Historic home tour to celebrate Lewis family connections

Three-day celebration runs June 7-9 in St. Cloud

The 14th annual South Side Historic Home Tour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 9, in St. Cloud will be part of a three-day celebration of the many connections and contributions the family of noted novelist Sinclair Lewis and his brother, prominent south side resident Dr. Claude Lewis, made with St. Cloud and its institutions during the first half of the 20th century.

The home tour will include four south side homes, a unit in a historic Fourth Avenue South apartment building, an art-filled church and rectory, an exhibit of Lewis family memorabilia from the St. Cloud State University Archives in the Miller Center library, and a garden party and concert in Barden Park.

The four homes include a Third Avenue South two-story 1909 Colonial Revival that’s well along in the process of a top-to-bottom renovation, a picturesque “Hansel and Gretel” cottage on the historic Highbanks Place cul de sac, a Fifth Avenue South Colonial Revival and a large Seventh Avenue South Yellow Brick Queen Anne.

Registration for the tour will be centered in Barden Park across the street from the St. Cloud State Lewis House, built in 1927 by Dr. Claude Lewis for his family. It became part of the St. Cloud State campus in 1964 and, until an official name change this past year, was known as Alumni House.

A Barden Park celebration will include a garden party with light refreshments from 1-3 p.m. and a St. Cloud Municipal Band performance from 2:45-3:30 p.m.

In addition to the home tour, the “Main Street to Eighth Street” celebration includes a Sinclair Lewis Film Festival with film adaptations of three of the Nobel Prize-winning Lewis’ books Thursday, June 7, at the historic Paramount Theater and a lecture and discussion of the Lewis Family in St. Cloud and the influence of Lewis’ Minnesota upbringing in his satirical writings Friday, June 8, at the Stearns History Museum.

Sinclair Lewis was a successful and acclaimed celebrity in the early 20th century.  His novel “Main Street,” set in fictitious Gopher Prairie – based on his hometown of Sauk Centre – became the largest selling U.S. book to date when it was published in 1920. He was the first American to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. His beloved brother, Claude, was a renowned local physician and early chief of staff at St. Cloud Hospital as well as a notable community leader.

The film festival is free and open to the public; and tickets, $12 in advance and $15 at registration, to the home tour are available at Byerly’s, Coborn’s Cooper Avenue, Sauk Rapids Coborn’s Superstore, Cashwise Store and all other Main Street to Eighth Street event sites. Campus parking lots will be open.

For more information about the home tour or film festival, contact Mary Mathews, 320-251-2172 or mjmathews@citescape.com.

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