As the new Board President of nonprofit Heritage Homes of Petaluma, Alicia Wallace's job is about honoring the past while focusing squarely on the future, by welcoming new members, volunteers and docents.
Just voted in this January, she has an immediate challenge to find at least 20 (25 would be nicer) volunteers willing to take to the streets to promote preserving and protecting older homes and buildings that make Petaluma a film director’s dream.
“We need people to sign up immediately to support our entry in this year's Butter and Egg Days parade. Some will be asked to dress in historic costumes, while other will wear graphic T-shirts,” said Wallace.
This year the Butter and Egg Days parade will take place on April 16. If you can see yourself forming a conga line behind an antique automobile or walking around dressed as Petaluma founding father John McNear, you can leave your name and number at the Heritage Homes hotline at 707-762-3456.
Wallace is also focused on growing membership. In the past, there has been a slight misconception that members active in Heritage Homes must own and show elegantly restored mansions to feel like they truly fit in. As far as Wallace is concerned, nothing is farther from the truth. While many members are proud of their older homes, the group wants everyone to feel that they can play an important role in historic preservation.
“Membership is only $20 a year and you don’t have to own a fancy house to join. You can live in an apartment, in a modern condo, whatever. All you need is a desire to preserve the unique structures that give Petaluma character,” she said.
Alicia Wallace is the director of human resources at the . She loves to play golf, expand her knowledge of wine and spends a great deal of her free time working on the home she and her husband bought in the historic Oakhill Brewster district in 2004.
“I really have loved all the hard work we’ve put into our home. I don’t always love scraping paint, but I do love the end results,” she said. The one feature of her home of which she is most fond is a turn of the century bathroom complete with a deep claw foot soaking tub. The home had been modernized and returning the bath back to full functionality was a massive project.
So, with all that hands on remodeling experience it makes sense that Wallace has fast-tracked from Recording Secretary last year to leadership of the nonprofit, founded in 1967 by a group of concerned citizens.
Each year Heritage Homes hosts a Parlor Tour. Every other year (on even numbered years) Heritage Homes hosts a fall homes tour with informative docents available at each stop to answer questions and provide information.
“It’s a great opportunity to see the interiors of so many homes we admire from the outside. And it’s a great way to learn more about the history of Petaluma,” she said.
On odd numbered years, Heritage Homes presents awards for period-correct external construction. Awards are one way Heritage Homes encourages “preservation heroes" who take the time to restore and rehabilitate historic structures or design and construct new buildings that honor the look and feel of the surrounding historic neighborhood. Speaking of which, nominations for this years awards are open until July 1. The criteria and nomination form can be found at www.HeritagePetaluma.com.