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The Historical Society of Forest Park will host its inaugural House and Garden Walk on July 14, showcasing seven homes and gardens around town. 

“It just puts us on display and really I think that we are a secret on many levels, so why not?” said Chris Everett, president of the historical society. 

Attendees can admire bird sanctuaries, ponds, English gardens and more during the walk, with master gardeners accompanying their journey to explain the horticultural intricacies experienced. Participants will also receive a guidebook for the seven sites, offer planting tips and, at the end, they get to vote for their favorite site. Not all homes will be display their interior, out of respect for homeowners who prefer privacy. Everett declined to name the sites of the seven homes — “because I don’t want people driving around, peeking in,” she said — but they are distributed across the north and south sides of town. 

“Year after year, folks are moving in and upgrading; people are just really doing amazing things to their houses and gardens; it has just been incredible,” Everett said. “This is our first annual House and Garden Walk; we will be doing this every single year. I think it’s just great for any village to be proud of itself and put itself on display.”  

The walkers’ journey will start at 10 a.m. at Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore, 7419 Madison St. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $15 at forestparkhistory.org or at Centuries & Sleuths. Buy tickets the day of for $20. All proceeds will benefit the historical society. 

The society is still looking for volunteers to work three-hour shifts during the walk, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Volunteers will receive two free tickets, and should email info@forestparkhistory.org to sign up. 

The group also currently has two member-at-large openings on its board of directors and, come October, three of the historical society’s longtime members will be leaving the board. Anyone interested in becoming a board member should email Executive Director Alexis Ellers at forestparkhistory1975.com. 

“We are fond of saying that we study the past to understand the present to shape our future,” Everett said. “We’re looking for people who support our mission and are enthusiastic about our community.”

Nona Tepper