Montgomery County Illinois History

531 West Tremont Street
Hillsboro, Illinois

The economy of Hillsboro was enjoying a boom when this handsome residence was built in 1912. The architectural exuberance of that period can be seen in the curved portico with balcony and columns that forms the entrance to the house. The imposing two-story columns were salvaged from dismantled buildings at the St. Louis World’s Fair.

The first owner of this house was J. J. Frey, one of Hillsboro’s early industrialists. Founder of the Hillsboro Light and Power Company, he was also a real estate and insurance agent and helped develop Kortkamp, Schram City and Taylor Springs. Mr. Frey later moved to St. Louis and sold his home to Herman C. Perry, superintendent of five coal mines in this county owned by the Indiana-Illinois Coal Corporation. After Mr. Perry's death in 1931, the house was sold to Alec Gudder, who converted it into apartments. In 1954, the property was acquired by Mr. McCaw and his late wife, Genevieve, to accommodate their young family of four children.

The house sits on a 100' x 265' lot with many beautiful trees and evergreens. A short flight of steps leads to the large front door topped With a fan light and flanked by sidelights of leaded milk glass , the latter installed by the McCaws. Other alterations made by the McCaws include replacement of 32 light fixtures.

Passing through the spacious hallway, to the right is the living room, done in shades of green and gold. The fireplace border and hearth are of Italian marble. A fine photograph of the house in the snow sits on the cabinet on the north wall, together with a Capo di Monte urn brought from Italy by Mr. McCaw's daughter. The candy dish on the coffee table is also Capo di Monte. A large antique lamp sits in a niche in the hallway outside the living room.

The den presents a very masculine appearance with its black leather covered furniture and a collection of pipes hung on the wall. The corner fireplace is electric.

The glassed-in summer room on the north side of the house is another inviting area. In a corner is an interesting lamp base made from a piece of driftwood picked up on the beach in Florida by Mrs. McCaw.

The breakfast room is one of several dining areas in the house. On the pine hutch are a Carnival Glass punchbowl and cups which were actually won at a carnival by Mrs. McCaw's brother in the 1920’s.

In the dining room, a group of framed calling cards remind us of a pleasant custom of bygone days.

Upstairs, the bedrooms are done in green, pink, blue and white. The old fashioned pedestal lavatory in the bathroom is complimented by gold plated faucets.

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