Montgomery County Illinois History

548 South Main Street
Hillsboro. Illinois

For many years, Hillsboro was blessed with a row of handsome houses along South Main Street that delighted the eye with their varied architecture. Too many of these fine residences have "bitten the dust" in recent years, but we are grateful for those that remain.

The house at 548 South Main was built by the late C. W. "Squire" Grassel in 1907 for his bride, Miss Frances Glenn. Mr. Grassel was a Hillsboro businessman with large land holdings and was called "Squire" because he had once been a justice of the peace. Miss Glenn was the daughter of Captain and Mrs. John Glenn, members of a prominent, early Hillsboro family. Legend has it that Miss Glenn would not marry the "Squire" until he agreed to build her a house identical to one that she had visited in Monmouth, Illinois.

After "Squire" Grassel's death in 1944, ownership of the house passed to his daughter, Mrs. Frances Mott, and, later, to the Heckel family. Mr. and Mrs. Salsi acquired the house in 1961.

The exterior of the house is of a style popular in the early days of this century, sometimes referred to as "Queen Anne". The many curves and angles of the facade are set off by two large leaded glass windows.

One's first impression of the interior is the richness of the woodwork oak in the hallway and mahogany in the living and dining rooms on either side. The sliding double doors which divide the rooms are unique, being of oak on one side to harmonize with the hall and mahogany on the other to match the living room and dining room.

The hallway contains an interesting antique coat rack and a hand painted vase brought from Germany by Mrs. Salsi's grandmother, Mrs. Christian Rohlfing. The nativity scene displayed on the fireplace mantel was made by Miss Cynthia Salsi.

The carpeting throughout the first floor was designed by Mrs. Salsi and made to order by Bigelow. The large living room carpet was made in one piece. The furniture upholstered in green and gold was custom made for the living room. All the light fixtures in this room are original to the house. Visitors will pass through the music room on their way to the back stairs.

There are four bedrooms on the upper floor and a very interesting bath. The bathtub is one of a limited number manufactured by the Kohler Company for the centennial of their company. The lavatory bowl was made in Italy.

In the hall, note the hanging light fixture which was made for a combination of electric and gas light. The fixtures in the north bedroom are of this type, also.
The bowl and pitcher set on the washstand in the hall belonged to Mrs. Christian Rohlfing.

The impressive curved wall of the front staircase is enhanced by a contrasting wallpaper and draperies on the two high windows. On the landing, a small oval stained glass window glows above the curving window seat.

Returning to the first floor, the dining room is furnished in French provincial and lighted by a Straus chandelier. The attractive kitchen was remodeled by the Salsi’s and incorporates the area of the former kitchen, pantry and back porch.

Behind the house is a large garage with a recreation room furnished with a pool table, bar, jukebox, etc.

Posted in: Hillsboro
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