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Events Calendar

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Historic Walking Tour PDF Print E-mail

1. COLLINSVILLE HISTORICAL MUSEUM (2005), 406 West Main
The Collinsville Historical Museum officially formed in 1976 withhistorical_museum the acquisition of the Collins Family Trunk and artifacts.  The expanding collection of early settlement, military, domestic, sports, business, schools, coal mining artifacts plus rotating exhibits are located in a beautiful new facility adjacent to the library. The Museum is a non-profit committed to community outreach and bridging the gap between Collinsville's early history, important recent history, and ever-changing present.  FREE, Tues-Thur 11-3, and Fri & Sat 12-4.  Phone: 344-1834, website:
www.collinsvillemuseum.org.


2. COLLINSVILLE MEMORIAL PUBLIC LIBRARY (1937), 408 W. Main
The library owes its start to a group of public-spirited women, members of the Collinsville Study Club, who held fundraisers to initiate the purchase of the first books in 1915.  The library moved several times before the need finally arose for the current facility, and this Federal style central building was built in 1937.  It has grown over the years and continues to be a cornerstone of the community with quality activities, programs and services. 

The Collinsville Library recently restored the Pan Fountain on the front lawn of the grounds.  The fountain was placed in 1938 as a tribute by teachers and school children in honor of Charles H. Dorris, retired superintendent of the Collinsville schools.  Notable sculptor Carl Mose created the figure of Pan. 


3. BLUM HOUSE (circa 1906), 414 West Main Street
The history of one of Collinsville’s most notable historic landmark homes is closely connected with one of the town’s most well known industries.  The internationally known Blum Bell Factory manufactured the only stock bells in America from 1879-1955 and was only one of three in the world.  The stately two-story residence boasts a distinct wrap-around porch and is adorned by huge pine trees planted in the 1930s, though several were destroyed in an ice storm.  When built by J. Henry Blum, the home was located on the western edge of town.  The late 1920s sunroom addition was popular at the time as a preventative measure from tuberculosis.  The home is maintained by the library and used as a banquet facility. 


4. COLUMBIAN SCHOOL (1896), 801 West Main Street
As the City grew, a new school was needed and built on the corner of Main and Combs.  This is the oldest school building in town.  It served Collinsville for over 40 years.  The school boasted many activities, such as pageants, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, School Boy Patrol and their famous drum corps.  Although the brick has been painted, much of the exterior components remain apparent as originally built.


5. CHESTER KNITTING MILL (1915), 701 West Main Street
This large complex is now renovated as apartments and commonly known as the former Martha Manning Dress Factory.  When first built, city officials called it a “first-class establishment” employing up to 300 people producing hosiery.  The mill exemplifies the struggle for workers’ rights including the fight to combat low wages, formation of an employees union, and a description of violations including minors working in the mill and around machinery, and women working over 10-hour days.  After a strike in 1923, the mill was closed when workers were unwilling to return to their former wages.  The mill moved to White Hall, IL… certainly a sign of the times.


6. D.D. COLLINS HOUSE (1845), 621 West Main Street

National Register of Historic Places


This Greek Revival home is a true treasure and its architecture is rare, preceding Victorian style architecture.  The home was built by Judge Daniel Dove Collins (Madison County 2nd court, 1853-1857), first president of the Collinsville Village Board.  Collins was not related to the original Collins brothers who founded Collinsville, but was good friends with them and did marry Elizabeth Anderson, daughter of a founding father.  The home originally stood at the northeast corner of Main and Center Streets.  The home is undergoing complete restoration.

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7. DR. SCHROEPPEL HOUSE (1910), 317 West Main Street
This Queen Anne home was home with its prominent turret was designed by W.J. Kennedy, notable Collinsville architect, for Dr. Gustav Schroeppel.  His lively family was known for using the home as a center of activity for family and friends.  A fabled story tells of bringing a pony into the home for entertainment.  The second-story greenhouse was added in 1954. Today, the Flower Basket operates a charming gift shop with unique gifts.


