Montgomery County Illinois History

Rural Route 2
Hillsboro Illinois

Many tales have been told to us concerning this property; one is that, at one time, it was a wayside inn for travelers to the state capital, then Vandalia. None of these stories, to our knowledge, have been corroborated. However, we believe the south wing of the house was the original structure and was built sometime between 1831, the earliest record of the property, and 1835. The north "T" is of later construction and could have been added after the eight acres on which the house is located was deeded to Charles P. Rush in 1873.  

The kitchen, when gutted, revealed that it was probably an outdoor kitchen, later closed in by the owners. The lower three feet of the walls were tongue and groove pine and studs were set in the narrow way instead of the usual 4”. The chimney which existed on the west wall had been erected inside the room. An out- side door and window on the north wall gave indication that this was the original   back door access. Later, the back porch, now our breakfast room, was added and access was from there to the kitchen as well. That still exists, but the other door and window were removed to make way for the newly designed kitchen.

In the renovation, only outside wails were left standing. All interior walls were removed, including a stairway between two rooms in the north wing. Three chimneys were dismantled. The interior wall that divided the two rooms in the south wing was removed and signs of another stairway appeared. The ceiling in the south wing was a foot higher than in any other part of the house. Several floor joists of logs still existed in that wing. All of this indicated to us that two separate structures had been built.

In our reconstruction, the front entrance was moved approximately 8' north to its present position. You now enter where a double window was part of an 8' x 12 ' knotty pine den, apparently added as late as the 1940’s. A covered and screened- in porch that encased the east side of the south wing was torn down and the new porch built. The turned columns were discovered under boxing on the old porch and purposely incorporated into the new porch.

There was no heat or electricity on the second floor. The rooms did have lath and plaster on walls and ceiling. Access from the north wing to the south wing was merely a cut through between two roof rafters. After completely tearing out plaster, lath, partitions and floor, new rafters, sheathing, insulation, heat, light, plumbing, and two dormers were constructed to bring about what is now two bedrooms, a den, and a full bath.

With the exception of the kitchen cabinets, the roughed-in living room, and the patio, all design, construction and finishing has been accomplished by the owners. Four years ago, it was a dream, today, after many exciting and frustrating hours of work, it is a reality.

Future projects include a covered entrance at the back door, turning the cement block building to the north into a studio, and extensive landscaping.

Posted in: Hillsboro
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