Homepage of "Mr. Lincoln, Route 66, & Other Highlights of Lincoln, IL"

Site Map


A Long-Range Plan to Brand the First Lincoln Namesake City as the Second City of Abraham Lincoln Statues

The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Celebration in Lincoln, Illinois

Abraham Lincoln and the Historic Postville Courthouse,
including a William Maxwell connection to the Postville Courthouse

About Henry Ford and the Postville Courthouse, the Story of the Postville Courthouse Replica,
Tantivy, & the Postville Park Neighborhood in the
Route 66 Era


The Rise of Abraham Lincoln and His History and Heritage in His First Namesake Town,
also the founding of Lincoln College, the plot to steal Lincoln's body, and memories of Lincoln College and the Rustic Tavern-Inn

Introduction to the Social & Economic History of Lincoln, Illinois,
including poetry by William Childress & commentary by Federal Judge Bob Goebel & Illinois Appellate Court Judge Jim Knecht

"Social Consciousness in William Maxwell's Writings Based on Lincoln, Illinois" (an article published in the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, winter 2005-06

Peeking Behind the Wizard's Screen: William Maxwell's Literary Art as Revealed by a Study of the Black Characters in Billie Dyer and Other Stories

Introduction to the Railroad & Route 66 Heritage of Lincoln, Illinois

The Living Railroad Heritage of Lincoln, Illinois: on Track as a Symbol of the "Usable Past"


Route 66 Overview Map of Lincoln with 42 Sites, Descriptions, & Photos

The Hensons of Business Route 66

The Wilsons of Business
Route 66
including the Wilson Grocery & Shell Station

Route 66 Map & Photos Showing Lincoln Memorial Park
(former Chautauqua site),
the Historic Cemeteries, & Nearby Sites

Route 66 Map & Photos Showing Salt Creek & Cemetery Hill,
the highway bridges, GM&O bridge, Madigan State Park, the old dam (with photos & Leigh's memoir of "shooting the rapids" over the old dam), & the Ernie Edwards' Pig-Hip Restaurant Museum in Broadwell

The Historic Logan County Courthouse, Past & Present

Route 66 Map with 51 Sites in the Business & Courthouse Square Historic District,
including locations of historical markers
(on the National Register of Historic Places)

Vintage Scenes of the Business & Courthouse Square Historic District

The Foley House:  A Monument to Civic Leadership
(on the National Register of Historic Places)

Agriculture in
the Route 66 Era

Arts & Entertainment Heritage,
including the Lincoln Theatre Roy Rogers' Riders Club of the 1950s

Business Heritage

Cars, Trucks & Gas Stations of the Route 66 Era

including the hometown churches of Author William Maxwell & Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr

Factories, Past and Present

Food Stores of
the Route 66 Era


Hospitals, Past and Present

Hotels & Restaurants of the Railroad & Route 66 Eras

Lincoln Developmental Center
(Lincoln State School & Colony in the Route 66 era), plus
debunking the myth of Lincoln, Illinois, choosing the Asylum over the University of Illinois

Mining Coal, Limestone, & Sand & Gravel; Lincoln Lakes; & Utilities


Museums & Parks, including the Lincoln College Museum and its Abraham Lincoln Collection, plus the Heritage-in-Flight Museum

with Distinction

News Media in the Route 66 Era

The Odd Fellows' Children's Home


Memories of the 1900 Lincoln Community High School,
including Fred Blanford's dramatic account of the lost marble fountain of youth

A Tribute to the Historians and Advocates of Lincoln, Illinois

Watering Holes of the Route 66 Era

The Historic 1953 Centennial Celebration of Lincoln, Illinois

The Festive 2003 Sesqui-centennial Celebration of Lincoln, Illinois,
including photos of LCHS Class of 1960 dignitaries & the Blanfords

Why Did the State Police Raid Lincoln, Illinois, on October 11, 1950?

The Gambling Raids in Lincoln and Logan County, Illinois,
During the Late Route 66 Era (1950-1960)


Pages in this section tell about Leigh Henson's Lincoln years, moving away, revisits, and career:

About Lincoln, Illinois;
This Web Site; & Me

A Tribute to Lincolnite Edward Darold Henson: World War II U.S. Army Veteran of the Battles for Normandy and the Hedgerows; Brittany and Brest; and the Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge)

For Remembrance, Understanding, & Fun: Lincoln Community High School Mid-20th-Century Alums' Internet Community
(a Web site and email exchange devoted to collaborative memoir and the sharing of photos related to Lincoln, Illinois)

Leigh Henson's Pilgrimage to Lincoln, Illinois, on
July 12, 2001

Leigh Henson's Review of Dr. Burkhardt's William Maxwell Biography

Leigh Henson's Review of Ernie Edwards' biography, Pig-Hips on Route 66, by William Kaszynski

Leigh Henson's Review of Jan Schumacher's Glimpses of Lincoln, Illinois

Teach Local Authors: Considering the Literature of Lincoln, Illinois

Web Site About
Leigh Henson's Professional Life


Pages in this section are about the writing, memorabilia, and Web sites of other Lincolnites:

A Tribute to Bill and Phyllis Stigall:
Exemplary Faculty of Lincoln College at Mid-Twentieth Century

A Tribute to the Krotzes of Lincoln, Illinois

A Tribute to Robert Wilson (LCHS '46): Author of Young in Illinois, Movies Editor of December Magazine, Friend and Colleague of December Press Publisher Curt Johnson, and Correspondent with William Maxwell

Brad Dye (LCHS '60): His Lincoln, Illinois, Web Site,
including photos of many churches

Dave Armbrust's Memorabilia of Lincoln, Illinois

J. Richard
(JR) Fikuart
(LCHS '65):
he Fikuarts of Lincoln, Illinois, including their connections to the William Maxwell family and three generations of family fun at Lincoln Lakes

Jerry Gibson (LCHS '60): Lincoln, Illinois, Memoirs & Other Stories

Dave Johnson (LCHS '56): His Web Site for the Lincoln Community High School Class of 1956

Sportswriter David Kindred: Memoir of His Grandmother Lena & Her West Side Tavern on Sangamon Street in the Route 66 Era

Judge Jim Knecht
(LCHS '62): Memoir and Short Story, "Other People's Money," Set in Hickey's Billiards on Chicago Street in the Route 66 Era

William A. "Bill" Krueger (LCHS '52): Information for His Books About Murders in Lincoln

Norm Schroeder (LCHS '60): Short Stories

Stan Stringer Writes About His Family, Mark Holland, and Lincoln, Illinois

Thomas Walsh: Anecdotes Relating to This Legendary Attorney from Lincoln by Attorney Fred Blanford & Judge Jim Knecht

Leon Zeter (LCHS '53): His Web Site for the
Lincoln Community High School Class of 1953
including announcements of LCHS class reunions

(Post yours there.)


Highway Sign of
the Times:

The Route 66
Association of Illinois

The Illinois State Historical Society

Illinois Tourism Site:
Enjoy Illinois



  Internet Explorer is the only browser that shows this page the way it was designed.  Your computer's settings may alter the display.