8. MASONIC TEMPLE (1912), 213 West Clay Street

National Register of Historic Places

This exquisite Greek Revival building features a pediment over a porch that extends the entire width of the front of the building.  The four pillars are characteristic of the style.  The building is made of brick supplied by the Hydraulic Press Brick Company that operated in Collinsville and was known for its high quality and utilized around the country.  Many dignitaries were in the membership of the Masonic Order, and many social events and gatherings were held here.


9. OLD U.S. POST OFFICE (1914), 201 West Clay Street
“The Advertiser” newspaper (1916) describes the post office as “unquestionably one of the best arranged and most handsome structures for the size in this state”.  It is built with a high-grade Hy-tex tapestry brick with Bedford stone trimmings.  Note the Jeffersonian architectural style with the dentil moldings beneath the eaves, the round windows, and the simulated columns called pilasters.  Because of delays in building the structure, many residents felt it was part of a scheme for the reelection of then Congressman Rodenberg- even after the bill authorizing the structure had been passed.  It was finally built and operated from 1916 to 1965 as the U.S. Post Office.  Since 1965, it has been occupied by the Collinsville Unit 10 School District. 


10. BECKER HOME (1864), 237 North Clinton Street
One of Collinsville’s oldest homes, the architectural style of the house is French Second Empire.  It is built of brick and features a Mansard roof with dormer windows.  The front entrance features a fanlight window over the door with sidelights on both sides.  The Becker family occupied the house for over 90 years, selling in 1962.  John Becker was the first mayor of Collinsville.


11. BULL DURHAM GHOST SIGN (circa 1908), 111 East Main
When the Leo Hiken Furniture Store was demolished in the 1970s, the west wall of the 111 E. Main building was exposed revealing a 70-year-old sign.  The brick wall sign advertises Bull Durham Tobacco and is believed to have been painted before 1908.  Brick wall advertising became popular around 1900 and remained so until the 1950s.  Originally the fence stating smoking tobacco did not appear on the sign but was added for “modesty”.  Take a look around uptown to spot our other ghost signs.   


12. FIRST NATIONAL BANK (1887), 123 East Main Street
Although built in 1887, the building underwent extensive renovations in 1916 with the current façade, inscription of “First National Bank”, and interior renovations that included a two-story vaulted ceiling.  Since 1954, three generations of Butterfield’s have run Butterfield’s Jewelers here.  Decorative columns and the vaulted ceiling still remain on the second floor highlighted by the arched window on the façade. The original vault is used by the store.


13. DR. CHARLES R. OATMAN HOME (circa 1870), 501 E. Main Street
This Carpenter Gothic Revival home warrants notice for the pointed arch windows and the “gingerbread” trim.  The square nails used in its construction give a clue to its age.  The patents on the doors state 1863.  It was built for the family of Dr. Charles Oatman, fourth mayor of Collinsville.  Dr. Oatman was also a drummer boy during the Civil War for Sherman.  The home now operates as The Oatman House Tea Room, a charming spot for breakfast and lunch. 


14. KENNEDY HOME (1906) 401 East Church Street
This two-story house built of hydraulic press brick was built on the lot between the Beidler Hotel and the Collins Homestead.  It was built by architect, William Kennedy, in 1906.  A sunroom was later added to the front porch because their daughter, Gladys Peers Kennedy, was said to have had consumption or tuberculosis and died in 1934 at age 31 (now removed).  Will Kennedy was the designer of many of the older buildings in Collinsville and was at one time the leading school architect in southern Illinois. 


15. BEIDLER HOTEL (1879), 315 East Church Street
After the original Beidler home was destroyed by a cyclone, Frederick and Angeline Penny Beidler built this stately Italianate home with a Federal influence.  The cornice on the west side features a rose motif.  In the late 1880s, their hotel was ideally located just atop “Depot Hill” (Reed Ave.), taking in many travelers with the short walk from the train depot.  Mrs. Beidler, a former schoolteacher, was famous for her 25-cent chicken dinners. During the Civil War, Mr. Beidler was poisoned and summoned his wife to Washington, DC.  Mrs. Beidler successfully pleaded her husband’s case to President Lincoln.  She was certainly a woman before her time being the first woman to sit on the Presbyterian Board and the first to run for the school board in 1894. A long-time temperance supporter, Mrs. Beidler lived to see prohibition just two days before her death in 1920. 


