Lewis University Adele Fay Williams Collection of Drawings and Prints (Lewis University)
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Paige Block (Joliet, Illinois)
Paige Block (Joliet, Illinois)
TitlePaige Block (Joliet, Illinois)
CreatorWilliams, Adele Fay
Date of the DrawingNovember 28, 1926
DescriptionDrawing of a group of buildings on Bluff street, one of which is known as the Paige Block, in honor of John D. Paige, a city builder. This drawing is part of the Robert E. Sterling collection.
Title of ArticlePaige arrived here with one dollar capital : former mayor helped to build city after his arrival in Joliet.
Date of ArticleNovember 28, 1926
Transcript of the ArticleSUNDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 1926
Former Mayor Helped to
Build City After His Ar-
rival in Joliet.
When John D. Paige was 20 years old, about 1857 he exhibited some of the same energy and initiative which afterward made him a striking figure in Joliet history.
It was then that he left his home and parents, and made the trip on foot all the way from Jefferson county, Wis., to Joliet, reaching here with exactly one dollar in his pocket, and an inexhaustible store of courage to boot.
And altho the young city of Joliet was scarcely older than himself, it gave him the glad hand, took him to its heart, put him to work, and as was his proud boast he kept at it ever afterward.
When he first came to Joliet he went to work at the bottling works run by John Hickey, one of the earlier citizens and a relative of the young wanderer, at a place just under the hill on Pine street near Bridge street.
Married In Wisconsin
As proof of his industry he bought out his employer later, and went back to Wisconsin, married a girl whom he had met previously on his visits home, and brought his bride to Pine street where the young couple lived for years. It was in 1861 that this wedding took place. The bride's name was Ruth Angel Vail and her home was in Whitewater, Wis. Her parents came from New York state. John D. Paige was born in Marshall, Oneida Co., N. Y. in 1837. In 1844 with his parents he came to Wisconsin where he grew into a tall lad with a vision of prosperity in Illinois.
And prosper they did. They raised eight children. Chester, now in Oklahoma, Minta, the late Mrs. Arthur Hays who died in June 1925; Mason, who married Miss Clara DuBien Omi, the wife of Alfred Hill, who died when he was only 27, and was a lawyer as was his brother, Judge F. A. Hill; Vida, who married John Robertson Shutts; Alta, who is married and lives in San Benito, and Leafy who lives with her mother and Mrs. Omi Hill at 432 North Eastern avenue, which has been the family home for the last 30 years, where the husband and father, J. D. Paige died 10 years ago.
Called Paige Block
Such is the influence of the name and the brilliant record of Mr. Paige that the Bluff street block in which he lived is still often called the Paige block. Altho he owned only one building at the north, and lived there about a few years.
He built the fine brick mansion at 210 North Broadway and moved there sometime early in the eighties. This house is now owned by Dr. and Mrs. H. H. Baldwin. Later Mr. Paige sold the pop and bottling works, moving to Joliet street, where he and his growing family lived in the pleasant home which he bought from George Munroe the elder, which was afterward the Parish house of the Episcopal church.
From this place the Paige family moved to the present homestead, 437 North Eastern avenue.
Mr. Paige, affectionately called "J. D." by most of his friends and fellow citizens was appointed fire marshal of Joliet in 1877. During his administration the fire department was changed from a volunteer affair to a brisk paid organization, the gamewell telegraphed was introduced, and the fire horses were brought and kept all the time at the engine house, ready to be hitched at 10 second notice.
Many other improvements were introduced, and the departments proficiency was shown in the National Firemen's tournament in Chicago, in Sept. 1878, when the Joliet Steamer company—No. 1, carried off first honors in extinguishing burning buildings, with additional prizes of $350 cash, an elaborate silver and two cash prizes of $75 and $100. Those were the ays of steamers and real sport.
The silver set is now in a magnificent glass case, in the possession of the historical society.
J. D. Paige was supervisor for many years, later he was successively chief of police, mayor, township assessor, chief of the fire department again for many years, and he was town treasurer when he died in 1916.
An atmosphere as of ancient history has always clung to this row of buildings on Bluff street.
This tract, like all the others about it, once belonged to Martin H. Demmond and it was said that he built some of these ancient and picturesque buildings that always remind the beholder of what old Joliet must have been.
History of Block
The Paige building, which once gave title to the block, is the four story brick at the north end of the row as seen in the sketch. This was on lot five and was sold to George Parker by Martin H. Demmond in 1835. It was in 1837 that Lydia and Joseph Perkins took the title to the place, according to the records of the People's Abstract company. And then it seems that this couple must have died since there were no records about the place until John D. Paige boought it in 1878 from The College and Educational society.
It was here at 61 North Bluff street that John D. Paige carried on his mineral water bottling business and meanwhile worked with tireless energy for the good of the community.
His family occupied the upper floors of the building, which was quite a grand a grand mansion in its day.
Mrs. Paige says that it was always her understanding that Demmond—who built so many buildings in early days—also built this row.
It has been inhabited at different times by many of Joliet's leading families.
The Cope family owned the building just south of the Paige building and lived there for some time.
H. W. Cope, father of Miss Alice Cope, teacher in the public schools, carried on the manufacture of horse collars on the lower floor.
The building south of the Copes was owned by the Blood Family, and the one still further south was owned by the Ulrichs for many years. The city bought the building at the south end of the row in 1856 from Sarah M. Allen and installed a volunteer fire department there.
The fire department is now used only as a repair shop and the fire ladies are now to be found at the Ottawa street central station.
The Reimers bottling works bought the Paige place some time in the eighties and still carry on the business there. It is now known as 229 North Bluff street.
"John D, " as he was often called who came on foot to Joliet, a boy of 20 with one dollar in his pocket and to be mayor and many other positions always occupied a unique position in the annals of the city. He was supervisor when the present court house was built and was always foremost in every public enterprise for the good of the city.
SubjectWilliams, Adele Fay
Joliet (Ill.) -- History
Physical Description20 cm. x 24 cm.
SourceClick this link for more historical information on the Joliet area - http://lewisu.edu/imcanal
Publisher (Digital)Lewis University
RightsAll rights held by Lewis University. For permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this image, please contact the Howard and Lois Adelmann Regional History Collection at Lewis University at 815-836-5665.
CollectionAdele Fay Williams Collection of Drawings and Prints (Lewis University)
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