructed between 1851 and 1854, and was originally a two story duplex for local businessmen Edward D. Colton and David N. Gardener. After extensive renovation in 2013, it is now a village meeting place that can be scheduled for events.
? Buck Sedore is truly a master of vegetable gardening. He has large beautifully manicured vegetable gardens for touring, and takes great care and pride in raising his vegetables, which are primarily given to friends and relatives at harvest time.
? Bruce and Becky Whitaker, who live up Ridge Road, toward the Bentonsport Cemetery, have created a beautiful floral garden area in their back yard around their deck. Bruce has propagated many of his day lilies and some of his peonies.
? Bentonsport Shops will be open throughout the afternoon, as well as the Presbyterian Church, Rose Garden, Bentonsport Bridge, Bentonsport Nature Trail, The Bill Richards Nature Trail, and the Bentonsport Cemetery.