Friday, March 30, 2007

Busy Day for Elijah

Mr. Iles kept very busy on his birthday.
First, check the watch.
Yes, time for a little coffee and cake downstairs.

Do we have enough reminders of age around here?

Next, escort the first rider to the new elevator lift.

Watch her snip the ceremonial ribbon.

A moment for contemplation.
How time has gone by!

Finally, take in the round table discussion.
Here's to all those who remember and honor the past.

Pictures by Dulany Sriner

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Iles Day

March 28 is the birthday of Elijah Iles (1796-1883), and opening day of Iles House for the 2007 season. We are now entering the third year of operation and the house has evolved considerably from the picture above, taken on Opening Day in September, 2005.

Today begins regular House tours, offered from 10 am to 4 pm every Wed and Sat until late December. Tours are led by period costumed guides or well-informed docents. At 11:15 am we will have a dedication and opening ceremony for the new elevator lift, providing service to disabled visitors. A program of 19th-century American music will follow, with service of free cake and Melinda Iles punch.

In the afternoon, students from the Iles School will perform choral and instrumental music, and experts will deliver a round table on historic preservation in Sangamon County. Iles House is the oldest home in Springfield, and it is open again to everyone.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Layers of the Past

Restoration work at the Strawbridge-Shepherd House on the UIS campus has proceeded this winter, despite heavy snows and bitter cold. Above we see a worker removing a drop ceiling on the second floor. Peeling back layers of the past brings to light constant discoveries.

First floor, northeast room: removal of wall paneling and dropped ceiling exposes an early fireplace location, which fits a mantle found stored in the summer kitchen. The original wall paint is a mustard color, and stencils appear on both ceiling and walls.

First floor, southeast room: removal of carpet and floor reveals the original wide planks. The top part of the mantle is Greek Revival and also came from the summer kitchen.

Second floor, northeast room: workers uncover an original firebox and flue. Most of the rooms have fireplaces, a fact that reflects on the winters those early residents faced.

Pictures by Dick Hart.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Brinkerhoff House

A Victorian monument on the north side of Springfield, the George M. Brinkerhoff House stands at 1500 North Fifth Street. Built in 1869 for $17,000 ($250,000 today), the home was occupied by the Brinkerhoff family until 1926.

G. M. Brinkerhoff was a teacher at Illinois State University, helped organize railway and iron companies in Springfield, and served in city government as comptroller and auditor.

In 1926 the Ursuline Order bought the home and used it as an administration building. In the 1970s Doris Bucari of the Springfield College Board helped to save it from demolition. Today it is available for private events and remains a treasure of historic preservation.

Photographs by Dulany Sriner; see more at his site.