Historic Homes and Large Gardens in Starved Rock Country – Shaw Local
Starved Rock Country is home to beautiful historic homes and extensive manicured gardens. Enjoy the intersection of history, design and nature with six popular home and garden tours. History comes alive in these places, whose legacies intertwine with notable historical moments such as the monumental civil engineering project that was the I&M Canal, the first Lincoln-Douglas Debate, and the Underground Railroad. To soak up some of the fascinating historical stories or just to relax in nature, visit these exciting attractions.
1307 Seventh Street, LaSalle
Designed by WW Boyington, the famous architect of Chicago’s water tower, the Hegeler Carus Mansion in LaSalle has remained virtually unchanged since its completion in 1876. The 16,000 square foot mansion features 56 rooms spread over seven levels. The interior is just as stunning as the exterior, with its intricate parquet floors and hand-painted ceilings. The national monument is open for visits from Wednesday to Sunday all year round.
Weber Home and Garden
1503 Baker Street, St.
Streator’s Ted Weber, a former nationally syndicated radio interviewer, began renovating his historic childhood home in 1983. The house now sports beautifully decorated bedrooms, each reflecting a different period of design, and a garden of meticulously maintained English style. The unique blend of architecture, horticulture, interior design and broadcast history is open for tours seven days a week from April through October.
100 West Lafayette Street, Ottawa
The Reddick Mansion, a wonderfully unique landmark, stands on the corner of Columbus and Lafayette streets in Ottawa, overlooking the site of the Lincoln Douglas Debate. The 150-plus-year-old, 22-bedroom Italianate mansion was painstakingly restored in the 19th-century period, after decades of use as the city’s public library. Now the mansion is open year round for tours from Friday to Monday.
22937 1140 North Avenue, Princeton
Located a short drive from downtown Princeton and less than 45 minutes from Starved Rock State Park, you’ll find a floral oasis in a sea of cornfields and forests. Hornbaker Gardens, known far and wide for the remarkable varieties of hostas it grows, is a top destination for gardening enthusiasts across the Midwest. It merges the best aspects of high-end garden centers and big-name arboretums, making a trip to Hornbaker Gardens a great way to enjoy nature while shopping.
Owen Lovejoy Homestead
Rural Route 3 East Peru Street, Princeton
The Owen Lovejoy Homestead, built in 1838, was the home of a famous abolitionist minister, congressman and instrumental member of the Underground Railroad. Inside the impeccably restored Greek Revival-style house, you’ll find bedrooms with period furnishings, including one that contains a concealed compartment in which runaway slaves are said to be hidden. On the property you will also find the fully restored 1849 Colton One-Room Schoolhouse. Call 815-875-2616 for dates and times the farm is available for tours.
Highway 71, Hennepin
Built in 1844, the Federalist-style townhouse features five fireplaces, elaborate original woodwork, skylights, servants’ quarters and a luxurious kitchen for the time. The property changed hands over the years before being deeded to the town of Hennepin, who restored the 2.5-story brick house, earning it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. The Pulsifer House now serves as the headquarters of the regional historical society and is generally open for tours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays.