Edwardsville, Illinois

Edwardsville, Illinois

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Saint Louis Street

A Historic Destination.
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915 Saint Louis Street

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Our home at 915 St. Louis Street began its recorded history as lots 11, 12, 29 and 30 of The Joseph Gillespie Addition annexed to the west side of Edwardsville, IL. On March 6, 1883 by Judge Joseph Gillespie and his wife Mary E. Gillespie.  The addition consisted of 55 subdivided lots to be sold and developed by Judge Gillespie.  ... Read more

824 St. Louis Street:The Travous House

“Attorney C. N. Travous and family will move into their handsome new residence on St. Louis Street the latter part of the week” was the announcement in the Edwardsville Intelligencer on September 10, 1895.  Nearly 114 years later, the Travous house is still a “handsome” structure that has been home to some of Edwardsville’s lead... Read more

627 St. Louis Street: The E. M. West Ho

The classic Italianate and Greek Revival style brick house at 627 St. Louis Street was built by Edward M. West in 1858.  Modern-day residents of Edwardsville know this house as the former Pletcher or Schneider Funeral Home. But it is vitally important to the history and legacy of the house to know it as the historic “Wes... Read more

730 St. Louis Street: Crane House

The classic Queen Anne style home at 730 St. Louis Street was built for George B. Crane in 1893.  Crane was born May 20, 1830 on a farm in Seneca County, New York, one of five children of Amsey and Nancy (Crosby) Crane.  At the age of 16 he moved to New York City where he w... Read more

744 St. Louis Street: The Burroughs Hous

The first record of the property now known as 744 St. Louis Street was filed when John Robinson obtained it as part of a land grant in 1814.  It remained part of the Robinson farm until the land was purchased in about 1850 by Edward West.  West purchased the property with adjoining land as an investment.  At t... Read more

1020 Saint Louis Street

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  This history of 1020 Saint Louis Street began long, long ago and will be covered in a separate story, The Steinmeyer House.Early in the 1870\'s Judge Michael G. Dale built his elegant home on Fairgrounds Road.  In 1890 he sold this property to Henry Steinmeyer.  The ranch style home at 1020 Saint Louis Street is located in the center of  the ... Read more

The Steinmeyer House

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  Photo Courtey of the Madison County Historical Society (IL) In the 1870's Judge Michael G. Dale and wife Margaret built one of the first homes in the West End of Edwardsville at present day 1020 Saint Louis Street.  It was originally a small brick structure and rebuilt as shown in about 1878.  The large tract of land owned by Judge Dale ... Read more

Kirkpatrick-Richards House

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The Kirkpatrick-Richards House603 St. Louis Street The St. James Hotel in Edwardsville was the scene of great celebration on November 24, 1886.  Frank Kirkpatrick, son of the hotel owner, married a former St. Louisan, Miss Lulu Rippley, at the Presbyterian Church a short distance away, then returned to the hotel for a lavish reception.  The bride wore “a magnificent gown of ... Read more

Kirkpatrick-Richards House •PDF• •Print• •E-mail•
••Wednesday•, 09 •June• 2010 08:14•
The Kirkpatrick-Richards House603 St. Louis Street The St. James Hotel in Edwardsville was the scene of great celebration on November 24, 1886.  Frank Kirkpatrick, son of the hotel owner, married a former St. Louisan, Miss Lulu Rippley, at the Presbyterian Church a short distance away, then returned to the hotel for a lavish reception.  The bride wore “a magnificent gown of white faille Francais silk” with cap sleeves trimmed with Irish lace and long white gloves that just met the sleeves.  The couple greeted their guests in parlors adorned with large floral tributes to the occasion, then led them into the dining room where a feast awaited them.  Dancing for over 300 guests at the St. James Opera House next door lasted into the early morning hours, making it one of Edwardsville’s biggest social events of the time.  A suite of rooms at the St. James, reportedly the finest hotel in southern Illinois, would be the first home for the young couple.  It was located in the 200 block of North Main Street just north of what is now Laurie’s Place.  The second floor of Laurie’s Place was the Tuxhorn Opera House which was connected to the hotel. Frank Kirkpatrick, manager of Kirkpatrick Brothers Store, was described as “a good manager with an abundance of energy and good judgment.” In 1889 his wife, Lulu, purchased a lot on St. Louis Street from Mary West Prickett for $800.  The deed stipulated that the buyer agreed to build a house worth “not less than $1,500.”  The house they built at 603 St. Louis Road was reportedly designed by Charles H. Spilman, a prominent local architect, responsible for many of Edwardsville’s finest buildings of that time.  The Eastlake Victorian style also contains elements of Simple Queen Anne, Shingle and Late Victorian architectural styles and would have been considered a very modern home.  The unusual colors seen on the house today reflect the original color scheme of the house. But sadly, the Kirkpatricks would not enjoy their new house for long.  Frank died “of a lingering illness” on May 29, 1891, at the age of 25. He was being cared for at the St. James Hotel when he died.  There was a short service at the hotel, and then his body was returned to the residence on St. Louis Street where the funeral sermon was given followed by a procession to Woodlawn Cemetery.  Two years later, Lulu sold the house to Benjamin H. Richards for $5,000 and moved back to St. Louis with her two children. Richards was born in St. Louis, MO in 1843.  He was orphaned at the age of five, and taken in by relatives, but he left home at the age of 14 with nothing but a “deer skin and grip.”  He came to Edwardsville because he had an older brother here, but before reaching his brother’s home, he met John Prickett. Prickett was one of the city’s most respected businessmen and leaders.  He was so impressed by Richards that he invited him to his home, where Richards stayed for the next five years while attending school in winter and learning the bricklaying trade in summer.   Richards then lived on a farm outside Edwardsville from 1879-1889 where, when the bricklaying was slow, he could make a living from farming.  In 1890 he became involved in the brick manufacturing business, when he purchased half of Springer and Tunnell Brickworks which became the firm of Richards and Springer. Fifteen years later, in 1905, he bought out his partner and Richards Brick Company was formed.  More than a hundred years later, the business is still thriving in Edwardsville.  The company has been responsible for many of the brick buildings seen in the community including the brick buildings at the Historic N. O. Nelson Campus of Lewis and Clark Community College, an early customer. Just as Richards Brick Company would become a family business, 603 St. Louis Street became a family home and has been in the family since 1893.  But that legacy almost came to an end in the spring of 1964 when it was announced in the newspaper that the General Services Administration would confiscate the house as well as others on the block to build a new Post Office for Edwardsville. Florence Richards Sills, granddaughter of Benjamin Richards, and her neighbors were not notified in advance of the announcement.   Eighty-two year old Florence Sills, her daughter Leigh, neighbors and members of the business and social community rallied.  An organized protest sent letters and telegrams to senators, congressmen, and even President Lyndon Johnson, protesting the poor choice of locations, the disregard for the neighborhood and the callous manner in which the homeowners were notified.    They suggested alternative sites and circulated a petition that gathered 800 signatures which at that time would have been nearly 10% of the population of Edwardsville.  Despite being told “you can’t win against the government,” they did. The new post office was built on Kansas Street, and the beautiful old home at 603 St. Louis Street is still here for all to admire. Information for this article was obtained from resources at the Madison County Historical Society Library, Edwardsville Public Library, and the Madison County Court House.  If you have questions about this article, contact Cindy Reinhardt at 656-1294 or •This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it• . 
 
 
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