April 24, 2004: Awarded "Best Web Site of the Year" by the Illinois State Historical Society
  "superior achievement: serves as a model for the profession and reaches a greater public"


Marquee Lights of the Lincoln Theater, est. 1923, Lincoln, Illinois

    You can go home again.                                              Email Leigh Henson at DLHenson@missouristate.edu.

              30. Neighborhoods with Distinction

     "Every street was exceptional.  You could not possibly mistake Fifth Street for Eighth Street  . . . or Broadway for Pulaski Street, and no two houses were exactly alike, either.  Some of them were so original that they always seemed to have something they wanted to say as you walked past: perhaps no more than this, that the people who lived in them did not wish they lived in Paris or Rome or even Peoria.  What would be the point of living somewhere you did not know everybody?"
William Maxwell,  Ancestors (1971), p. 189.

     "Ninth Street had the air of having been there since the beginning of time."

                                               William Maxwell, So Long, See You Tomorrow (1980), p. 22.

     "In present-day Lincoln, it is fashionable to live clear out in the country, surrounded by cornfields."

                                               William Maxwell, So Long, See You Tomorrow (1980), p. 25.


   Today Lincoln, Illinois, offers the widest range of housing options in its history -- whether apartments close to the "downtown" historic district, traditional neighborhoods, or new developments in outlying areas. 

     Lincoln is especially distinguished by the vintage residences of its traditional neighborhoods.  The rare picture postcards and other images on this page show the glory of 19th- and early-20th-Century houses in Lincoln.  Many of them remain today.  For information about active historic preservation in Lincoln, Illinois, use the link for lincolndailynews.com in Sources Cited below.  On that page, scroll to several articles with photos.

A Sampling of the Vintage Houses That Distinguish Lincoln, Illinois

     The images below show examples of various architectural designs found in Lincoln's vintage houses.  These images do not include all of the architectural styles found in this city, and not all of the structures shown below have survived.  Yet, many historic homes of various styles may be observed today -- Craftsman, Greek Revival, Italianate, Second Empire, Spanish, Tudor, and Victorian (specifically, "stick" and Queen Anne).

30.1:  Colorized Picture Postcard Showing Rider on White Horse, 1907,
Among Vintage Houses on Tremont Street

30.2:  Red Brick Home on Picture Postcard, 1910

     Ordinarily I have no clue about the ownership of houses seen in vintage postcards of Lincoln.  When I saw the picture postcard above, however, the corner house looked familiar.  I looked at the photos of several older houses pictured in The Namesake Town:  A Centennial History of Lincoln, Illinois.  There on page 39 is a cluster of six photos of houses, and the one in the lower right corner is clearly the same as the red-brick house above.  The caption of the photo in The Namesake Town says this house had been owned by James L. Goodnight and Wilbur Gullett.

     In response to the above paragraph, Stu Wyneken writes (7-03),

     "Thought I would let you know that Picture # 30.2: Red Brick Home of Wilbur Gullett on Picture Postcard, 1910, in the neighborhoods section, is not a picture of my grandfathers house, but rather a picture of the Hartnell home which was located directly across the street from my grandfather's. It was torn down in the late 1920's or early 1930's  Three homes stand on the lot now." Note: Mr. Wyneken passed away in 2009.

    In March 2016 Ron J. Keller, associate professor of history and political science at Lincoln College and former, long-time director of its Lincoln Heritage Museum, kindly emailed me to say his family now lives in a house that was built at the corner of Tremont and Kankakee Streets, the site depicted above at 30.2 and described by Mr. Wyneken. At Professor Keller's suggestion, I am adding his photo below, with his description beneath the photo.

30.3: Home of the Ron J. Keller Family

     Professor Keller's description: "Last fall my family and I moved into a new house closer to downtown.  We desired something with some historic character and charm and something larger than we had. We found the house on 525 Tremont Street known by the older locals as the 'Homer Harris house.' Built in 1937 by Art Gimbel, it is in my opinion one of the most beautiful homes in town, and represents one of the most unusual forms of architecture in the city. The architectural style is distinctively Tudor Style, though it is extremely rare for a Tudor Style of that era to exhibit symmetry (as symmetry is more reflective of the colonial revival style). It also is unique in that it incorporates other architectural style elements in the interior including Art Deco and Prairie Style. I think this house would be a nice inclusion on your website, for reasons not only of the uniqueness of the house itself, but also because it is on the exact spot which the postcard on your site (which I attached) now resides." Professor Keller can be reached at rkeller@lincolncollege.edu. He is also a published authority on Abraham Lincoln, and his new book about Lincoln's time in the Illinois legislature is forthcoming in 2017. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Abraham Lincoln Association:  http://www.abrahamlincolnassociation.org/.

30.4:  Colorized Picture Postcard Showing Union Street in 1910

30.5:  Picture Postcard of the Former Fogerty House in 1908

     This house was typical of the grand old houses of the early 20th Century.  I am unsure whether this house has survived into the 21st Century, but many vintage residences have.

     Postmarked September 14, 1908, this picture postcard was mailed from Lincoln to Miss Josephine Kelly of Peoria with the following message:  "A little remembrance from some Lincoln friends.  Don't forget, Jo, the interurban comes here now, making a delightful trip.  Come over sometime.  Love from all."  Signed L.C. Fogerty.

30.6:  The Former John A. Lutz Residence

     (Photo from Fish, Illustrated Lincoln, 1916, no pages used.  Fish's book also has exterior and interior photos of the department store that Mr. Lutz owned and operated in downtown Lincoln for fifty years.  The store had 14,500 square feet of floor space.  This house has survived.)

     The Lutz house is featured in The Badger Collection Featuring Lincoln of Illinois, 1987, which presents this description:  "Built in 1898 by John C. and Caroline C. Lutz. . . .  the home was completed in time for the wedding of their daughter Marian to Frank B. Gordon. . . it was built at a cost of $5,000 on land once owned by Lincoln College. . .   Lutz owned a dry goods, carpet & millinery store at 517-519 Broadway. 

     Originally of the Shingle style -- 1880 to 1910. . . .  identifying features. . . hipped roof with cross-gambrel roof. . . polygonal tower, wall extension. . . rearward recessed porch. . . . classical columns support the front, partial porch. . . . ."

30.7:  The Former Residence of F.W. Becker, First National Bank Cashier

(Photo from Fish, Illustrated Lincoln, 1916.  This residence has survived.)

30.8:  The Former William Anderson Home

(Photo provided by the late Fred Blanford)

     "Progress" has demolished the Anderson house and replaced it with a Subway sandwich shop.

     David Alan Badger presents an artistic drawing of the Anderson house in his book titled The Badger Collection Featuring Lincoln of Illinois (no pages used).  Badger offers the following history and description of the architecture: 

     "Built circa 1890. . . owned by William & Caroline Anderson. . . he came from Glasgow, Scotland. . . .  in 1849, he married Caroline C. Martin from Virginia. . . .  they moved to Logan County in 1864. . . ."

