Naper Notes Blog

Naper Settlement's blog will feature special events, historical happenings and interesting tidbits about Naperville's only history museum.

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Apr 29

Meet these old houses at Naper Settlement

Posted on April 29, 2016 at 4:22 PM by Donna DeFalco

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at a museum? Naper Settlement invites you to step beyond the velvet ropes to enjoy privileged access on guided tours of three historic homes during a new series, “Meet This Old House.” The tours will be held after hours from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 1 (Martin Mitchell Mansion), Sunday, June 24 (Murray Building) and Saturday, Sept. 17 (Paw Paw Post Office).

Tickets for individual tours are $15 per person, $12 for Settlement-6 members and above. A special series discount is $40 per person and $30 for Settlement-6 members and above for all three tours. There is moderate walking and stair climbing involved. For ages 13 and up. Reservations are required, call (630) 420-6010 or purchase tickets at the Visitor Center Lobby, which is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Visit

“Each historic home has its own story to tell, in addition to the history of the families who lived there,” Naper Settlement’s Curator of Research Bryan Ogg said.


The first tour on May 1 features the Martin Mitchell Mansion, a Victorian gem built in 1883 by businessman George Martin. The elegant structure was the family’s home, but also a showcase for Martin’s business ventures that included a limestone quarry and brick and tile works. During the tour, guests will visit each level of the 12-room mansion, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Learn first-hand about the building’s history and its importance to the community from museum staff and Robert A. Furhoff, an award-winning expert in historic interiors and paint analysis, who worked on the mansion’s extensive restoration from 2000-2003.
Naper Settlement’s Chief Curator Louise Howard said, “Not only will visitors get an up-close and personal look at special objects on display and learn about aspects of the building’s intensive three-year restoration during this special Mansion tour, but they also will be provided with glimpses of areas not accessible on standard tours including a peek into the basement and large attic spaces in this grand home.”   

Tour the Hobson Law Office within the Murray Building on June 13, led by Ogg and guest tour guide Attorney Keith Letsche to learn about 19th century law practices. Letsche is a historian, an avid antiques collector and the former president of the DuPage County Historical Society, the Greater Chicago Chapter of the Victorian Society in America and the Garfield Heritage Society.

On Sept. 17, tour the oldest frame house in Naperville, the Paw Paw Post Office built in 1833, which was the residence of the community’s first postmaster Alexander Howard. Come to understand its role in the town’s and nation’s postal history with guest tour guide Tom Majewski. Majewski, a commercial and industrial electrical estimator, is also a privy digger, who has been unearthing history in unlikely places for over 20 years.