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Palmer Woods Home Tour and Soirée shows off the sights before Christmas


Throughout Palmer Woods the magnificent, historic homes are decorated with care for the annual Palmer Woods Home Tour and Soirée that celebrates the holiday season.

The tour is December 5 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and features six houses that display classic architecture, art and holiday decorations. A portion of the $85 event price benefits a local charity for those who lack food and shelter.


Organizers of the event say the outing has attracted participants throughout the city and region during its 25-year history.

For the first time this year the oldest home in Palmer Woods, built 100 years ago by architect Richard Marr for the neighborhood’s first developer Charles Burton, will be on the tour. Marr designed more than a dozen Palmer Woods houses.

The 35,000-square-foot Bishop’s Mansion, once owned by the Archdiocese of Detroit, is also a highlight. The mansion was later bought by Detroit Pistons star John Salley.

From 8 pm to midnight guests will be entertained at the Bishop’s mansion, which is the largest private home built in Michigan. There will be a jazz performance by Gwen and Charles Scales and holiday-themed treats and beverages.

Bishops Mansion

Bishops Mansion

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Barbara Barefield, a long-time Palmer Woods resident, says she looks forward to again welcoming the public to her neighborhood.

“This is a really special tour because this is (Palmer Woods) centennial year,” she says. “For people who are interested in design and décor, and art, it will be interesting to see how homeowners have taken styles and embellished.”

On average, about 200 people take the tour, which has always been held during December’s first weekend, Barefield says.

Ticketholders begin the tour by parking at the 12 Precinct Detroit Police Station and boarding motor coaches, which will drive to each home on the tour.

“Now, more and more young people are coming back to Detroit,” she says. “They’re hearing all over the country how you can move here and start up a business, how it’s a great place for artists and writers. It’s a whole new crop of people.”

Tickets, $85, can be purchased online at, at Blossoms Birmingham, 33866 Woodward Ave. in Birmingham, or by calling 313-891-2514. All tickets must be purchased in advance. 

Photos by Barbara Barefield

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