Lewis University Adele Fay Williams Collection of Drawings and Prints (Lewis University)
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Old Shreffler Home
Old Shreffler Home
TitleOld Shreffler Home
CreatorWilliams, Adele Fay
Date of the DrawingMarch 27, 1927
DescriptionDrawing of the Old Shreffler home. The home was a lodging house at one point in its history. This drawing is a part of the Robert E. Sterling Collection.
Title of ArticleOld Shreffler homestead was once hostelry : ancient stone dwelling near car barns has had varied career.
Transcript of the ArticleFrom Joliet Herald-News Sunday March 27, 1927 "Once this old house was the Shreffler homestead for 64 years. But never could you guess the aristocratic genesis of this ancient stone dwelling if you first saw it as it stands in an obscure corner, almost unseen of men, near the street car barns, one block east of Chicago street. When Joliet was young, this structure was a thriving hostelry, called St. Louis hotel or house, probably because it fronted on the Alton and St. Louis railroad and stood conveniently near the very first Alton station, which is known to have stood in this neighborhood. Owned by Matteson. This entire region, in the forties and fifties, is described as a pleasant green expanse with a sociable community of thriving citizens. Joel A. Matteson, who was the famous governor of Illinois from Joliet was the first owner of the property, which he bought in 1852, and it is believed that he built the stone structure about that time. This would make the house 75 years old, altho it has been estimated as still older than that. The Chicago and Alton road was opened south from Joliet in 1854, and the station was placed immediately opposite the hotel. Purchased by Boyer. It was probably one of the development plans for Joliet made by this untiring promoter, Matteson, who built the woolen mill, just south of Jefferson street bridge, in 1845, and was connected with many other movements. It was in 1858 that Governor Matteson sold the Hotel St. Louis to Charles E. Boyer, a famous capitalist of Lockport. And from then on it changed hands quickly. Probably its business possibilities waned with the years as progress moved slowly up Chicago street, north. Boyer sold it the next year to Anson H. Taylor, who immediately disposed of it to Fredrick K. Bailey. And it was in 1867, according to John E. Morrison, who found the information in his ancient abstracts, that Samuel Shreffler bought it. The Shrefflers owned it for 64 years. Frequented by Soldiers. The place has many Civil war traditions clinging to it, since it was a busy place from just before to just after the war. Here were entrained the gallant young bluecoats from Will county on their way to the front, and here they returned when the war was over, if they were lucky. It was at this time that Joliet school children went to the ‘big school, ' or the new brick academy, which was built in 1855 on the corner of Cass street and Eastern avenue, where now stands Marsh school. Served in Civil War. The Snoad house on Chicago street, still stands in back of its own green lawn, scarcely changed, was built in 1852, a block or two away from the St. Louis hotel. And on the corner of Morgan street stood the home of Dr. A. W. Heise, who came to America in 1849 and to Joliet in 1861. He enlisted as surgeon in the 100th Illinois infantry, was later promoted to the rank of brigade surgeon, and still later was made chief hospital inspector of the army of the Cumberland. He returned to Joliet in 1864 on account of ill health. William D. Heise, former state's attorney for several terms and graduate of three universities, was the only son of Dr. and Mrs. Heise. W. D. Heise, in 1898, was married to Miss Florida Casey, a daughter of Dr. John R. Casey, a member of another old family of Joliet. They have two sons, William C. and John C. Father Still Alive. The old Chapman house was on an opposite corner of Chicago street and is still owned by the same family. Next door west of the Chapman house was the home of Isaac Millspaugh, still remembered as the dancing master and fiddler of the eighties. The Shrefflers who came to live in the historic hotel were Samuel the second, with his wife and parents; Samuel Shreffler the first, and wife, who were the grandparents of Dr. Arthur Lee Shreffler, of Western avenue. The grandparents are dead, but Samuel Shreffler the second is still hale at 88 and lives with his wife on Richards street. Settled Here in 1849. The Shrefflers left Pennsylvania, where they were born, to go to Ohio in 1838, coming to Joliet in 1849. At first they settled on the Patterson rod, near the Zarley cemetery, in a log cabin, later moving over to the stone house on St. Louis street. And there they raised a large family, 12 in number. But the pleasant days when the stone house was in its prime are gone, and now it stands as if in the back water of the current of progress. Now a lodging house for men, it is mentioned jeeringly as ‘the Blackstone, ' and the name sticks. Harmony Is Gone. No longer is it the abode of peace and harmony. The habitat of foreigners, there are frequent international complications when the Latin, the Slav, the German, the Celt, Scandinavian or Anglo Saxon differ in matters of plicy. Many are aged pensioners out of work, or disqualified in some way, and on sunny days, under the urge of spring, they potter about in the garden and set out flowers. The house is a melting pot, and at times takes on the air of the ‘Hotel des Invalides' in Paris, when old soldiers sit in the sun and fight their battles all over again. Like Dickens' Characters. A veritable bit of Dickens literature is here, could it be explored, for most of them are willing to talk. There is the Italian Joseph, 76 years old, brown and ruddy, because he said he worked out of doors. He has a pension from the brick layers' union and hs lives mostly on bread and milk. And there is a sad-faced German who thinks all Italians are a little insane. And the sturdy Scandinavian who labored diligently to set out a long row of iris to make the yard beautiful, and who argued about something every minute. Some are a little blind and some are more than a little; nevertheless they are happy and consider themselves the aristocracy of the street. The place is now the property of Mrs. Joseph Gurka, of Herkimer street."
SubjectWilliams, Adele Fay
Joliet (Ill.) -- History
Physical Description22.5 cm. x 29 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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