     "National Folk style--1850 to 1890. . . . identifying features. . . gable-front & wing. . . rusticated quoins. . . paired, segmental arched window. . . ."

Houses of Lincoln in the Childhood World of William Maxwell

     In twelve short stories and five books, William Maxwell refers to various houses that he knew as a child in Lincoln, mostly in the traditional neighborhoods. (Maxwell was born in 1908 and lived in Lincoln until about 1922.)  Below I cite many of these references, beginning with his parents' and grandparents' houses and extending to the houses of family acquaintances and others. 

     Here, my intention in discussing Maxwell's house descriptions is to help you understand the settings of his works situated in Lincoln, Illinois.  In turn, as you read these works, I hope you will better appreciate the artistic role of setting in the author's portrayal of the people and culture of Midwestern towns.

The Four Homes of William K. Maxwell, Sr.

   Author William Maxwell's father owned four houses in Lincoln at different times as well as at least two farms in Logan County.  After living in the home of his in-laws, the Edward Blinns, during the first year of marriage, the author's parents, the William Keepers Maxwells, "bought a modest two-story frame house. . . , a block from my Grandfather Blinn's.  [Aunt] Annette says that it had eight rooms, but that they were small.  My father wasn't going to make the mistake his father had of living in a house that was grander than he could afford" (Ancestors, p. 179). 

30.9:  Birthplace of William Maxwell

     In Ancestors, William Maxwell writes that many years later "walking past it I used to worry that it would not be there when the time came to put up the plaque.  I think I expected to be President of the United States" (p. 180).

     The second house owned by William K. Maxwell, Sr., was the celebrated house depicted at right. It is the setting of his son's novels titled They Came Like Swallows (1937) and Time Will Darken It (1948), and the house is referred to in several of his other works, including Ancestors (1971), a family history.

     The Maxwells were living here when the mother, Eva Blossom "Blos" Blinn Maxwell (b. 1889) succumbed to the Spanish flu on January 3, 1918, two days after giving birth (in either Decatur or Bloomington, Illinois -- I'm not sure which at present) to a third son, Robert Blinn (So Long, See You Tomorrow, p. 7).  Mr. Maxwell soon afterward moved from this house that sadly reminded him of his dead wife, completely disrupting his sons' lives. Yet, this house held fond memories for William Maxwell.  

30.10:  Contemporary View of the
Boyhood Home of William Maxwell

      The house continues as a private residence, and the owners graciously consented to locating a historical plaque in their yard.  Photo is from lincolndailnews.com, August 17, 2002.  Dedication of the commemorative plaque was August 24, 2002.

      The Thomas Donalds had moved next door to the senior William Maxwells (Ancestors, p. 185).  William Maxwell wrote that Mrs. Donald and his mother were best friends for many years ("A Final Report," p. 125).

     William Maxwell provides a three-page description of his boyhood home in Ancestors (pp. 185-188).  The house had been owned by a prominent Judge Hoblit, who "went bankrupt."  This house was "almost directly across the street from" the Blinns' house, where Maxwell's mother had grown up, so she was very familiar with this house before it became her home.  She redecorated the house:  "She couldn't bear dark varnished woodwork, and had it painted white upstairs and down.  In the dining room the walls were dark green and the molding was black, requiring coat after coat after coat of white enamel.  It was the only resistance the house put up.  After that it was hers" (p. 186).  Maxwell writes, "I didn't distinguish between the house and her, any more than I would have distinguished between her and her clothes or the sound of her voice or the way she did her hair" (p. 187).

     In Ancestors, Maxwell uses a long paragraph to describe the exterior features of the property:  the big yard, the "full-grown trees," "the wide comfortable porch," the bay window with the bed of lilies of the valley under it, the dining room window and the "huge white lilac bush" outside of it, the trumpet vine by the back steps, and the grape arbor (p. 187). 

     The emotional attachment Maxwell felt to this home and neighborhood was profound:  "when I was separated from it permanently, the sense of deprivation was of the kind that exiles know" (p. 187).  "During the whole of my childhood I never thought it or said it or heard it without my heart responding, and fifty years later it still does -- so much so that it is hard for me to realize that for other people what the name suggests is probably something quite ordinary.  A quiet, tree-lined street in a small town shortly before the outbreak of the First World War, is, in any event what it was" (Ancestors, p. 188).

     In his adulthood, Maxwell's infrequent homecomings to Lincoln were not complete without a walk through his boyhood neighborhood:  "When I go home, usually because of a funeral, I always end up walking down Ninth Street.  I give way to it as if it was a sexual temptation" (So Long, See You Tomorrow, p. 129).

    The third house of William Maxwell, Sr., was located in a subdivision that was new in the 1920s.  William Maxwell, Sr., and his second wife, Grace McGrath Maxwell, built this house soon after their marriage and before the insurance company he worked for promoted him and transferred him to Chicago in approximately 1922.  This house is part of the setting in So Long, See You Tomorrow (1980):

     "My father and my stepmother had seen a stucco house in Bloomington that they liked, and they got an architect to copy the exterior and then the three of them fiddled with the interior plans until they were satisfactory.  I was shown on the blueprints where my room was going to be.  In a short time the cement foundation was poured and the framing was up and you could see the actual size and shape of the rooms.  I used to go there after school and watch the carpenters hammering:  pung, pung, pung, kapung, kapung, kapung, kapung. . . " (So Long, See You Tomorrow, p. 25).  As the house was being constructed, Maxwell and classmate Cletus Smith played in it together and became friends.  Cletus's father's murder of Lloyd Wilson is the basis of the "creative memoir" titled So Long, See You Tomorrow.

30.11: Home of William and Grace McGrath Maxwell in 1922

     (photo in Burkhardt, William Maxwell: A Literary Life, after p. 170.
See Works Cited for link to more information about this impressive biography.)

     After William Maxwell, Sr., had worked in Chicago for twenty years, "a detached retina brought his career to a premature end.  They moved back to Lincoln, to the same street. . . , but a different house" ("The Front and Back Parts of the House", p. 282).  This house was the fourth in Lincoln owned by William Maxwell, Sr.

The Close Proximity of the W.K. Maxwells' Home and the Edward Blinns' Home: Maternal Grandparents of William Maxwell

30.12: Homes of William K. and Blossom Blinn Maxwell, Sr. (far left), and
the Edward Blinns (right)

Home of the Robert Creighton Maxwells:  Paternal Grandparents of William Maxwell

     From Mr. Robert Creighton Maxwell's law practice, he earned a respectable income, and the family lived in a large house. There, they had challenging expenses. Mr. Maxwell argued with his wife over her household expenditures when the annual bill came in January from the A. C. Boyd Dry Goods Store.

      In Ancestors, Maxwell describes the house of his paternal grandparents:  "All Middle Western houses of that period were dark and gloomy, and I have no reason to think that the house my grandparents built on Kickapoo Street was an exception.  I used to ride past it sometimes on my bicycle, but I was never in it.  It was large, for that time and that place, with a round tower on one corner and spiderwebs of carpenter's lace all around and even under the various porches. 

