1860 photo taken 4 days after Mr. Lincoln visited Lincoln, Illinois, for the last time. Info at 3 below.

This President grew;
His town does too.
Link to Lincoln:
Lincoln & Logan County Development Partnership

Site Map

Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission of Lincoln, IL

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 the Founding of Lincoln, Illinois
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)

Directory of Email Addresses of 168 Mid-20th Century LCHS Alums

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

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 i

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

Dave Armbrust's Memorabilia of Lincoln, Illinois

Leigh Henson's Review of Dr. Barabara 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

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

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, including excerpts from Young in Illinois and from Maxwell's letters to Robert; family photos and information from Robert's only child, Sue Young Wilson; commentary from Literary Critic Lee Walleck; and memoir by Curt Johnson

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 [email protected]

              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."

     Respond to Stu at [email protected].

30.3:  Colorized Picture Postcard Showing Union Street in 1910

30.4:  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.

30.5:  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. . . . ."

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

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

30.7:  The Former William Anderson Home

(Photo provided by 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). 

30.8:  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.  

30.9:  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.

30.10: 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

30.11: 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).

30.12:  The Robert C. Maxwell Home

         (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).

30.13:  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).

30.14:  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

30:15:  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.

30.16:  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).

30.17:  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 Home    

     John Dean Gillett Hill was one of the two best friends of William Maxwell's father.  John D.G. Hill is favorably described in Maxwell's short nonfiction narrative titled "My Father's Friends' (1984).  Maxwell admits the he never had a conversation with Hill until after his father's death in 1958 and then was surprised to find that Hill was an intelligent and appreciative reader of books.  Hill said 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" (p. 272).

     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).

     This 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.  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 in one of Lincoln's traditional 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, and he built.  She was a daughter of one of Lincoln's founding fathers, John D. Gillett.  Irendean was the name given to the house John Dean Gillett Hill and his wife lived in.  Irendean is a compound of his name and that of his wife, Irene (Harris) (Badger, no page numbers used).  The adjacent house, also with Spanish design, was named Suma Ray, meaning "perfect peace" in Spanish. It was built by Mr. Hill's mother, Mrs. Katherine Gillett Hill. Later, Suma Ray was the home of Lemira Gillett Hunt McClure.

30.18:  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).  "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).

The Home of John Dean Gillett Hill's Mother, Mrs. Katherine Gillett Hill

30.19: 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. . . ."

      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.

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.

30.20: Atlass's Hands Hold Up His Loin Cloth While His Shoulders Support the Porch Roof

30.21: Front Porch

30.22: Front Porch Detail

30.23: 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.

30.24: Semi-Nude Closeup


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.  Please visit his Web site at www.davidalanbadger.com.

     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.


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"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.

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