“It’s been a fairy tale,” Mary Ann Gust says of owning the Wey Mansion, which was known as Wichita’s Christmas house for years under her and her husband’s stewardship. And even though the Gusts put the house up for sale two years ago because they needed to downsize — and it’s still for sale — Mary Ann’s affection for the Victorian mansion at 1751 N. Park Place hasn’t waned a bit.
The Historic Midtown Citizens Association figures Wichitans’ interest in the house hasn’t waned either — it is featuring the house on its annual walking tour next weekend, along with three others on Park Place. The tour will feature costumed docents giving tours, live music, vintage cars and bicycles and refreshments at Victoria Park along the tour route. Members of the Wichita Police Mounted Unit will be at the event Oct. 13. Tickets are $10. Children 12 and under will be admitted free when accompanied by an adult.
“The walking tour is a rare opportunity to see some of Wichita’s oldest homes and learn about how they have been preserved and restored,” Rachel Schober, head of the tour, said. “This weekend event provides visitors a chance to step back in time and view some of our city’s architectural heritage. It’s really amazing to be able to just walk into some of these beautiful homes. You start to realize how much of a treasure we have in the heart of our city and why people love living in these old neighborhoods. There is a renewed sense of community throughout Midtown that we are proud to put on display and share with our guests.”
This is the 40th year for the tour, which the association says draws 1,000 to 2,000 people.
The Wey Mansion has been on the tour before, and the line to get in last time was long, Gust said. She and her husband, Harry, still care for the house — with its original woodwork and lights, elegantly simple intercom system and balcony — while trying to sell it. Period furniture placed in the house by Three Pea will be for sale.
Proceeds from the walking tour are used for neighborhood projects, including scholarships for youth and restoration efforts. Tickets will be for sale during the tour — 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 13 and 1 to 5 p.m. Oct.14 — at Fairview Christian Church, 1650 N. Fairview Ave.
If you haven’t caught the news during the past two Christmases, the Gusts sold all of the Christmas decorations that used to ice their mansion in lights to a man who puts them up on the east side. You can see Brad Short’s display during the holidays at 1122 N. Lawrence Court.
Mary Ann Gust said that she and her husband put up a bit of Christmas decoration at their new ranch house — “but he hasn’t let me loose yet,” Mary Ann said of Harry.