The first house in this series is one that I had the great fortune of actually viewing in person. It is a gorgeous Queen Anne Victorian from my hometown of Galesburg, Illinois. I drove past this house thousands of times growing up and always admired it's size and beauty. My Grandpa and my husband's Grandpa actually helped to restore it in the early 90s. My Grandpa is a skilled and lifelong carpenter, which might be why I have an affinity for quality woodworking.
When visiting my family in Galesburg this past summer, there was talk of moving back. In fact, a small family emergency and a job opportunity arose that made it almost inevitable that we would be moving back immediately. I quickly became obsessed with searching for available homes in the area and saw that this house was up for sale. This house that I had swooned over, time and time again, was up for grabs. It was too good to be true. And it truly was, because, well, we didn't move back. Things fell through, the timing was off and we didn't buy the house, otherwise I would be posting this as a house tour. However, the plan didn't fall through until after I was able to view the house. I set up a showing immediately.
The house was built in 1894, with 3 stories plus a large basement and roughly 4600 square feet. It's listed with 5 bedrooms, but there are so many rooms in this house, it could easily be 8 bedrooms. It is named the Clark E. Carr house or mansion as I like to call it. Colonel Carr was a U.S. minister in Denmark who built this house when he returned home. He is said to have been friends with 3 of the nation's president's who visited the house in it's early years. President McKinley is the most noted visitor as he reportedly held a cabinet meeting here while visiting.
In 1941 the house was purchased by two sisters, who the homeowner tells me were twins. They divided the house into a duplex and lived side by side with their families for years. From outside the house, it is impossible to tell that the house is split. There is one main front entrance which opens into a small foyer. In the foyer there are two doors leading into each side of the house. Their efforts in separating the house into two living spaces does hardly anything at all to damage the integrity of the home. In fact, I wonder if they planned on possibly turning it back into one living space in the future, because it could easily be converted back. Even the two kitchens are positioned directly opposite of each other and with the removal of just one wall (that houses no plumbing or appliances) it could be turned back into one grand kitchen. The second floor hallway is merely separated by a door that could be easily removed to connect the two sides. The staircase might require a bit more work to convert back into one, however. And the third floor ballroom needs little more than the removal of one wall to bring it back to it's original floor plan. Even as it is split, each side is massive and each side of the attic could be considered a ballroom on their own. I really think the sister's put a lot of thought and care into their construction.
|This is the entry foyer with each door leading to the opposite sides of the house.|
|This is the staircase on the north side of the home.|