     From an old photograph, it appears that the carpenter's lace and the lace curtains in the bay window were almost identical. Driving past the house when he was  an old man, my father shook his head and remarked sadly, 'That fretwork cost eighty acres of the finest land in Logan County'" (Ancestors, p. 144).

30.13:  The Robert C. Maxwell Home at
503 N. Kickapoo St.

         (Photo from Gleason, p. 187. This house survives.)

     "The house on Kickapoo Street passed out of the family before I was born [1908], but my Aunt Annette spent a night there when she was a young woman and was outraged by an electric bell that rang loudly all through the upstairs when it was time to get up, and again when it was time to come hurrying to the table, where, to her surprise, they had steak for breakfast. . . .  It has occurred to me that the electric bell may have served a purpose my Aunt Annette was not aware of -- that it was a piece of ritual magic, intended to keep disaster away from the house" (pp. 144-145).

     The Robert Creighton Maxwell house survives and is represented in The Badger Collection Featuring Lincoln of Illinois with the following account:

     "The home of Robert C. & Margaret Maxwell. . . .  Robert was an attorney. . . .  their [grand]son, William, was a writer for [the] New Yorker magazine. . . .  his first novel, They Came Like Swallows, was published in 1934. . . .  other residents include:  Samuel M. & Flora Plaut. . .  seller of dry goods, cloaks, carpets & millinery at 530 Broadway (Plaut & Gerard). . .  also, [?] & Lena Bernstine. . . . he was the proprietor of the Lyric & Star, also known as  the Lyric Theatre at 119 S. Kickapoo (now the Lincoln Theatre). . . .  by the 1920s it was the home of George H. & Mary Hubbard. . . .  he was president of the Mt. Pulaski Grain Company. . . . he was also associated with Hubbard Bros. Grain Co. . . . ."

     "Queen Anne, 1880 to 1910 -- spindlework -- identifying features. . . . hipped roof with lower cross gables. . . . recessed arch gable with ornate wood work. . . eave braces. . . frieze panels. . . horizontal band of wood shingles between floors. . . cutaway bay windows with corner brackets. . . round tower. . . gable dormer which projects through the conical tower roof's cornice. . . round corner turret with a bulbous roof. . . highly decorative Eastlake spindlework on the porch supports. . . ."

The Maxwell Home on Union Street (William Maxwell's paternal grandmother and aunt)

     Following the death of Robert C. Maxwell, his widow moved from the large house on North Kickapoo Street to live with her son-in-law and daughter, William Maxwell's Aunt Mabel, who lived on Union Street.  Just as Maxwell portrays his boyhood home as a personification of his mother, he depicts the house on Union Street as a personification of its Maxwell inhabitants.  They are highly individualistic and religious, and William Maxwell describes his beloved Grandmother Maxwell's peculiarities in Chapter 12 of Ancestors, for example:  her literal mindedness and absence of humor (p. 198); her collection of "family heads in black oval frames" (p. 196); and her "mishmash" of a scrapbook containing news clippings about 19th-Century historical events, including Civil War battles. 

       In Chapter 10 of Ancestors, Maxwell describes the peculiarity of the Maxwell house on Union Street:  "It is abundantly clear that the carpenter who built the house was quite positive he didn't need any help from an architect.  Pigheadedly proceeding, he solved his problems as he went, making the foundation too high, cutting off a corner here and skimping there, and scratching his head when he found that he hadn't allowed enough room for the stairs.  Not being old enough to understand the part money plays in human affairs, I assumed it was entirely from choice that my aunt and uncle lived where they did, and, actually, I never heard them express any discontent with their house, which was very like them.  But probably if they had been given a choice they would have preferred to go on living in the house on Kickapoo Street, if only because from the front windows you could see the Christian church" (pp. 169-170).

     The house on Union Street personifies the religious views of this side of William Maxwell's family.  The "box-like" shape of the house (p. 168) suggests the confining religious views of its occupants:  "The house on Union Street knew the Bible backwards and forwards, and could quote chapter and verse to prove that dancing was wrong, in itself and because of what it led to.  So was playing cards for money.  And swearing.  And drinking anything stronger than grape juice or lemonade.  And spending Sunday in any other way than going to church and coming home and eating a big dinner afterward" (p.169).

     Sometimes the religious discussions pulled other family members into this house:  William Maxwell writes that his father "remained on the outside but was called in when things got out of hand.  I myself was once called upon to adjudicate an argument between my Aunt Maybel and my Aunt Bert -- about whether the Oberammergau Passion Play was in Switzerland or the Holy Land -- and so I have an idea of what heat they brought to bear on matters of real emotional substance" (p. 175).

The Three Homes of the Thomas Donalds

     In the Badger Collection Featuring Lincoln Illinois, David Alan Badger identifies the house in 30.11 as the home of Thomas C. and Pearl Donald, who were married in 1892.  Badger says that by 1910 this house was owned by Dr. F.L. & Lura (Colley) Hamil (he was a dentist).

     The Donalds' second home was apparently on Eighth Street.  They were living there in approximately 1905-1909 when Author Maxwell's parents lived in their first home on that street:  "My father and mother had become intimate friends with a somewhat older couple who lived next door to them on Eight Street" (Ancestors, p. 184).

    Maxwell writes that "soon after [his parents moved to Ninth Street], Dr. Donald bought the Kings' house, next door:  Eighth Street was too far away.  I was two years old [1910] when all this happened, my brother six or seven" (Ancestors, p. 185).

30.14:  The First Thomas Donald Home

     (Artistic drawing from The Badger Collection Featuring Lincoln of Illinois, 1987)

      The first Donald house survives and is represented in The Badger Collection Featuring Lincoln of Illinois, 1987, (30.11) with the following description:

     "Queen Anne, 1880-1910 -- spindle work. . . identifying features. . . hipped roof with lower cross gables. . . wraparound porch. . . turned porch supports. . . decorative wood shingles in the gables. . . horizontal band of wood shingles between floors. . . second story porch. . . cutaway bay windows with brackets. . . clapboard siding with corner boards. . . ."

 The Latham Home

     William Maxwell describes the Latham house at right:  "facing the Christian Church in Lincoln, across that little park with a bandstand in the center of it, was the white clapboard mansion of the Honorable Robert B. Latham. 

     I remember it was a very beautiful old house with slender posts supporting the upstairs porches, shutters at all the windows, wooden balustrades here and there, and a cupola. . . .

     The second generation of his descendants went through their inheritance so fast that gossip could hardly keep up with them, and in the early 1920s his house was sold to a real estate developer, a golfing companion of my father's, who tore it down and put up a row of semi-identical bungalows" (Ancestors, pp. 300-301).

30.15:  The Robert B. Latham Home

      North Kickapoo and Delavan Streets across from Latham Park (19th-Century, demolished, site of historical marker).

