- OCTOBER 8, 2003
discover Westside yourself during home tour
It’s considered the oldest and one of the original neighborhoods
in the city of Lansing. It boasts exquisite architecture, a richly diverse
population and old-fashioned values about home, family and being a good
citizen. This hidden gem, known as the Westside Neighborhood, was discovered,
quite by accident, by Terri and Brad Wittman on Memorial Day Weekend
five years ago. They were out for a nice holiday excursion when they
found themselves on North Genesee Drive admiring a large stone English
cottage-like home with a “for sale” sign in the yard.
“The house called to us,” Terri Wittman said. “We
had no clue this neighborhood existed.”
9th Annual Westside Home Tour
1 to 5 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 12, 2003; $15.
Tickets available at Diane’s Hallmark, Gift and Bible; The
Mole Hole; Mr. Toad’s Paper Co.; October Moon; Roberts Wallpaper
and Paint; or directly from Advent House Ministries, 743 N. Martin
Luther King Blvd., Lansing. Beginning at 12:30 p.m. the day of
the tour, tickets can be purchased at Sexton High School or the
Fire Station at Saginaw and Jenison. For more information, call
Advent House Ministries, (517) 485-4722.
were 14-year residents in East Lansing and had been toying with the
idea of moving to a more peaceful and stable living environment. The
grand home at 1306 N. Genesee Drive is the first and only home they
viewed before moving.
This stately residence is one of those houses that when you drive by
you wonder what type of people live there and what it looks like on
“It’s kind of a curiosity in the area,” Terri Wittman
said. “If I’m out working in the yard, people will stop
and ask to see it.” For those of you with that voyeuristic curiosity,
the Wittmans’ home, along with eight others, will be open to the
public from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 12, as part of the Westside Home
who lives here has been married for 31 years, have no children, but
do have three German shepherds, and several nieces and nephews who visit
regularly. Terri is a graphic designer who loves to cook and collects
cookbooks, hundreds of which are shelved in a nook off the kitchen.
Her husband, Brad is director of Information Services at the State Elections
Bureau and is the “meat guy” for the culinary gatherings
hosted by the couple for family and friends.
and Terri Wittman will open their home at 1306 N. Genesee Drive
for the Westside HomeTour.
have been steadily working to improve and restore both the exterior
and the interior of their home. The entire yard has been replaced with
concrete and flagstone with decorative landscaping and an inviting pergola
added for entertaining. The extensive interior walnut woodworking has
been completely refinished. The kitchen, which took 18 months to renovate,
is a source of pride. It has a unique half-moon shaped walk-through
pantry that used to be two closets. The stone floor isn’t really
stone at all. Each “stone” is concrete, individually formed,
poured and dyed by hand. The countertops are also made from poured and
The credit for the quality workmanship of the renovations goes to Jesse
Keys of Keys Construction.
out the Wittmans’ house at 1306 N. Genesee Drive.
a Renaissance man, an Old World craftsman,” Terri said.
Keys started out with a degree in business administration from Michigan
State University but has always enjoyed working with his hands and has
long since been doing historic renovation and high-end construction
don’t do anything typical,” he said. “I like my work
to tie in with what’s already there.”
Keys also has a home on the Westside Home Tour. The duplex at 605 Bartlett
St. is owned by Keys and Greg Whitehead. It is by no means the traditional
“We put it on the tour to show that rental properties can be nice,”
The majority of the proceeds from the ninth annual Westside Home Tour
will once again benefit Advent House Ministries. (A small portion goes
to the Westside Neighborhood Association.) The program, which was started
17 years ago by Westminster Presbyterian Church, provides services to
the homeless, including a weekend day shelter, employment training programs
for displaced adults and extensive programs for at-risk children and
“The residents of the Westside Neighborhood are very generous
and feel so strongly about not just building a good neighborhood, but
a good city,” said Susan Cancro, director of Advent House Ministries.
“They are opening their homes to help people they may never see,”
she continued. “It’s a wonderful way to support us and to
raise awareness of homelessness in a really positive way.”
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