The Gifford Park Association won a 2017  Elgin Image Award for the Historic Elgin Housewalk

 Commissioner Michael J. Murschel made the introduction speech the text of which is below.  
A joy shared is twice the joy. And, for one day a year over the past 36 years, Elgin has been doubling the joy of its rich heritage of historical architecture with others. Lots of others. More than 50,000 of them. Two years ago, this home-grown event expanded from one day, to two days, just to accommodate them all.
Indeed, the Historic Elgin House Tour has put Elgin on the map, on the calendars, and in the hearts of people across this region. It has opened the doors to some 229 homes and 33 commercial buildings and houses of worship across ten quintessential Elgin neighborhoods, and impressed some people so much that they decided to move here and make Elgin their home.
It all began in 1979 with the formation of the Gifford Park Association. Within two years, that group saw the value of exposing people to the venerable vistas locked behind the historic doors of our homes, and, in 1981, they offered the first of what has built up over the years to be a flagship event not only for the Gifford Park Association, but also for Elgin, our region, and historic preservation in general.
The funds, raised from this event, stay here to enhance the image of Elgin. To undergird preservation efforts such as the restoration of the Nancy Kimball House, Elgin's oldest extant cobblestone dwelling. To upgrade historical district street signs. For sustainable work such as the planting of trees, and the nurture of a respect for our history by providing educational materials to School District U-46.
Today's event is a far cry from the first one, with its hand-made silk-screened banners, and typewritten pages with stick-on graphics. Today, the Gifford Park Association shares its vision with fellow neighborhood groups, the Elgin Area Historical Society, and the City of Elgin, producing an eloquent event booklet, social media and web presence, and online videography, all designed to ripple out the awareness of this much-anticipated event which speaks so profoundly to Elgin's very foundations. And producing a genuine honor, respect, and love for this beautiful place that we call home.
On behalf of my fellow commissioners, I am pleased to present a 2017 Organization Image Award to the Historic Elgin House Tour.

Barbara Evans accepted the award for GPA.  Here is her acceptance speech.

I'm Barbara Evans. The Elgin Historic House Tour was founded on my back deck on Fulton St; I co-chaired it for its first nine years. As we neared year 10, we were amazed. Ditto for as we neared year 25. That we're now nearing year 40 is mind boggling. How time flies when we're having fun.

Because the house tour has done so much to put Elgin on the map in a positive light, you may be wondering why it is only now being recognized via an Image Award.
For the record, when the Gifford Park Association, the organization that sponsors the tour, was given an Image Award some years ago, the tour was cited as one of the things GPA has done to enhance Elgin's image.
Those of us on the tour steering committee, however, are especially pleased that the tour is now being recognized in its own right, for it is an event that involves far more than the GPA membership, which, it should be noted, include people from all over Elgin.
First and foremost on the list of those who have made the tour the success that it is are the homeowners. Were it not for people who are willing to let anywhere from 1,000 to 2,600 curious people go through their homes every year, there would be no tour. Thus we think the loudest round of applause should go to them.
Likewise were it not for the many who are willing to staff those houses-last year we had more than 300-- as well as to do grunt work just before & on the day, there would be no tour. That these volunteers come from surrounding areas as well as from Elgin is also noteworthy.
Also recognized by this award are the individuals, area businesses and the City that give us seed money each year, money that typically covers the cost of printing the tour booklet and mailings.
So speaking for all of these groups--the tour steering committee, the homeowners, the volunteers and our financial backers-- I'd like to thank the Image Commission for this award.  
Mayor Kaptain, Barbara Evans and city Manager Kozal.     Jeff Myers posted this on Facebook:    
These folks are all a part of the 37 nominations for Elgin's Image Awards that took place Thursday night at the Centre of Elgin and the Heritage Ballroom! The entire program was recorded by Sue Campbell and her City crew for playback on all 3 Elgin cable outlets on Ch. 17 on WOW and Comcast and Ch. 99 on AT@T. Check the message board on the channels for playback time. On Elgin Today we will have interviews and coverage of the event for our April Edition!  






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