Lewis University Adele Fay Williams Collection of Drawings and Prints (Lewis University)
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Bluff Street (Joliet, Illinois)
Bluff Street (Joliet, Illinois)
TitleBluff Street (Joliet, Illinois)
CreatorAdele Fay Williams
DescriptionPen drawing by Adele Fay Williams depicts buildings on Bluff Street at the corner of Spring Street in Joliet, Illinois. The buildings are now gone from the area. Note the vintage clothing on the right side of the drawing. - Donated by Katherine Woodruff Barnes
Title of ArticleYears fail to change Bluff street home : stone dwelling looks just as it did in early sixties.
Date of ArticleJanuary 22, 1928
Transcript of the Article
Once Bluff street was pleasant, shady and homelike, with the winding curve of line that lent so much interest to its perspective. The slope down to the river at the rear of the houses that straggled along Bluff street, on the east side of the street, was charming with grass and flowers, the face of the bluff towards west having picturesque nooks where more quaint stone houses could snuggle.
The road was irregular, the weeds grew out in venturesome points, and its track was rough or smooth according to the weather, and the traffic. A pretty steam trickled down Spring street.
Once Belz Home
You might fancy that the tiny stone house was standing here some time in the 60s with its number, 404 North Bluff street, just as it is today. And in its deep embrasures of the windows were geraniums, begonias and ivy plant just as they are today. It is really quite easy to imagine that the place looked formerly almost exactly as it does now.
Formerly the John Belz family lived here and probably built the place soon after Mr. Belz bought the big lot. It was in 1846 that John Beltze—so it is written in the records of the People's Abstract company, according to B Blackburn—it was in 1846 that this older John Beltze became the owner of the property. He bought the 60 foot lot—it was dubbed ‘lot 12, block 1, West Joliet'—from Martin H. Demmond, the wealthy pioneer who bought and subdivided the greater part of West Joliet.
Property Deeded to Son
There was a quit claim deed in 1898 from Augustus Belz, the spelling having been modified, as most of the pioneers had a habit of doing. It was May 16, 1891, that John Belz, the pioneer, died and, bequeathing the property by his will to Francis Viktor Belz, such is the spelling in the ancient record—subject to the life estate of Veronica Belz, his wife. There was a brewery there once, but it is now dismantled and its history is but a tradition. For some time the Belz family lived in this pretty stone house, which opens quite expansively into the larger frame house at its side, giving much more room than appears.
Moved to Wilcox Street
But soon the Belz family built itself a fine home on Wilcox street and moved. It was there than John Belz II lived and died and it is there that John Belz III now lives.
The little stone house has been occupied steadily by people who love it since it is in excellent repair. Mrs. Kate O'Brien, who lives there now, has made a pleasant home of it, and cultivates geraniums in the deep windows. Her home is as neat and well cared for as if she didn't go out to work and was twice as big as she is. Her husband and two children live there with her and keep up the traditions.
It is an interesting place with plenty of music and sunlight. There is a piano, a radio and a victrola.
Possesses Yellow Cat
There is also a very individual yellow cat, said to be part Persian, who sleeps like the king of cats on the needlepoint runner of the center table. His name is ‘Rusty' and his majesty is unmistakeable. ‘Pal' on the floor is a good looking white French poodle. Pal does not approve of Rusty on his needlepoint throne and does his best to dislodge him.
Mrs. O'Brien has a fondness for pets as have all the rest of her family. Each cat and dog is well cared for, well behaved, majestic and happy.
Mrs. O'Brien sometimes smiles as she views them pessimistically in their unconscious egotism, rostered by herself. Pal, the poodle is somewhat jealous of his mistress' attentions to Rusty, the yellow cat.
There are quaint old portraits of people in old fashioned dresses in small oval frames on the walls.
Mrs. O'Brien, her name was once Kate Vincent, says she has worked for the old Higinbotham family and other old families. It is a neighborly place, with people always opening the door and walking right in."
SubjectWilliams, Adele Fay
Joliet (Ill.) -- History
SourceClick on this link for more historical information on 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 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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