Home tour showcases local district

Rashah Mcchesney

Plush carpets, spotless floors, backlit glassware, new paint and the curiosity of neighbors characterized Ames’ South Campus district Sunday.

Marsha Miller, member of the South Campus Area Neighborhood Association historic district planning committee, said the committee has been running home tours like Sunday’s for about five years.

She said part of the reason for the tours is to showcase the neighborhood as a historic district in the hopes of keeping the neighborhood a good place to live for its residents.

“Our aim is to keep the neighborhood from being changed,” Miller said.

Jeff Benson, Ames city planner, said the city has already paid for a historic study of west Ames. He also explained that there were two different types of historic districts: those belonging to the National Register of Historic Places and local historic districts.

Being a member of the National Register doesn’t change any local regulations, like how an area is zoned, as a local historic district does, and the SCAN historic district planning committee is working on becoming a member of the National Register at this time, Benson said.

John and Cynthia Paschen’s house at 2117 Graeber St. had the distinction of being the first home on the tour and a location to purchase tickets.

The Paschen’s home smelled of fresh-baked bread as John prepared three loaves while fielding questions about his remodeled kitchen.

John said he enjoys living in Campustown because it is incredibly vivacious, close to the university and very eclectic.

He said students have been a problem during nighttime football games in the last couple of years, but there has been an improvement this year.

Fern Kupfer, founding member of SCAN and associate professor of English, whose bungalow at 2320 Knapp St. was on the tour, has been a vocal opponent to the encroachment of rental housing on the Campustown area and said one of the things she enjoyed about living in the area was that she could walk everywhere.

“I have one car,” she said with a laugh. “I’m really proud of that.”

Conversely, she said there have been instances of her finding beer cans and young men urinating in her front yard.

Jared Graeve, intern for SCAN, senior in community and regional planning and the volunteer manning the front door of Kupfer’s house, said he understood that there were going to be differences in cultures and lifestyle between families and students living in Campustown.

“A lot of problems would be solved if there was more respect for your neighbors,” Graeve said.

Ironically, as the tour progressed throughout Kupfer’s home and Graeve welcomed people into the house, he had to raise his voice repeatedly to match the volume of the next-door neighbor’s music.