This year’s Historic Homes Tour featured Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln. It is reported that Abe had ducked into the home at 818 North 5th Street in the summer of 1859 to escape a heavy rain storm. At the time the home was under construction for Dr. William Payne, a two-time mayor of Springfield and son of the city’s first doctor. During the Historic Tour, Abe and Mary visited this site and other homes of the late 1800’s that were open to the public.
Of the eight homes on the 2010 Tour, six have been identified as potential National Register or Springfield Landmark homes. Scroll down to see pictures and descriptions of our 2010 participants.
Our 2010 event was a success and the turnout was great on such a warm, sunny Saturday afternoon! We would like to thank all those who attended our historic homes tour, and we hope that your visit to the Enos Park area was enjoyable and educational.
|704 N. 4th||Edwards Place||1843 structure||Italianate style|
|816 N. 5th||Jackie Johnson||1859 structure||Italianate style|
|704 N. 5th||Barker Apartment||1896 structure||Arts & Crafts style|
|821 N. 5th||Steve & Diane Combs||1881 structure||Italianate style|
|900 N. 5th||Bernie & Carol Faree||1884 structure||Cross Plan|
|901 N. 5th||Todd & Michelle Higginbotham||1896 structure||Queen Anne style|
|930 N. 6th||Jack Johnson||1897 structure||Queen Anne style|
|923 N. 6th||Steve Black||1867 structure||Italiante style|
North 5th Street Trolley Line
Nearly 100 visitors to Enos Park were able to travel back in time along the “ole” North 5th Street Trolley Line from Carpenter to North Grand. The first horse drawn trolley in Springfield was built in 1866 and connected Springfield’s historic downtown area with Oak Ridge Cemetary and Lincoln’s Monument. The tracks ran along North 5th St. through a neighborhood of beautiful homes and tree-lined streets. The 2010 Home Tour focused on homes along this historic corridor.
704 North 4th Street – Edwards Place
This is the starting point of your tour. Edwards Place was built in 1833 by an early Springfield physician, Dr. Thomas Houghan. It is the oldest house in the city still standing on its original grounds. Judge Benjamin Edwards, for whom the house is named, was the youngest son of Ninian Edwards, governor of the Illinois Territory, who became the state’s first senator. In August 1839, Ben Edwards married Helen Dodge, his college sweetheart. In 1843 they purchased a country estate with fourteen wooded acres north of town, and in the summer the family moved in. During the 1850’s the Edwardses remodeled their home. It was expanded from its original one and one-half stories to its present size of two full stories, with an attic which was used for servant’s quarters.
Edwards Place is a stately mansion with a wide porch supported by graceful Corinthian columns, wide eaves, and an ornamental cupola. This home is a wonderfully preserved Italianate. The interior, with lovely walnut woodwork and elegant furnishings, was the scene of much of Springfield’s social life. Prominent citizens such as Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas were entertained here with lavish dinner parties.
Ben Edwards died in 1886, and his widow occupied the house until her death in 1909. Three years later, as a memorial to her parents, one of their three daughters, Mrs. Alice Ferguson, donated the house to the Springfield Art Association. The Art Association has restored the house as nearly as possible to its original appearance. Your visit will include a guided tour through the formal receiving parlor, music room, family dining room and the second-floor bedrooms. The home is furnished with wonderful examples of Victorian furniture, including many pieces that belonged to the Edward’s family.
704 North 5th Street
This Arts and Crafts style structure was built about 1896 as a 2-story rectangular dwelling. It was first occupied by John C. Pierik, a druggist, and family. Around 1915 Abraham and Flora Barker probably expanded the building to its current dimensions with four apartments. It has been altered little since then. This house is eligible for placement on the National Register of Historic Places and has always been known as the Barker Apartments. The present owners, Owen and Karen Anderson, have gradually restored each apartment to its original beauty since they purchased it in 1986. The apartments have beautiful wooden archways and crown molding. The expansive front porches on both the first and second floors add to the open, spacious feel of each unit.
816 North 5th Street – Dr. Jayne Home
This is one of two high style brick Italianate homes along North 5th St. It was built for William Jayne, whose father, Gershorn Jayne, was the first doctor in Springfield. Williams was a two-term mayor of Springfield. The story is told that Abraham Lincoln ducked out of the rain into this house while it was being constructed in 1859. He talked with the workers and moved on after the storm had passed. The Fever River Research identified this home as a potential candidate for the National Register of Historic Sites. The current owner, Jackie Jackson, is a prolific writer and often hosts writer’s workshops at the home. See Jackie’s websites at jacqueline-jackson.com and roundbarnstories.com.