     (Photo in Gleason, Lincoln:  A Pictorial History, p. 16)

The D.H. Harts, Sr., Home

30:16:  Home of D.H. Harts, Sr., on Eighth Street, Where William Maxwell as a Child Picked Violets

(Photo provided by Dave Johnson, LCHS Class of 1956)

     I have several publications on the history of Lincoln, Illinois, but had never seen a photo of the residence of D.H. Harts, Sr., and was unaware that one even existed until Dave Johnson emailed me to say he had found an old publication in his basement that contained numerous photos of buildings and houses in Lincoln.  I was pleasantly surprised to find the book contains the above photo, which Dave was kind enough to email me.  The book with this photo was published in 1903 by the Lincoln Woman's Club and is titled simply Views.  A close look at the full-sized photo shows streetcar tracks, and several sources verify that the streetcar did indeed run on Eighth Street from Union to College Street.

30.17:  William Maxwell's References to the
Home of D.H. Harts, Sr., in Ancestors and So Long, See You Tomorrow

(Photo of Ozark violets in Leigh Henson's backyard in Springfield, MO, 4-03)    

     Note:  David H. Harts, Jr., did eventually marry later in life (his 50s, I believe).  He married Florence Johnson, who taught music at Lincoln College.  Mr. and Mrs. Harts are seen in a photo at 34. A Tribute to the Historians and Advocates of Lincoln, Illinois.  D.H. Harts, Jr., lived in a grand old house on Tenth Street, and as far as I know that house remains. More information about D.H. Harts, Sr., and D.H. Harts, Jr., is presented at 16. The Foley House:  A Monument to Civic Leadership (on the National Register of Historic Places).

The Brainerd Home

     The Brainerd home is cited in William Maxwell's "With Reference to an Incident at a Bridge." In that story, Maxwell describes Lincoln College biology Professor Chris Oglevee as his Boy Scout troop leader and mentions that Oglevee lived in the Brainerd mansion and was like a son to Mrs. Brainerd (All the Days and Nights, p. 266). This picturesque house "was often used for social gatherings of the Lincoln community and college" (Lindstrom and Carruthers, Lincoln:  The Namesake College, p. 75).

30.18: Artistic Drawing of the Former Brainerd Home by David Alan Badger

(From The Badger Collection Featuring Lincoln of Illinois, 1987)

     The Brainerd house survives. Artist-Author David Alan Badger describes the Brainerd mansion (elliptical periods his):  "Construction began in 1874. . . the house was originally a square, hipped roof Italianate style home. . . additions & remodelings were made during the 1880s & 1890s . . . the pillars came from the old Springfield Marine Bank. . . this was the home of Benj. H. & Ella (Williams) [sic] Brainerd . . . he was a large real estate owner in Logan & Sangamon Counties . . . also, he was involved in banking under the name Brainerd & Duston . . . he aided in organizing the Lincoln National Bank.  

     Identifying features. . . front gable that crosses into a low-pitched hipped roof. . . fluted, classical columns with Corinthian capitals. . . broken, pedimented entry with a fanlight & sidelights. . . (The Badger Collection Featuring Lincoln of Illinois, no page numbers used).

The John Dean Gillett Hill Family    

     John Dean Gillett Hill (1884--1962) was one of the best friends of William Maxwell's father. Mr. Hill is favorably described in Maxwell's short nonfiction narrative titled "My Father's Friends" (1984). Maxwell admits he had known Mr. Hill "since I was a young boy, and never had a conversation with him" until the day after Maxwell's father's funeral in 1958. Maxwell wrote, "Two of my father's friends were not well enough to come to the funeral. . . . Dean Hill was a man my father went fishing with. He was also a cousin of my stepmother. He had inherited a great many acres of Illinois farmland, and he had a beautiful wife. Apart from a trip to Biloxi in the dead of winter, they lived very much as other Lincoln people of moderate means did."

     Maxwell was surprised when his visit with Mr. Hill revealed he was an intelligent and appreciative reader of books. Mr. Hill remarked that what interested him was "what he [the writer] is carefully not saying, or saying and doesn't know that he is. What his real position is, as distinct from the stated one. It keeps me amused. All forms of deception are entertaining to contemplate, don't you find?  Particularly self-deception, which is what life is largely made up of." Maxwell adds, "While living all his life in a very small Middle Western town and keeping his eye on his farms, he [Mr. Hill] had managed to be aware of the world outside in a way no one else there was. Or at least no one I knew" (All the Days and Nights: The Collected Stories, NY: Vintage, p. 272). Maxwell does not mention that the astute Mr. Hill had earned a law degree from Harvard University.

     In Ancestors: A Family History (1971), William Maxwell describes the fishing expeditions of his father, Mr. Hill, and another friend during their retirement years. My guess is that the setting was Lincoln Lakes. "Dean Hill had a bad heart and wasn't allowed to row the boat, my father was more than half blind, and the third man was deaf as a post. They took a humorous pleasure in compensating for one another's physical deficiencies. When my father had a bite but couldn't see that his cork was bobbing wildly, the other two would cry, 'Bill, you've got something on your line!' And when this crisis was passed, out would come the pint of whiskey. Sooner or later, the conversation always got around to a subject that both Dean Hill and my father loved to talk about--the Gillett family lawsuit" (Ancestors, p. 158). (For an account and photos of a Lincolnite gentleman in a business suit fishing at Lincoln Lakes at mid-twentieth century, see images #6 and #7 and related text at http://findinglincolnillinois.com/fikuarts.html.)

     This legendary lawsuit concerned the Gillett family's dispute over the inheritance of millions of dollars from the vast agricultural empire that had been built by John D. Gillett, one of the founding fathers of Lincoln, Illinois. Mr. Gillett was known as "the Cattle King." This dispute is an interesting story within the story of Maxwell's own family, and I suggest you would enjoy reading this material and other accounts in Ancestors.

     As an attorney and businessman, Mr. Hill "was associated with the Logan County Title Company, the Lincoln Savings & Loan, the Decatur Gravel Company. . . " (Badger, The Badger Collection Featuring Lincoln of Illinois, no page).  (For information about the Logan County Title Company, see 19.  Business Heritage. Mr. Hill was instrumental in helping with the repurchase of the Postville Courthouse site that prepared the way for the construction of its replica in 1953. For an account this public service activity, see 2. The Story of the Postville Courthouse Replica, Tantivy, & Memoir of the Postville Park Neighborhood in the Route 66 Era.

     Mr. and Mrs. John Dean Gillett Hill lived in a distinctive house on Lincoln Avenue--in one of Lincoln's historic neighborhoods. (According to Badger, their house allegedly was the first in Lincoln to have a basement dug by a "bulldozer.") The Hills' house was one of two that his mother, Mrs. Katherine Gillett Hill (1855--1935), and he built. Her father, John D. Gillett, was one of Lincoln's founding fathers. Mr. Hill and his wife, Irene (Harris), named their home Irendean--a compound of his name and hers (Badger, no page numbers used). Katherine Gillett Hill's adjacent home, also of Spanish design, was named Suma Ray, meaning "perfect peace" in Spanish. Later, Suma Ray was the home of Mr. Hill's sister, the faded socialite, eccentric Lemira Hunt (1891--1972).

