Lewis University Adele Fay Williams Collection of Drawings and Prints (Lewis University)
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Old Brick Tavern (New Lenox, Illinois) 1927
Old Brick Tavern (New Lenox, Illinois) 1927
TitleOld Brick Tavern (New Lenox, Illinois) 1927
CreatorWilliams, Adele Fay
DescriptionDrawing by Adele Fay Williams of the Old Brick Tavern in New Lenox, Illinois. A stagecoach is shown drawing up to the tavern which was a famous place in the area. The building was torn down in 1997, but a marker shows the place where it once stood. This is one of the places considered to be a station on the underground railroad. - Donated by Katherine Woodruff Barnes
Title of ArticleRomance still clings to old brick tavern : ancient inn on Lincoln highway sad relic of earlier day.
Date of ArticleMarch 6, 1927
Transcript of the ArticleFrom the Joliet Herald-News Sunday March 6, 1927 "A halo of adventurous and romantic history seems to cling to ‘Ye Old Brick Tavern' as it is still called. And tales are still told of the dashing stage coach days when the tavern was one of the regular stops between Chicago and down state points. The old tavern may still be seen as it stands on Lincoln highway, a mile or so east of New Lenox. But now it is shorn of all romance, almost of all sentiment, as it stands alone, bleak and forlorn—even a little forbidden, as it seems gloomily to watch the traffic that never stops, speeding without a thought for this sad earlier day. Riders Are Gone. One might almost imagine the gaunt old hostelry to be filled with resentment at its changed fortunes. Gone, alas, are the dashing riders of the fifties and sixties, gone are the gentlemen in tall hats and pretty ladies who went abroad in coaches, and who were coquettish in ruffles and hoop skirts and pancake hats and tiny parasols. And gone is the leisurely hospitality that received them wherever they stopped, whether at mansion or log cabin. No longer do mighty trees cluster around the old tavern, throwing flickering shadows across its many paned windows and seeming to breathe romance. No longer does that monstrous willow, three feet in diameter, stand by the well in the front yard. Mine Host Missing. And alas no longer does mine host of the inn, that interesting typical figure, portly, rotund and rubicund, no longer does he smile and rub his hands and gloat all manner of comfortable warmed rooms with logs brightly burning in big fire places and sturdy roasts of fowls or trenchers of mutton chops on the board, flanked, of course, it was flanked, by the ancient ‘flagon' or a ‘bumper' or at least a ‘measure' of something mysterious to finish the picture of hospitable cheer. And this is sad, because the house was built originally for a certain amount of stately grandeur. Four great fireplaces ornamented and warmed four great rooms, two on each floor. It was built sturdily of fine hardwood, and there was a deep basement under the entire house. There were many bedrooms as well as plenty of kitchens and storerooms and pantries and sheds as suited its mission. Lincoln Was Guest. Lincoln once stopped there, according to the persistent tradition that clings to it. But so far no ‘mine host' has risen to describe the event, the time and the place. Nevertheless all those connected with the house hold it as a sacred chronicle. Nor can it be found, so far, exactly when the house was built. According to John E. Morrison, head of People's Abstract company, who delved into certain abstruse abstracts, the farm was first brought from the government by James Troutman in 1835. Perhaps it burnt his fingers, for one dropped the big tract to Ambrose Doty the very same year. And he in turn passed it on as quickly as possible in 1836 to one Asa Earll, who then dropped out of the picture. Tract Again Sold. But in six short months there was another quick shift or forward pass or ‘fox pass, ' if you prefer, when the region was sold to Myron Holmes and Rufus Smith. And this seemed to be a goal, for there it stuck for 20 years, when it was sold to Pascal and Samuel Woodward. It is assumed that the tavern might have been built any time under the Holmes-Smith tenure, between 1836 and 1857. Thus it might be possible for the house to be anywhere from 60 to 90 years old. In 1860, the Woodwards sold it to William H. Waite, who lost the property on a mortgage foreclosure to the Western Marine Fire Insurance in 1864, and again it was sold immediately, this time to Benjamin Phelps. Inherited by Son. Mr. Phelps did not sell it until 1867, when it was bought by Thomas and Fredrick Wood. In 1881, the entire property was bought by Henry K. Stevens, who later disposed of it to Mrs. Eliza Chamberlin. Frank Chamberlin inherited the property from his mother. Homer Kemp acquired the property in 1912 which was bought in 1926 by D. L. Satterstein, of Chicago. Extensive barns and granaries once stood at the south of the big tavern, and a little farther south was a beautiful fringe of willows along a little creek. Near that was once a bed of clay from which, says tradition, the bricks forming the tavern were made. Indeed, the chief feature of the entire estate of 446 acres is a beautiful maple grove occupying about once-half of a 236-acre tract, with graceful Hickory creek purling thru the center. It is a natural forest preserve, where the woodsy interiors partake of some of the beauties of Pilcher arboretum, and is certainly worth preserving from the vandals of progress. Many Years Old. Homer Kemp, who once owned the Brick Tavern, said that Fredrick Wood, son of the first Fredrick Wood, who had possession of the ancient inn, was about three years old when the Woodward family first lived in the building. According to Mr. Woodward, the dwelling was old when he came into it. As that was nearly 70 years ago, it would seem to prove the building a veritable relic of history."
SubjectWilliams, Adele Fay
Underground Railroad -- New Lenox (Ill.) -- History
New Lenox (Ill.) -- History
Old Brick Tavern -- New Lenox (Ill.) -- History
Stagecoach stations -- New Lenox (Ill.) -- History
Stagecoaches -- New Lenox (Ill.) -- History
SourceClick on this link to see more historical information on New Lenox and the Joliet area - http://www.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 Canal and Regional History Special Collection at 815-836-5579 or 815-836-5665.
CollectionAdele Fay Williams Collection of Drawings and Prints (Lewis University) (Lewis University)
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