Save This Old House: Charming Queen Anne in Henry, Illinois
Save this charming Queen Anne with spectacular woodwork!
Location: Henry, IL
Contact: Ryan Blackorby, 309-657-6787; [email protected]
The History: Hiram Hunter, who built this Queen Anne circa 1890, made most of his fortune from a chain of lumberyards he ran in partnership with his eldest son. Beyond raw materials, the two traded in doors, blinds, moldings, and other fancy millwork details fashionable in late-19th-century houses. So it’s no surprise that Hunter didn’t skimp on this 3,924-square-foot home. The Henry Republican estimated its cost could “not have been short of $5,000.”
Shown: Now white, the house originally was painted “a handsome and fashionable shade of terra cotta,” according to the local paper.
Why save it?: The extras Hunter spent on are remarkably well preserved throughout the four-bedroom, three-bath house. Elaborate oak spindlework surrounds the entry, then continues up a large staircase and around the second-floor hallway. On the first floor, the two fireplaces retain extraordinary wood mantels, along with original mirrors, tile, and summer fronts. Oak pocket doors, double-height interior shutters, and paneling are in exceptional condition; only the parquet floors show their age.
Shown: Both parlors still have decorative plasterwork and chandeliers.
What it needs: A new roof must be top priority to protect everything beneath. Electrical and plumbing upgrades are overdue, and two of the three baths require updating. Removing the vinyl siding covering the clapboard would be the first step in restoring the house’s exterior; the wraparound porch with fluted Ionic columns needs repair, too. Currently, the Hunter house does not have any protective covenant or designation. With so many outstanding details and fixtures, it runs the risk of being stripped for parts. Restoring it to its former grandeur in this quaint town along the Illinois River would be a worthy undertaking.
Shown: The first floor features cherry-and-oak parquet floors.