A lot has happened! The biggest news of all is that the Parlor has been restored! The Reception Room was finished in 2006. To remind you how stunning it is, please see photo below. The Parlor was finished in November of 2018, and it looks absolutely beautiful. The ceiling was cleaned and restored by Historic Surfaces. Dan, and Kristin also helped, working on their backs on scaffolding, Michelangelo style. The floors were restored by Casey Quinn of Estate Flooring. He was able to preserve most of the original parquetry; there are very few pieces that needed to be replaced altogether. The wallpaper is very special. We did not know what the original wallpaper looked like, and were hesitant to pull away the fireplace surround and see if there was a remnant there. In one of the bedroom closet drawers was a large book. Upon closer inspection, it was discovered that the book was Mary Hegeler Carus’ personal scrapbook. A large sample of the Parlor wallpaper had been affixed to one of the pages, and was labeled as such. The Trustworth Studios wallpaper company was contacted, and they were able to make a reproduction. The National Decorating Service Company hung the wall paper. So if you haven’t been here since 2018, you simply must come and take a tour!
Camilla’s bedroom hasn’t been restored per se. A few years ago we began giving Whole House Tours. These tours, which last about 3 hours long, cover the house from cupola to boiler room. Several of the bedrooms had become offices, but Mr. Hegeler’s/Alwin’s and Paul and Mary’s remained virtually unchanged. It was decided that Camilla’s bedroom (which was an office) should be turned back into a bedroom. We have kept Alwin’s analemma lines and are careful not to step on them. Some of the furnishings are original to the home, bringing back the look and feel of a Victorian lady’s chamber.
If you’ve already taken the regular, one-hour tour and want to see more, please contact Tour Director, Tricia Kelly at (815) 224-5892 or check here and Facebook for scheduled dates and availability.
Finally, the Little Shop in the Big House, our gift shop, has had a complete overhaul. We have T-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, caps, mugs, steins, totes, pens, toys, posters, and books, books, books! Southern Illinois University published a wonderful book about Mary Hegeler Carus in 2017, available only in our little shop! We have an impressive collection of the Open Court’s Pop Culture and Philosophy series. Be sure to stop in and check it out!