16. CATALINA BUILDING (1924), 312 East Main Street
The architecture of this building is unique in Collinsville; however, at one time there were several that were similar.  The two-story brick building features a diagonal corner entry and a beautiful turret with ornate terra cotta trim.  It first operated as the “Transient Hotel” by John Catalina.  It changed owners over the years operating as a hotel, tavern, market and furniture store.  It is the current site of Blues on Main.


17. RIGGIN-HIGHTOWER MARKET (circa 1900), 106 East Main
From 1915 to 1994, this two-story brick building was operated as a grocery store, first by the Riggin family and then by the Hightower family.  The grocery store kept up with changing times by offering vegetables and fruits, then canned goods and expanded as an IGA in the 1980s to keep up with larger grocers.  The integrity of this building is remarkable.  It is the only building on Main Street to maintain its original balcony.  The exposed brick and original tin ceiling provide a perfect complement to the current use as a neighborhood bar and restaurant, Friday’s South. 


18.  STATE BANK (1916), 102 West Main Street
The State Bank operated in Collinsville for over 100 years, but this building was not built until 1916.  It has clear architectural significance, featuring Amicola marble walls on the interior and Indiana limestone on the exterior with massive columns flanking the entrance.  The building has recently undergone a major renovation.  Step inside to see the backlit stained glass rosette, the original Greek key banister and rail, and the original three-story vault.  


19. CITY HALL (1885), 125 South Center Street

National Register of Historic Places


Mayor Charles Oatman oversaw the building of City Hall until his defeat in 1887 due to his propensity to spend, the largest expense being the construction of City Hall.  Even his successor, however, was a proponent of building City Hall when he served as alderman.  Popular in the late 1800s, the building’s architecture is “Italianate” with round top headed windows, wide eaves and brackets under the eaves.  Situated on the lawn is the statue of a Civil War soldier placed in 1926 by the Daughters of the Union Veterans.  The adjoined fire station (1910) is now used for City offices. 


At one time, City Hall housed the post office, library and the jail.  One of Collinsville’s most infamous stories is that of Robert Prager.  In 1918, at the onset of World War I, the German baker turned coal miner was hidden in the basement for his protection.  The mob dragged him out, and he was lynched.  


20. COLLINSVILLE BURIAL GROUND (1822), Glenwood and Cemetery Streets located behind Webster School


This was the first cemetery in town established 15 years before the village was incorporated and one of the oldest in Illinois.  The first person buried here was a farmhand.  Graves are also witnessed of a Revolutionary War soldier from 1849; 86-100 Civil War veterans, only one which was a Confederate soldier; soldiers from the Black Hawk, Mexican and Spanish-American wars; a Congressional Medal of Honor winner; victims of the 1849 cholera and 1895 diphtheria epidemics.  Surrounded by glens on three sides, the name was changed in 1884 to Glenwood.  Many nationalities and religions are represented.   “Glenwood Cemetery is the story of Collinsville.”


21.  HARRISON HOSPITAL (1911), 216 West Church Street
Collinsville’s only hospital opened in the building Dr. Harrison built and operated until 1940.    His offices remained there until 1964 prior to his death.  A second building on the property was a non-white hospital.  Dr. Harrison treated a wide variety of medical problems, including tuberculosis (at a separate location) and lead poisoning.  He was also formulator of a “purple dye” developed with the help of the high school principal and used to treat cuts and burns of high school athletes.  Perhaps this is the reason so many Collinsville Kahoks claim to bleed purple and white! 


22. FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH (1906), 207 W. Church Street
This site has been used for the church since 1842 when a small frame church was moved here.  Later, Collinsville architect, J.W. Kennedy, prepared plans for the impressive new church.  The church benefits from 19 stained glass windows.  Wilbur Hadley, State Bank president, donated the window at the front of the church titled “Christ the Good Shepherd” in memory of his parents, Reverend William and Mrs. Hadley (who first donated the land for the church).  The monumental church bell was moved from the old church to the new one.  It was cast in Cincinnati in 1848 and was salvaged from the steamer Glasgow after it sank in the Red River in 1873. 


23. MINER'S INSTITUTE (1918), 204 West Main Street

National Register of Historic Places


This remarkable building was built by the local coal mining unions as a labor temple.  It was designed by architect Robert G. Kirsch.  Note the sculpture above the west entrance of two local coal miners who posed for the statue.  Each miner donated 1% of his meager salary for one year to construct the building. Total construction costs were $139,000.  In comparison, a three bedroom home at the time was $3000-$4000.  The building was utilized by the unions as a "home away from home" for meetings, entertainment, dances, relaxation and a place to bring their families. In fact, the Miner's inadvertently shut down one other theatre and an opera house in town because other unions would only support the Miner's. 


24. DEAN’S (pre-1910s) 210-212 West Main Street
History of the building has been traced back to 1911, although, the building is probably much older.  The architectural design of the building was originally very balanced with chimneys at both ends and dormers at the front.  A “ghost sign” on the east wall reads “seal of West Virginia Tobacco”.  The longest and most familiar business use is Dean’s opened by George Dewey Van Dyke in 1939 and still operating today with a wide and interesting selection of beers and wines. During WWII, long lines filled the sidewalk on West Main when there was a scarcity of cigarettes.  Children stopped at Dean’s before movie trips to the Miner’s Theater for candy bars- six for a quarter! 


25. McLANAHAN COMPLEX (1905), 304 West Main Street
This building is full of remarkable stories.  One well-remembered occupant was Schmacker Confectionary opened in 1924.  When the rooster crowed, Grandma Schmacker (Pete Schmacker’s mother) appeared to make the coffee and start baking her delicious pies.  She set the stage for Peter, who was always front and center with his bow tie, white shirt and white apron he donned while serving.  Bob Karrer, Collinsville resident and businessman, called it a “liberal education during his six years when there when you would get to meet all the businessmen”.  In 1916, J.C. McLanahan bought the building and converted a portion of it into a Ford Agency selling Model T Fords.  Inside the current Pointes Plus store on the east brick supporting wall is a magnificent Ceresota Flour advertising mural—a must see. 


26. ALLAN & CIUFERI FUNERAL HOME (1929), 314 W. MAIN
Although the business was located at this site in 1881, the building was not built until 1929 when Martin Schroeppel in a parternship with his son and son-in-law built the new Schroeppel Undertaking Co.  This beautifully tile-roofed Italianate structure is entered from a veranda featuring six arches supported by 12 stone columns.  Living quarters are on the second floor.  The main lobby leads to a foyer that extends the width of the building with ornamental arches and columns (pictured here). 

  

WHAT’S MISSING FROM THIS GUIDE?


It is worth a longer walk to view some of Collinsville’s oldest and most notable homes.  Walking north up Vandalia, the Jackstadt home (314 Vandalia), the Radas Home (401 Vandalia), and the Keller Home (429 Vandalia) just to name a few that flank Highway 159.  Traveling north on Morrison, Center and Clinton will reveal similar homes.  Heading west toward the Cahokia Mounds unveils all the splendor of St. Louis Road, possessing many prominent Collinsville homes.  A quick offshoot south from St. Louis Road to 400 Caseyville Road brings you to Eck’s Auto Service (built in the 1920s).  This is the last local survivor of an architectural phenomenon seen all over town several decades ago.  As “full service” changed to “pump it yourself” so went this style of filling station.  The cottage design was introduced by Phillips Gas Stations because it helped the station to blend into residential neighborhoods. 

 

 

 

From stately homes to little-known events, Collinsville was built on a hard-working ethic and the City continues to strive to be the preferred place to live for its residents and visitors.  Take a trip along any of the side streets noted on this map, and take pleasure in our wonderful past.

Last Updated on Friday, 09 December 2011 14:41