1854 Italianate – Jacksonville, IL

Added to OHD on 3/20/17   -   Last OHD Update: 4/12/20   -   54 Comments
SOLD / Archived Post
Are you the new owner? Comment below, we'd love to say hi!

876 W State St, Jacksonville, IL 62650

  • $197,000
  • 7 Bed
  • 4 Bath
  • 7104 Sq Ft
  • 1.08 Ac.
Italian Renaissance Style Architecture built for prominent banker in 1854. This home is full of history! All brick Symmetrical home boasts the original beautiful staircase, very large rooms with 12 ft ceilings, 8 fireplaces. Most of the original moldings and light fixtures are in the home. 7104 Sq feet with original hardwood floors. Glass observatory or Cupola at the top of home offers very interesting views in all directions. Bank owned property SOLD AS IS. Heating system needs repaired or replaced. All reasonable offers considered. Motivated Seller.
Contact Information
Scott Eoff, RE/MAX,
(217) 245-9613

State: | Region: | Associated Styles or Type:
Period & Associated Styles: , | Misc:

54 Comments on 1854 Italianate – Jacksonville, IL

OHD does not represent this home. Comments are not monitored by the agent. Status, price and other details may not be current, verify using the listing links up top. Contact the agent if you are interested in this home.
  1. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 12127 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Thanks John S. for sharing!

    • John Shiflet says: 5426 comments

      Um…actually, Mike E. posted a link to the mansion before I did but for reasons unknown I somehow overlooked it in the message stack. In any event, a couple of years ago I stood in front of this outstanding 1850’s early Italianate in awe. I took a photo of it in the morning and had to come back just before sunset for a second look and photo.
      State Street has an array of impressive Victorian era homes and Jacksonville, IL, a college town, has a cool academic atmosphere overall. The only barrier for us to consider living there was the high property taxes but that is a problem statewide. The current interior of this house is very deceiving with its wall to wall white out treatments. Some idea of the ornate, colorful, original period decor can be learned from the rainbow colorful glass in the cupola. There could be some murals or period stencils lurking behind the white paint or perhaps those details could have been lost in a prior renovation. I believe a well experienced and knowledgeable restorer familiar with interiors from the late Antebellum era could bring back the original glory in this house. From the first glance, there’s no doubt this house was built to impress and it still does. It’s sadly now lender owned and offers are being solicited. In some markets, this would easily be a million dollar property but not in Jacksonville. I also liked that this town of 19,000 had most of the new commercial development concentrated mainly along West Morton Avenue. The people we met in town were all very friendly. Downtown there was a specialty stained glass studio that custom makes painted (painted and fired like those in figural church windows) stained glass. I was very impressed with the quality of their work. If there were any “bad” areas of town, I did not find them. On a morning walking tour along State Street, we passed by a group of middle school students learning about local history by visiting some of the historic homes in the town. Placards with historical information had been set up along their route. Education seems to be highly respected there, another plus. But then there are the taxes… Here’s a photo album highlighting some of Jacksonville’s historic homes https://www.flickr.com/photos/11236515@N05/albums/72157660334130225 and, as mentioned, I took two photos of this mansion, known locally as the Ayers Mansion. I’d love to revisit Jacksonville someday and find this house fully restored to its original period splendor. Very few early Italianate mansions like this one remain and I’m not aware of any that are so intact and reasonably priced. The brass chandeliers alone make this house remarkable but there’s so much more in this house to appreciate. I already envy the next owners!

      • Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 12127 comments

        1901 Folk Victorian
        Chestatee, GA

        Sorry Mike, thanks too!

      • KarenZKarenZ says: 1154 comments
        OHD Supporter

        John, I always enjoy it when you have visited an area and photographed it in detail. It gives life to the listings to know about the gorgeous surrounding homes! Thank you!

        • John Shiflet says: 5426 comments

          Thanks for the kind words, Karen. I enjoy sharing the photos I take with others who appreciate old houses. As the saying goes, they don’t build them like that anymore.

      • Marc says: 241 comments

        Fantastic Flickr John! Have you been to Butte, MT? I think you would be in heaven there. I’d love to see what catches your eye there.

        • John Shiflet says: 5426 comments

          The closest I’ve been to Butte is southwestern Wyoming where I lived for 4 years in my early 20’s. Doubtful I will visit Butte anytime soon but if it were to happen, I would make sure I had my camera handy. Same for places like Deadwood, SD, or Goldfields, NV. There’s a lot of beautiful country to see out there.

  2. SeanSean says: 158 comments
    1928 Spanish Revival
    Long Beach, CA

    Wow! Love me some Italianate!

    Some paint stripper, varnish, and something other than white would do wonders and transform this into the perfect home!

    I’m sad that the past owner ran into problems, as I’m sure he/she was really in love with this beautiful Lady. I know I’d be.

  3. evers310evers310 says: 109 comments

    Looks very similar to the Hay House in Macon, Ga. though not nearly as elaborate. Still a beautiful house though!


  4. Linda R says: 196 comments

    WOW, the land, staircase, marble mantles and ga-ga-gorgeous ceiling lights are worth the $$$. Unique bath situation. Street views show many fine old homes in this town.

  5. Holly Sterrett says: 3 comments

    I would buy the house, just because it has a lot of original light fixtures which are AMAZING….

