Archdiocese Local

Atchison gears up for Christmas homes tour

Erin Stanley, homeowner, is preparing to open her doors for the Nov. 19 Christmas Historic Homes Tour in Atchison. COURTESY PHOTO

by Joe Bollig

ATCHISON — This year, Erin and Gerry Stanley are going all-out with the Christmas decorations at home in honor of the queen.

Not the late Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.

Rather, they’re honoring the late Midge Stanley, the “Queen of Christmas.”

“My husband’s mother passed away this summer,” said Erin. “She was the ‘Queen of Christmas.’ It was a special thing for her to do every year, to decorate her home and get it ready for Christmas, like a Hallmark movie.”

The five houses pictured in this article will be part of the Atchison Christmas Historic Homes Tour that will benefit St. Benedict School. Above is a two-story Georgian Colonial at 320 V St.

When the organizers of the Atchison Christmas Historic Homes Tour asked the Stanleys if they would volunteer their home to be part of the tour, they said yes.

“We thought it would be fun to do it in her honor,” said Erin, a member of St. Benedict Parish in Atchison.

A Queen Anne-style three-story home at 704 N. Fourth St.

For every other year since 2016, a group of “grannies” have held a Christmas-themed tour of some of Atchison’s grander historic homes as a fundraiser for St. Benedict School, said Diane Liebsch, principal of the school from 2011 to 2019.

“I thought it would be a good idea and something fun,” said Darlene Dulac, one of the tour founders. “Atchison is known for its historic homes. I thought it would be nice if we could share them with other people, if the owners were willing.”

A building at 517 Commercial St., built in 1898.

The last one was held in 2018. The next was to be in 2020 — but “you-know-what” happened that year. The tour was canceled.

The tour, which participants undertake on their own, driving from house to house, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 19.

A two-story brick home at 623 N. Fifth St., built in 1889.

The cost of the tour is $40 and includes lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at St. Benedict School, located at 201 Unity St. The lunch will be a choice of broccoli-cheddar or tomato-basil soup, a croissant with ham or turkey, dessert and a choice of tea or coffee.

There will be a Christmas market and  bake sale at the school during the tour. The market and sale are open to the public, but the lunch is only open to those who go on the tour.

A one-story wood frame home at 303 Santa Fe St., built in 1895.

There will be a Nativity display and coffee bar at one stop, the Muchnic Gallery.

This activity is for adults. Tour-goers must be older than age 12. Although the homes are not handicap accessible, the tour will be limited to the first floors (except for one stop).

Get your tickets

Only 500 tickets will be sold. To purchase tickets, send an email to:, or go online to: For information or to purchase tickets by phone, call Amanda at (913) 426-3035. Credit cards will be accepted over the phone. Tickets must be picked up at St. Benedict School the day of the tour.

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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