I love old houses. I also love to do black/white photography so this seemed like an ideal time to join in the fun with Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge.
It’s more than the architecture that I find interesting; it’s the history of the house and the people who lived there that brings the place to life and gives it an added dimension.
The Lincoln Tallman House in Jaynesville, Illinois was built in 1855 for lawyer William Morrison Tallman but it’s chief claim to fame is the fact that Abraham Lincoln stayed there overnight after he made a series of speeches in Beloit in 1859. The Tallman family lived in the house until 1915 and in 1950 it was donated to the city on condition that it be turned into a public museum.
The Ward W. Willits House in Highland Park was designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1901 and is thought to be Wright’s first true Prairie style house. The Willits family and Wright remained friends after the house was built but after Willits died in 1954 the building fell into disrepair and, after standing empty for some time, was eventually purchased in 1983 by Milton Robinson. He and his wife spent a large amount of time, money and effort on restoring the house and they lived there for many years until tragedy struck in 2013 when Sylvie Robinson took her own life in the beloved house where she was married. It now appears to have again fallen into a state of dilapidation and it’s future would seem uncertain.
The Paul Dillon Home in Sterling, Illinois was built in 1857 for Colonel Edward Kirk. History would suggest, however, that the house had its drawbacks since it had eleven different owners before Washington M Dillon purchased it in 1882. It eventually passed to his son Paul and after he died in 1980 the house was turned over to the Sterling Park District.
The house in Cantigny Park was originally built for Joseph Medill but after his death it passed to his grandson Colonel Robert R McCormick, owner and publisher of the Chicago Tribune newspaper. Many famous people visited here including, I believe, Sir Winston Churchill. Now, thanks to the Robert R McCormick Charitable Trust, the house and grounds are open to the public.
The Kinder House in Des Plaines, Illinois was built for local hardware store owner Benjamin F Kinder in 1907 and is now part of the Des Plaines History Center. It was originally situated on Lee Street but was moved in its entirety to a new home on Pearson Street in 1978. Quite an undertaking!
The Dole Mansion in Crystal Lake was built in the 1860’s and stood on 1,000 acres of land overlooking the lake. The size of the property has since dwindled and this beautiful old house, after having several owners, has sadly fallen into disrepair although the Lakeside Legacy Foundation is making a brave effort to restore it to its former glory.
For more on Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge go to http://ceenphotography.com/2015/06/25/cees-black-white-photo-challenge-houses/