Editor’s Note: The following is the seventh in a series of stories highlighting homes and other structures that will be featured during the Highland County Historical Society’s annual Tour of Homes and Historic Buildings on Sunday, June 11 from noon to 5 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. This story features the Willer home located at 611 N. High St., Hillsboro.
The home of Mike and Joni Willer is a wonderful example of a late 1800s Victorian-style house.
Purchased in 1990 from William and Gloria West, the house sits on property that was once part of the estate of William Collins, father of Caspar Collins. Other former owners include J.H. Boyd (1883), Inskeeps (1884), Oscar Lemon (1911), Bessie Morehead (1967), and Marvel Wilkin (1970). It has architectural elements from both the Stick Victorian as well as the Queen Anne Victorian styles.
In Stick Victorian, visitors can find the wall surface itself has been used as a decorative element with the applied “stick” design creating patterned exterior wall surfaces particularly around doors, windows and cornices. Whereas the recessed porch under the gables is indicative of the later Queen Anne style. Often times there are overlapping of elements in eras of architectural styles.
Inside, the Willers have done extensive renovation work and their attention to detail has been crucial in maintaining the period feel of their home. Floral wallpapers and carpets, decorative trims and moldings, authentic and period-correct lighting fixtures, as well as the preservation of precious original details like the Eastlake mantles have taken this home from being somewhat average when it was purchased to high Victorian style. But this doesn’t mean it doesn’t have modern conveniences.
The Willers have added a large garage and lots of square footage. But the wow factor lies in the new kitchen. It’s spacious, warm, and inviting all the while maintaining the feel for the Victorian period. This has to be the center of all family gatherings.
In 1997, the Willers purchased the property next door. After razing the home on that lot, they were able to develop a much more spacious lawn, create more parking, and add much needed space for turning around to exit onto the busy street.
The Highland County Historical Society is happy to be collaborating with the Brush & Palette Guild in an effort to raise awareness of its talents and to help it promote its 60th show and sale at Southern State Community College in Hillsboro on Saturday and Sunday, June 24-25. The historical society is featuring artwork of the homes or buildings on the tour at each of the sites. By attending the tour, you will have an opportunity to see some work created by these talented artists and talk with them about their organization and upcoming event. Sandy Adams and Kim Giordano will be the featured artists at the Willer home.
Submitted by Avery Applegate, Highland County Historical Society.
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