Frequently Asked Questions

This is a short list of our Frequently Asked Questions:

How long is a tour?

Our tours are approximately 55 minutes long.  Guests should be prepared to stand or walk for the entirety of the tour.

May I just look around by myself instead of taking a guided tour?

Sorry!  All guests must be accompanied.  If you are pressed for time and can’t stay for a 55 minute tour please let your guide know before the tour begins.  We can give an abridged tour if you prefer.

May I just come to the gift shop?

Absolutely!  We have great books, and accessories, with new items arriving all the time! Just ring the door bell at the tour entrance and we will be happy to help you if we are available.  Please keep in mind that the house is staffed by volunteers. Occasionally we are hosting private events or busy touring other guests and are unable to break away to help in the shop.  We try to always have signage posted if we are not available.  You may also shop by appointment by calling (815) 224-5892

How much money did it cost to build the Mansion?

The Mansion took an estimated $80,000 to build in 1874-1876. This information is based upon receipts found in the Mansion and comparative prices of other homes designed by W. W. Boyington.

What is the Mansion worth in today’s dollars?

As a general rule, we do not feel the Mansion can be put to a price. Its value comes from its history-and THAT makes it priceless!

Is there really a tunnel under the Mansion?

There was. It ran from M&H Zinc, and carried steam to the Mansion, as well as to the Julius W. Hegeler I Home. It was later used in the dryers.  This tunnel was not as large as local folklore would have one believe.

Can I see the whole house today?

Our regular tour takes about one hour and allows guests to view the main rooms of the house as a visitor would at the turn of the century.  The tour also provides a glimpse into the lives of those who worked at the Mansion.  Seeing the entire house takes MUCH more time.  Ask your tour guide how you can see more of the house at a later date, by appointment.

Why isn’t there a guidebook?

There are a couple of reasons for this. They can be very expensive to make. The Foundation uses the majority of our annual budget towards preserving and protecting the Mansion. That leaves very little financial resources available to make such a guidebook. The biggest reason, however, is simply because the Foundation is lucky enough to have so much information that it is nearly impossible to make a guidebook. Several cumbersome volumes, maybe. A guidebook…not so much.

Can I take photos?

You are allowed to take “tourist” photos of the exterior of the Mansion, provided that you obey signs posted and stay out of areas that are being worked on.

Professional photography sessions, including but not limited to:  weddings, engagements, dances, special occasions, senior portraits require a permit, advanced permission and payment of permit fees.  Professional photography sessions are required to have a staff member present at all times and signed contracts.