Irwin Home

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Springfield Journal Register, date of paper which originally published the following is unknown.

This pretentious residence, one of the oldest and most striking in Springfield, now stands at 1825 5th street (note the house has been moved in the last several years and now stands on the northeast corner of Cook & Seventh streets and is being restored) but for many years it was located on the southeast corner of 6th and Cook, present site of the First Christian Church. Patterned after an architectural design which was then popular in the Southern States, it was built by Maj. Elijah Iles, one of Springfield's most noted pioneer residents, in the middle Eighteen Thirties. . . The tradition is that Major Iles selected wood for this house with great care and left it on the ground to season for more than a year. The timber, mostly 10x12s, was cut with an adz and put together with wooden pins. The weatherboarding and trim were of black walnut, also the door and interior woodwork, while the floors were of ash. . . . Major Iles sold the house and the entire block bounded by Sixth, Lawrence, Seventh and Cook Streets in 1841 to Robert Irwin. In his early business experience, Mr. Irwin was a partner of Col. John Williams in a dry goods establishment, and later was identified with the Springfield Fire & Marine Insurance Company (now the Springfield Marine Bank), first as secretary, then as cashier, up to his death March 8, 1865. In the rear of the home were a large barn and carriage house and other outbuildings. The rest of the block was used for vegetable and flower gardens. It was a fine property indeed. . . . Mrs. Irwin continued to live in the home until her passing, November 23, 1884, after which it remained in the estate, unoccupied, until about 1893, when it was sold to Edward A. Hall, of the clothing firm of Hall & Herrick, and later a vice-president of the First National Bank. . . . In 1910, when Mr. Hall sold the site to the church, he sold the house itself to Latham T. Souther, trust officer of the First National Bank, who had it moved in two sections to its present location at 1825 South 5th Street. A very remarkable job was done in the restoragion of the house, and it now rpesents the same impressive appearance as on its original site. It is one of the most distinctive homes in the city, its charm, of course, being enhanced no little by the history centering about it. . . . It was undoubtedly visited often by Abraham Lincoln in the years prior to his election as President, for Robert Irwin, a prominent Whig, was his close friend and financial adviser. In the Hall era, when this picture was made, it was also the scene of many social gatherings. Needless to add, the Southers have well maintained these hospitable traditions during their occupancy.

Submitted by: Jeanie Lowe.