30.19:  Artistic Drawing of Irendean by David Alan Badger

     Irendean survives. In his book of artistic drawings, David Alan Badger depicts and describes Irendean and Suma Ray.  He identifies the architectural style of both as "Spanish eclectic," a popular style from 1915 to 1940 (The Badger Collection Featuring Lincoln of Illinois, no page numbers used).  Originally, "both houses were pink stucco with blue tile roofs."

     An article titled "Twenty Homes Featured on Local Tour" in lincolndailnews.com (May 8, 200) dates the construction of Irendean and Suma Ray to about 1927.  "The balustrades and entrance door pillars were carved on-site and designed to match the interior fireplaces."

     Badger summarizes Irendean's "identifying features [as]. . . low-pitched tiled roof. . . double-sash door which opens onto balconies. . . ornamental iron window grilles. . . broken, pedimented door surround. . . spiral columns. . . ."

     The entrance and fireplace of Irendean were the work of master stone carver Joseph Petarde of Peoria, Illinois.  Petarde was a vigorous craftsman whose work survives in Peoria (e.g., St. Peter's Church, G.A.R. Building, and numerous monuments in Springdale Cemetery) and such other central Illinois cities as Bloomington (Illinois Wesleyan School of Music, harp and violin designs), Champaign (Huff Gymnasium), Normal (old gym at Illinois State University), and Springfield (entrance building at the Illinois State Fairgrounds). See complete list below on this page following the images. "He might have disappeared from memory except that his house attracted newspaper writers and photographers when it was first completed in 1922.  At that time the neighbors were shocked and angry about the semi-nude figures at the porch corners, but gradually they became accustomed to it."  In Lincoln, one other work by Petarde is a seated cat at a house once owned by Jack Harrison -- wherever that was/is. (Adelaide N. Cooley, "Joseph Petarde, Immigrant Stonecarver," Outdoor Illinois, May, 1977, p. 39).

Home of John Dean Gillett Hill's Mother, Katherine Gillett Hill, and Her Daughter, Lemira Hunt

30.20: David Badger's Artistic Drawing of Suma Ray

     Badger summarizes Suma Ray's "identifying features. . . parapeted walls with coping. . . casement windows with round arches. . . walls clad with stucco. . . the doors and windows are emphasized by spiral columns. . . decorative window grilles of iron. . .  broken, pedimented entry. . .  this style is rarely found outside of Florida & Southwestern United States. . . ." The drawing shows the east side of the house, which faces Irendean.

     Irendean and Suma Ray are just two of many remaining historic houses that people enjoy seeing when they drive through Lincoln's traditional neighborhoods. Historic houses of various styles may be observed -- Craftsman, Greek Revival, Italianate, Second Empire, Spanish, Tudor, and Victorian.

     In her 1912 book titled The Part Taken by Women in American History (The Perry-Nalle Publishing Co., Wilmington, Delaware), Mrs. John A. Logan included a biographical sketch of Mrs. Gillett Hill, noting that Katharine Gillett had been educated in a convent at Springfield, Illinois. Mrs. Logan wrote: "At the death of her father, Mrs. Gillett Hill took entire charge of her farming lands, not even requiring the assistance of an overseer. She has for twenty years managed as capably and as systematically as any business man her five thousand acres of farm land in and about Lincoln, Illinois, having about fifty tenants under her supervision. She is a woman of varied qualifications and interests, being artistic and musical, a splendid mother and likewise is greatly interested in the woman suffrage movement. Farming with her is not amateurish, and not the fad of a rich woman, but with Mrs. Gillett Hill it is at once an art and a science, and a very remunerative business, which has made her one of the best-known farmers in America. She is none the less womanly for her business capabilities. From her childhood she has been a fine horsewoman, and having been gifted with a beautiful voice, she has done much charitable work with her musical voice. With her fine intellect, she has become a writer of some note and is withal a splendid entertainer, possessing great natural wit and repartee. She has been much sought after in the social world. Mrs. Gillett Hill in the year 1910 purchased a charmingly artistic home in Washington, D.C., and this home, once a studio, has proved to be one of the most unique and picturesque residences in the city" (p. 895). I find no information explaining the exact circumstances of Mrs. Hill's move from Washington, D.C., to Lincoln, Illinois, where she managed her farms and built Suma Ray on Lincoln Avenue in the late 1920s.

     According to The Nebraska and Midwest Genealogical Record (Vol. 7, No. 1, January 1929), Lemira Gillett Hill (1891--1972) married US Army Lieutenant James Nichols Wynn McClure of Kentucky in December 1917 at Washington, D.C. in her distinctive home at 2133 R. Street. The wedding announcement in the Washington Herald (12-16-1917) describes the setting and bride: "a very large, artistic living room . . . adorned with Christmas trees across the far end of the studio. . . . The bride is a gifted musician: her voice is a fine one, and she is an excellent pianist. Long before the craze of the ukulele she learned to play that instrument in Hawaii, where she and her mother usually spend a portion of each year. They have large fruit interests there." Lemira and James McClure had a son named John Dean Gillett McClure. In 1941, after spending summers in Lincoln, he married during his senior year at Harvard University. I do not know about the fate of Lemira's marriage to James McClure, and I have not researched the life of her son or the story of Lemira's later marriage to a Mr. Hunt. Sometime after Lemira's mother, Katherine Gillett Hill, passed in 1935, Lemira made Suma Ray her home, after having lived in Washington, D.C.

     The photo below shows a contemporary view of Suma Ray, Lemira's home. This photo was taken by fellow Linconite John Smock. His family lived on Lincoln Avenue, and he kindly gave permission for use of the photo here.


30.21: Suma Ray on Lincoln Avenue in Lincoln, Illinois

     I am neither a professional historian--never taught history or earned a living by publishing historical research--nor a genealogical researcher, so my information about Lemira Hunt is limited. She was a "larger than life" Lincolnite. I became aware of her when I was a teenager hanging out at the Dial and Jones Texaco gas station at Fifth and Union Streets in Lincoln. There I saw her limousine, driven by a black chauffeur, on Union Street headed to and from the neighborhood of the Catholic churches, just a block south of that intersection. The rumor was that she rode in the back seat sometimes naked. From my view on the gas station driveway, I tried but could never see well enough into the vehicle to know. Another rumor I heard was that the physical intimacy between Mrs. Hunt and her chauffeur was more advanced than that of the main characters in Driving Miss Daisy.

     As a teenager, I always had the impression that Mrs. Hunt was going (then clothed, I would expect) to church as a good Catholic. More than a half century later, I read posts on Facebook that said she went to this part of town to harass students attending St. Pat's and St. Mary's Catholic grade schools. On Facebook Nancy Kleinman wrote that when she was a kid on the playground, Lemira would "yell stuff like 'to hell with the pope' or 'down with the Pope'." The reason for Lemira's religious outrage is unclear, perhaps related to her family's membership in the Episcopal Church. As an infant, Lemira Katharine Gillett was baptized at the Chapel of Saint John Baptist in Elkhart Cemetery, Elkhart, Illinois (Journals of the Special Synod and the Synod of the Holy Catholic Church in the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, 1892, page 36). Her baptismal site is now known as John the Baptist Chapel and is affiliated with the Episcopal Church: http://www.oldgillettfarm.org/chapel.shtml.