821 North 5th Street – Guy Mathis Home
This two-story. wooden frame, Italainate home was built in 1881. Joseph Boyd, his wife Henrietta, and daughter Grace lived in the home until 1947. Grace fell in love with a young man by the name of Guy Mathis who lived next door at 823 North Fifth. They were married on May 28, 1891 in the Boyd home and lived there the rest of their lives. Guy Mathis was an ambitious entrepreneur who started out working for his father-in-law at the Ferguson China Shop which was owned by B. H. Ferguson, president of Marine Bank. The Ferguson family lived at 815 North Fifth Street in a large, beautiful home which was known as the Ferguson mansion.
In 1896, Mathis opened Springfield’s first camera store. He was a skillful photographer himself and became known as Springfield’s first official photographer. There is a collection of 1700 of his pictures depicting the homes and people of Springfield at the turn-of-the-century. In 1903, after reading a catalogue about the “horseless carriage,” he went to Detroit and came back with two one-cylinder Northern Cadillac runabouts. He immediately sold one to Harry Loper, restaurant and motion picture proprietor, and became Springfield’s first automobile dealer.
The home is currently owned by Steve and Diane Combs. They have renovated the home, exposing the eleven-foot ceilings and original plaster crown moldings, along with the pocket doors and grand staircase in the foyer.
900 North 5th Street – Cross Plan House
This home was built in 1884 and is a potential candidate for the National Register of Historic Sites. It is a unique two-story Cross Plan house. One-story Cross Plan houses were typically occupied by working class families. Larger two-story models proved attractive to more affluent, middle class families. This home is one of only four found along 5th St. among the high style Italianate and Queen Anne homes of the upper middle class families.
901 North 5th Street – Brandenburg Home
This house was built in 1896 and purchased by Henry Brandenburg, a roadmaster for the St. Louis, Chicago, and St. Paul Railroad. He passed it on to his son, Wallace Brandenburg, a fireman for the railroad and later to E.C. Brandenburg, a trainmaster. Bay windows, turrets, stained glass windows, a steep pitched roof and ornate porches are all prominent features of this revitalized Queen Anne style home. The home also features an ornate staircase with beautifully restored woodwork and a front door that was custom made to recreate the original. The property was boarded and vacant for many years before being purchased by Old Neighborhood Rehab and completely renovated in 2009. This house has been identified in the Fever River Research as a potential Springfield landmark property.
930 North 6th Street – John Hartmann Home
This large Victorian Queen Anne style home was built in 1897. It was the home of John Hartmann, owner and proprietor of a bakery and liquor shop at 831 E. Washington. He was very active in the politics of Springfield at the turn of the century. John and his wife, Anna, had six children who lived in the home even after their father died. In 1925, Thomas Farney bought the home. One of his sons, William, became a doctor and converted the home into his office and personal residence. William continued to maintain his office downstairs even after his son, Thomas, who was a pharmacist, moved into the upstairs. Dr. Farney died in August 1980 and the home became a rental property. The current owner, Jack Johnson, recently purchased the home and is in the process of rehabbing it. He now keeps the medical connection alive by renting to medical students.
923 North 6th Street – Thomas S. Little Home
This brick Italiante two-story structure was built in 1867 by Thomas S. Little. It was used as rental property during the early 1900s. About 1924, Samuel Fratcher, a foreman for the Illinois State Journal, raised his family in this home. Later, Christian Brahler, who was the manager of the Kinney Shoe Store, moved his family into the house. The current owner of Brahler Lube Centers in Springfield grew up in this home. In 1967, the Little Moppet Day Care made it their headquarters, and they resided there for 20 years before it became the Patty Cake Day Care for another five years. The home was vacant in 2003 when Old Neighborhood Rehab renovated the building and sold it to the current owners. During some part of its history, a back porch was added, and later removed to construct a two-car garage.
We would like to thank all of those who attended our 2010 Historic Home Tours, and particularly the businesses whose advertising and sponsorhip helped make it possible. It was a great success and meeting all of those who attended was wonderful. We hope that you enjoyed your visit with the homeowners and were able to get a taste of life in Enos Park!