Matteson Residence

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

There is now known photograph of Governor Joel T. Matteson's palatial residence which stood on the west side of Fourth Street, opposite the official Governor's Mansion, and which, with its outbuildings and grounds, occupied almost a city block. But this artist's sketch from a lithograph of 1860 shows it in its essential details. The property extended from Jackson Street south to the John T. Stuart residence and from Fourth back to Third Street. Governor Matteson, a very wealthy man, was openly contemptuous of the facilities and general style of the Governor's Mansion, and in 1856, before leaving office, erected this costly dwelling for his own use and with avowed intention of "putting to shame" the official residence. It was a real show place - unquestionably the finest home in Springfield and downstate Illinois, and few in Chicago could compare with it in its time. It boasted a large glass-domed conservatory, a great barn and a coach house of equal proportions, a gardener's house, extensive gardens and landscaping, with statuary and other embelishments. Some of these outbuildings are still standing in the rear of residences on the site south of Jackson Street. Its interior furnishings are said to have been very beautiful, including fine paintings and other works of art, imported furniture, etc. Here princely hospitality was dispensed and for years the residence intrigued the interests of visitors to Springfield. Governor Matteson and his family lived there for a number of years, after which the mansion was occupied by his son-in-law and daughter - Mr. and Mrs. R. Eaton Goodell. While members of the family were absent from the city, the residence was wrecked by fire on the night of January 28, 1873, one of the coldest in local history, the thermometer registering 30 degrees below zero. For years thereafter, the property stood in ruins. We are reprinting this feature in response to many requests which have come in from time to time.

Submitted by: Jeanie Lowe.