     Lemira Gillett Hill graduated from Miss Chamberlain's School in Boston. The image below, showing Miss Hill as a thoughtful reader, appears at Find a Grave:  http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=13034596&PIpi=145288170. That entry credits the Washington, D.C. Evening Star, 9-2-1916, as the source, which only says: "Mrs. Katharine Gillett Hill and Miss Lemura [sic] Gillett Hill, who are in Washington for a few days, stopping at the Lafayette, spent the past summer at Narragansett Pier and Newport. They are now en route to the Lindens, Mrs. Gillett Hill's farm in Lincoln, Ill., where they will spend the early autumn, returning here for the winter."

30.22: Miss Hill as a Young Sophisticate

     Lemira Gillett Hill Hunt was proud of her grandfather as one of the three founders of the First Lincoln Namesake Town. She wrote an account of the town's founding in which she credits her Grandmother Lemira Louise Parke Gillett as the one who originated the idea of naming the town for Mr. Lincoln. Mrs. Hunt's credibility as a historian, however, is undercut by the inaccurate statement that implies the town was founded on land owned exclusively by her grandfather [one of three who had invested in that real estate], and her account of the town's layout is goofy, whether she was being serious or whimsical:

     "My Grandfather John Dean Gillett hired the then unknown Abe Lincoln (a 'new young man' from Kentucky) to plat (in 1853) and incorporate (in 1857) a town on land he owned so that the freight trains would stop to load his shorthorn cattle. Lincoln, who was a lawyer, and my grandfather rode horseback 20 miles north from Springfield to spend the night in grandfather's farm home. My grandmother was enchanted with the courteous and witty guest and said, "John, why not name the town for that nice young man?" The next morning they rode out about 10 miles. Grandfather and Mr. Lincoln stepped off the blocks for the proposed town--so many paces to a block. Lincoln was tall and grandfather was short--that's why there is a disparity in street block lengths here today. Farmers gathered around on the day of the christening. Lincoln chose a ripe watermelon from a wagon, smashed it over the wheel of a spring wagon, and christened the town. This was the first town ever named for Lincoln--by his consent, and long before he became famous." Source: Illinois. Illinois Towns, from the files of the Lincoln Financial Foundation. (For information about the Gillett family home near Elkhart, Tantivy, see 2.8 and related text--including the chainsaw massacre of its logs--at http://findinglincolnillinois.com/memoirofpostville.html.)

     Mrs. Hunt had inherited land in and near Lincoln, including some of the acreage obtained by the Logan County Board to build its airport and the thirty acres obtained by the District 303 Board of Education used to build its 1959 Lincoln Community High School at the east end of Wyatt Avenue. She received $45,500 for these thirty acres. She also owned a "cottage" on Cottonwood Lane at Lincoln Lakes. According to a report in the Bloomington Daily Pantagraph (2-24-1954), city and rural fire departments were called to Mrs. Hunt's cottage to extinguish a roof fire, which caused little damage.

     Mrs. Hunt apparently kept close track of her various properties. According to a report in the Bloomington Daily Pantagraph (10-18-1949) tilted "Woman Asks Court to Order Line Removed," she filed a "suit for ejectment and $10,000 damages . . . in circuit court Saturday . . . against the Central Illinois Illinois Electric and Gas Company. The plaintiff alleges the utility company has been using right of way for a power line on her farm at Amarilla, northeast of Lincoln, unlawfully since 1940 and asks that the line be withdrawn."

     The next section consists of anecdotes about Mrs. Hunt's peculiarities. Local eccentrics are sometimes the target of pranksters. The following is a news report from the Bloomington Daily Pantagraph (12-25-1954) titled "42 Windows in Lincoln Broken": "Police Chief Earl Minder today was investigating the smashing of 42 windows in the home of Mrs. Lemira Hunt, 119 Lincoln Ave., by two 7-year-old boys Wednesday night. The youngsters admitted the vandalism but would give no reason for stoning the house. They said they tossed rocks through the windows of one side of the house about 5 p.m. and returned about 7:00 p.m. to break windows on the other side. Neighbors heard the noise during the second attack and notified police. The boys said they had not entered the house and used rocks found in the yard. Mrs. Hunt was away from home, spending the summer at Mackinac Island, Michigan. Chief Minder estimated the damage at more than $400, and the parents have agreed to pay for it."

Anecdotes About Lemira Hunt Posted by Lincolnites on Facebook Testify to Her Eccentricity

     John Smock, son of the popular LCHS band director Bill Smock (Lincoln's own "Leader of the Band"), posted the above color photo of Suma Ray (30.21) on Facebook early in October 2016, noting that "every town has an eccentric person or two living in it. We just happened to live on the same street as one of them." John's post sparked a series of comments. I chose the nuggets below, with minimal editing, from those posts. Most likely, Mrs. Hunt's peculiarities are related to the difference between her youthful, privileged life as socialite and her later, less-glamorous life in a Midwestern, small, conservative community.

     "One Christmas, she gave us a record album of dogs barking Christmas carols." --Mark Hanger

     "We moved to Lincoln Avenue in 1963. When the mail arrived, we received a letter from Mrs. Hunt. Word for word, this was the conclusion to her letter: "I am 150 years old. Please keep your children in your yard and I will keep my dogs in mine." By the way, we never received any Christmas gifts from her. I loved reading her rambling, alcohol-influenced letters to the editor in the Courier. Charles Bukowski had nothing on her when it came to 'spirited.' The UPS truck would make regular deliveries of whiskey directly to her home every Thursday at 4:00 p.m. sharp." --John Smock [Ref: https://www.google.com/#q=charles+bukowski]

     "I delivered the Courier on Lincoln Ave. 1946-48 and Lemira was one of my customers. When I collected on Sat. morning, she would come to the door in her negligee. They were the 1920's style, with fur like collars. She would also walk her dog on Lincoln Ave, wearing only her negligee. The dog leash in one hand and a martini in the other. Sometimes the butler/chauffeur would answer the door, but Lemira always paid me, one week at a time." Walter Bud Miller

     "It was like living across the street from Cruella Deville [Cruella de Vil] --remember when we dared each other to right on the sidewalk right in front of her house so we could see in-I did see in once and it scared the crap out of me. And remember those bats everywhere--they were only fruit bats and I love them now but OMG!" -- Lou Awe [Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruella_de_Vil]

     "When Connie Dehner and I were young Girl Scouts and selling cookies door to door, we got up enough nerve to knock on her door. When she came to the door (all kinds of scary noises including her boxer dogs), we just turned and ran! I still remember that like it was yesterday." --Becky Tesh Werth

