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

824 St. Louis Street:The Travous House •PDF• •Print• •E-mail•
•Written by Cindy Reinhardt•   
••Sunday•, 30 •August• 2009 16:10•

“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 leading citizens, beginning with that first family.

 The Greek Revival home designed by noted St. Louis architect F. C. Bonsack featured ornate cornices with wide friezes and impressive ionic columns that sheltered second floor balconies.  Interior details included seven ornate fireplace mantles, hardwood floors, intricate woodwork, and the likeness of Ludwig Von Beethoven created in Tiffany glass for the window above the fireplace in Mrs. Travous’ Music Room.  No stranger visiting this imposing St. Louis Street home in 1895 would guess that the owner was born into near poverty.

The life of Charles Norton Travous was a true rags to riches story.  He was born to Irish immigrant parents who settled on a farm south of Collinsville.  When he was still a boy, his father died and the children had to help support the family.  Charles worked a variety of odd jobs to help his family, but continued to get an education and was eventually able to take the examination that qualified him to teach school.   From 1878 to 1881 he taught school at Grantfork during the school year and studied at the law firm of Gillespie and Happy during the summer. Travous passed the bar in 1881 and worked with a number of law partners until hired by the Wabash Railroad in St. Louis as their General Counsel in 1905.

Travous was considered an exceptional attorney but according to a newspaper article in 1907, he “died of work”.   In addition to his position with the railroad, Travous also had real estate property, including store fronts on Main Street, was involved in banking, and played a major role in Republican politics.  He died suddenly in bed at the young age of 50 in 1907.  It was said he came to Edwardsville without a cent to his name, and “died in one of the city’s most costly and beautiful homes.”

But C. N. Travous, though dedicated to his profession, was also a happily married family man.  On October 6, 1886 he married Miss Gillian Lusk Torrence at the Methodist Church in Edwardsville.  Their marriage was called “a love match” where they served as each others closest companions and advisors.  They had two children, Sarah and Rachel Louise.

Mrs. Travous, born in 1859, was from two of Edwardsville’s oldest families.  Her father, James R. Torrence was born west of Edwardsville the same year Illinois became a state.  Her mother, Sarah Lusk Torrence was a daughter of the Lusk and Gillham families that arrived in Madison County in 1803 and 1805 respectively.

She was a teacher before her marriage and an early librarian at the Edwardsville Public Library.  She was an active participant in Edwardsville society, serving as hostess to local friends and neighbors as well as to governors and other dignitaries.  Her social skills were also put to use when she served as one of the hostesses of the Illinois Building at the St. Louis World’s Fair.

Mrs. Travous died in December of 1930 at the age of 71.  Many years prior to her death, daughter Sarah had married William Howe and moved to St. Louis.  Rachel Travous, who went by her middle name, Louise, is credited with organizing the League of Women Voters in Edwardsville in 1954.  She never married and remained in the house until 1942 when she sold the house to another prominent Edwardsville family, that of Dr.  Roy S. Barnsback.  After leaving St. Louis Street, Louise built a second Edwardsville Travous House on Center Street that was considered very modern for it’s time, and is also an architecturally significant building.

The Barnsback family lived in the St. Louis Street house until after the death of Mrs. Barnsback in 1976.  Thus the home had only 2 owners during its first eighty years in existence.  It has since had numerous owners who have been good caretakers of the property.  Kitchen and baths have been modernized but otherwise all the architectural features mentioned above, inside and out, remain to be enjoyed for generations to come. 

•Last Updated on ••Sunday•, 30 •August• 2009 22:35••
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