Montgomery County Illinois History

835 Oak Street
Hillsboro Illinois

"Hap" Collins built several of the houses in this block on Oak Street and completed this structure in the early 1920’s for his family. Mr. and Mrs. Charles Hull lived in the house from 1946 until April 1976, when they sold the house to the Wynns.

Buying and refinishing antiques has become a hobby for Michael and Kathy. They started with a few pieces of old furniture when they lived in an apartment on Main Street. As they continued to buy and refinish furniture, their apartment became smaller and smaller. Since April of 1976, when the Wynns moved to 835 Oak, they have completed many more projects. In fact, at times they feel as if they have already outgrown their present home!

Kathy says going to auctions has definitely developed her capacity for creativity. Michael set up one criteria--anything that she brings home must have a use. How her mind has had to work on the way home from a sale! She enjoyed looking for hidden treasures in 25 cent boxes (that cost at least $1.00 now!) until she ended up with some live Japanese knee mortars. A man from the Granite City arsenal had to come to Hillsboro to pick them up!!

Although Kathy helps out some, Michael does most of the refinishing. He says there is no easy way to do it it's a messy, time consuming job. The only pieces he says he wouldn't ever want to tackle again are the set of six oak pressed-back chairs in the dining room and the church pew with ornate work on both ends in the hallway.

Kathy's favorite pieces of furniture are items that were not originally furniture. The curved-glass stand in the front hall is ideal for plants. It was originally an umbrella display case in a store. The spool cabinet in the living room works well as a table, and the carved lady-head wood pictures on the wall were originally doors. The old oak ice box in the dining room is Ideal as Michael's bar; the inside is wallpapered. They aren't certain what the wall shelf with attached glass jars on the wall in the plant room was originally. Possibly a hardware store item from which bulk seed had been sold?

The walnut washstand in the front hallway was in Kathy's great grandfather's family (Samuel Hill McGuffin, 1847-1920). Kathy's mother can remember seeing   it used in their kitchen.

The large macramé wall-hanging in the dining room was designed and made by Vicki Vandever Cook and given to Michael and Kathy as a wedding gift in 1973.
The large fern stand in the dining room was made from a walnut newel post which came out of the Montgomery County courthouse. (Even the fern on it came from a sale) The ''Hillsboro'' picture hanging over the buffet is also an antique. The oak tea cart is one of Michael's favorite pieces.

Michael and Kathy both like clocks. On the coffee table in the living room is an old brass 8-day ship’s clock which Kathy gave to Michael when they were married. Both the grandfather's clock in the dining room and the grand Moliere in the hallway are German imports. The grand sincere (or blind man's clock) is quite unusual in that one is able to tell time on the quarter hour without seeing the face, but Just listening to it. One set of chimes strikes either one, two, three or four times, depending which quarter hour it is, followed by another chime indicating the hour number.

Kathy is crazy about wicker furniture, as can be seen in the ''plant room'' upstairs and the back porch. She isn't certain that she wants to paint any other pieces though. (She spent most of those long snowy days last winter painting wicker!) She would like to have a room large enough to use all of the pieces together sometime. Michael is also quite proud of his oak roll top desk in the den.

The walnut furniture in the bedroom was all purchased at different times and places. The bed dates back to April 1879.

Plants and stained glass windows are prevalent throughout the house. Kathy and Michael enjoy driving through older sections of towns observing and evaluating stained glass windows.

The Wynns have tried to keep types of woods used the same in most of their rooms--oak and brass in one bedroom, walnut in the other, and oak in the dining room . They are now able to be quite selective in pieces of furniture they are buying for their home. They would still like to buy an oak, curved-glass china cabinet to replace the walnut cupboard in their dining room and an unusual oak book- case for the den. However, if something more unusual or different shows up, they would probably replace ''just about''   anything in their home.

Michael's and Kathy's hobby has developed to the point that they have recently opened an antique and gift shop, "Kathy’s RB's" (RARE BARGAINS), in the basement of their home. It is usually open on Saturday and Sunday and any other time by chance or appointment. The name ''RB's '' came from a Joke--when Kathy would come home from a sale carrying an armload (or hauling a trunk loads) , Michael would say, ''What RB's did you get today? ''

Posted in: Hillsboro
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