     "I grew up 1 block away on Lincoln Ave. We used to harass Mrs. Hunt from across the street. She had a huge spotlight she kept in the upstairs center window. She would hear us chanting her name outside and she would point that spotlight out at us across the street hiding behind trees etc." --Eric Taylor

     "Mrs. Hunt had a polar bear rug in the entry room ,that thing was huge." Troy Hanger

      "Lemira and Mrs. [John Dean Gillett] HILL [sisters-in-law who lived in adjacent houses] had a fight, and Mrs. Hill got so mad she took the walk way out between their 2 houses and planted bushes so Lemira could not walk straight through to Mrs. Hill's house anymore." --Jan Malerich

     "My dad was a mailman and once told me of a substitute mailman accidentally delivered some of Mrs. Hillís mail to Lemira. The next day, the regular mailman got chewed out by Lemira for delivering that B_TCHES mail to her!" --Nancy Kleinman

     "Stories appearing here are correct; I lived one block down Lincoln Ave. When she walked her Corgies, she took Kleenex, wiped their little butts & dropped the Kleenex on the spot. ONE MORE BIGGIE!! She was a good customer of ours [Gossett Cleaners & Furriers, then located at 114 S. Chicago St.]; had several furs, in the day when they were not out of floor. We had an insured & climate controlled vault built to store furs, etc. Early May one year I called her to make sure we did not run out of room before getting her FURS. 'Lemira, I just wanted to make sure we had your furs, because the vault is getting full.' Lemira -'Oh don't worry . . . this year, I put them in my deep freeze chests.' AND SHE DID JUST THAT."  --Bill Gossett [a nonagenarian "larger than life" "true Lincolnite at heart," who could write a book on the eccentric Lincolnites he has known.]

     Robert "Bob" Olson wants to set the record straight to offset the negative impression of Lemira Hunt reflected in the above Facebook comments. On Facebook he posted: "Mrs. Lemira Hunt was a nice person who had to be somewhat guarded because of her wealth. Overall, she gave my Dad his first big business opportunity (he was her farm manager 1964-1972). I have read enough correspondence between Mr. J.D.G. Hill and his sister to assure you that Mrs. Hunt was almost entirely guided and taught about being a landlord by her brother (who was, of course, a leading attorney himself). I do not know if Mrs. Hunt had anything to do with the farm business before her mother's death in 1935, but I have seen a series of letters dated 1940 between Mr. Hill and Mrs. Hunt, and you can clearly see that he is trying to teach his sister the fine details of managing a large farm estate. Mr. Hill did a lot of work for his mother, Katherine Gillett Hill, from 1910 until her death and he was expert in such matters." Bob also reports: "Mr. J.D.G. Hill must have had one of the finest educations of any person, in any era, who hailed from Logan County, Illinois. His secondary education included The Coulter School in Chicago, Williams College (BA 1907) at Williamstown, Massachusetts, and the Law School at Harvard University (Bachelor of Laws, 1910). Harvard Law is impressive, but Williams College is perhaps America's finest private college, then and now. Mr. Paul Gleason has called Mr. Hill "one of the most important Logan County persons whom you've probably never heard of." Indeed one of Mr. Hill's civic-minded projects was helping to acquire the Postville Courthouse block so that the courthouse replica could be built. As I reposted on another page in this website: "D.F. Nickols continued his efforts in Lincoln to find the right people and the necessary money. With the help of Attorney Dean Gillett Hill, a financial plan was devised. "Franklin Nickols, son of D.F. Nickols, who was in Detroit, the-then home of Mr. Ranney, opened the final negotiations, assuring Mr. Ranney that the site would be dedicated to the memory of Abraham Lincoln."  Ref: http://findinglincolnillinois.com/memoirofpostville.html.

Joseph Petarde's Art That Eventually Played in Peoria (but would it ever in Lincoln, Illinois?)

     The work of stone carver Joseph Petarde on Irendean and Suma Ray helps to make them two of the most architecturally distinct structures in Lincoln. My curiosity about Petarde led me to search for the home he built for his family in Peoria, Illinois. It took me a while to find the house in a working class neighborhood, but I was happy when I did, and in 2003 I took these photos with permission of the owner (a Petarde descendant). The owner told me that various scholars of architecture, art, and photography have made similar requests over the years.

30.23: Atlas's Hands Hold Up His Loin Cloth While His Shoulders Support the Porch Roof

30.24: Front Porch

30.25: Front Porch Detail

30.26: Semi-Nude Female on the Side of the Front Porch

     Note: Mr. Petarde was attempting to be discreet because his semi-nude ladies are not conspicuous from the street.

30.27: Semi-Nude Closeup


     For information about Mr. Petarde's statue of Abraham Lincoln named The President, which was beheaded and buried in an unmarked grave in Lincoln Park in Springfield, Illinois, access http://findinglincolnillinois.com/buriedlincolnstatue.html#josephpetarde.

Sources Cited

     Badger, David Alan. The Badger Collection Featuring Lincoln of Illinois.  Privately published, 1987.  Mr. Badger's material is copyrighted with all rights reserved.  Use of his material in this Web site is with his permission.

     Burkhardt, Barbara. William Maxwell: A Literary Life. Urbana, IL: The University of Illinois Press, 2005. For information about this well-researched biography, including how to order it, see http://www.press.uillinois.edu/s05/burkhardt.html.

     Cooley, Adelaide N. "Joseph Petarde, Immigrant Stonecarver," Outdoor Illinois, May, 1977.

     Gleason, Paul. Lincoln, Illinois:  A Pictorial History.  St. Louis, MO: G. Bradley Publishing, 1998. Material from Mr. Gleason's books is copyrighted with all rights reserved.  Mr. Gleason's material used in this Web site is with permission from the G. Bradley Publishing Company, 461 Des Peres Road, St. Louis, MO 63131. Call 1-800-966-5120 to inquire about purchasing Lincoln, Illinois:  A Pictorial History (1998) (200 pages of rare photos and text) or Logan County Pictorial History (2000) (also 200 pages of rare photos and text).   Visit http://gbradleypublishing.com/.

     Historic preservation in Lincoln, Illinois: http://archives.lincolndailynews.com/2001/May/19/News_new/today_a.shtml

     Maxwell, William.  Ancestors:  A Family History.  NY:  Vintage Books, 1971. 

     __________ .  "My Father's Friends."  All the Days and Nights:  the Collected Stories.  NY:  Vintage Books, 1995.

     William Maxwell's works are available at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com.


      Email comments, corrections, questions, or suggestions. 
Also please email me if this Web site helps you decide to visit Lincoln, Illinois: DLHenson@missouristate.edu


"The Past Is But the Prelude"

The founding fathers of this town asked their attorney, Abraham Lincoln, for permission to name this new community after him, and he agreed.  On the first day lots were publicly sold--August 27, 1853--, Abraham Lincoln, near the site of the train depot, used watermelon juice to christen the town as Lincoln, Illinois.  It thus became the first town named for Abraham Lincoln before he became famous.