  6. Ross says: 2416 comments

    I am gobsmacked at what appears to be a wealth of original gas chandeliers (many weirdly converted to electric).

    Stunning exterior, stunning staircase, stunning marble mantels, and a wealth of original trim/doors.

    Wow. Just a big friggin’ wow!

  7. Rick says: 11 comments

    Ross, remember when they were converted it was probably right after lightbulbs being used in homes so people then wanted to showoff to everyone the “new technology” Not very stylish today but then it was… Now whoever put that fiberglass shower in tht bathroom ..they need a talkin to.

  8. Lori says: 108 comments

    Gorgeous house…I got all excited thinking it was in Jacksonville, Florida. Sigh!

  9. Robertcn says: 68 comments

    I love me a good italianate.

  10. Will says: 59 comments

    What a shame the woodwork didn’t survive being whitewashed. Looks like someone was doing renovations and gave up on it. Still a beautiful house and would be a masterpiece under the right touch. A steal at that price.

  11. Angelica says: 1 comments

    Omg what a beautiful home. With tlc she could be restored back to her former glory

  12. Pookha says: 132 comments

    A lot of good stuff in place. Love the cupola.

  13. Rudolph Secours says: 1 comments

    It is a very beautiful house . The staircase would look better if the runs(stained wood) contrasted with the rises(white paint)

  14. AmieBackAmieBack says: 41 comments

    I thought of one of the many lessons I learned reading your blog when I saw those, Ross. Gas up, electric down.

  15. EyesOnYou1959EyesOnYou1959 says: 253 comments
    Lincoln, NE

    It’s such a shame that this grand old home has fallen into disrepair like
    this. It would be so nice to have seen it when it was originally built.

  16. PhillipPhillip says: 271 comments
    1910 Tudor/craftsman mix

    I saw this on another site a few days ago and have been drooling over it since. As always John you have inside knowledge, you are amazing in that regard. I am not so sure Ross that the chandeliers are modified gasoliers versus being gas/electrics that were retrofitted to the house when electricity became available. I would need to look at them up close to know, but there were some really high style transition chandeliers made. Either way they are knockouts. I think that given the work needed and the price of real estate there that this project cannot be approached from strictly a ROI standpoint. It needs to be someone’s labor of love. But wow is there ever a lot to love about it. It could just be a showplace. Given that it is bank owned the cash buyer could come in and potentially get a real deal.I consider this one of the more interesting deals that I have seen in a while.

    • Ross says: 2416 comments

      The chandeliers in the house well pre-date the age of electricity.

      They were later altered to accept electric arms.

      While this was not uncommon, the change looks really weird on the chandeliers in this house! It would be like getting in a Model T car and finding AC and power windows! Huge disconnect!

      The White House was electrified in 1892. My 1894 house was innovative for the area in having gas/electric chandeliers and sconces.

      By the late 1890s all-electric fixtures started becoming more common. But, gas and gas/electric fixtures were still sold for many decades thereafter.

      Oh, the pair of large parlor chandeliers are extraordinary. They take my breath away. And I would SO remove the electric arms!

      • Ross says: 2416 comments

        The 1832 Old Merchant’s House in NYC retains its twin gas chandeliers, never converted.


      • RosewaterRosewater says: 7126 comments
        OHD Supporter

        1875 Italianate cottage
        Noblesville, IN

        Absolutely correct. Those Cornelius and Baker gasoliers WAY pre-date electricity; and the (rather late) addition of the sockets (to those which are modified) is not only VERY clunky but also very unfortunate. In this case these fixtures are now valued like vases with holes drilled into the bottoms; and worse still missing all of the shades. It’s a shame all the way round.

        • PhillipPhillip says: 271 comments
          1910 Tudor/craftsman mix

          How do you know that they are Cornelius and Baker chandeliers? Have you definitively traced them down to another chandelier exactly like that one that is known to have been made by them? Just curious what you are basing that call on.

          • RosewaterRosewater says: 7126 comments
            OHD Supporter

            1875 Italianate cottage
            Noblesville, IN

            Trust – Ross knows what he’s talking about. Me – I’ve studied the subject. The EXPERT however may be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/antiquelighting ; and I happily, once again, HIGHLY recommend anyone with an interest in gas lighting to check out His posts. Here is a very slightly younger example, (missing its swags); https://flic.kr/p/4gfcgn

            Cheers! 🙂

            • MJGMJG says: 2269 comments
              OHD Supporter


              Rosewater I Agree. Studying antique electric lights and early electrical devices for years and reading the illustrated catalogs, you get an eye for things. Seeing these for me is mostly and instant answer. Now, we can all have the shock where something isn’t what we thought, and that’s fun because then we learn something new, but this one to me is a no brainer. These were always gas.

          • MJGMJG says: 2269 comments
            OHD Supporter


            So I know this is from 2017 but I just wanted to add to the discussion. I also believe these were originally gas lamps from my many years of study on the subject of historic electric devices.

            Most important one, they still retain their gas keys.

            The second is, this style of chandelier wasn’t popular by the time electric chandeliers start showing up. So in the early electric catalogs, you’ll see Aesthetic Movement electric lights as well as the some new designs with flowers and leaves, but nothing like the styles of these lamps. This style lamp was already considered outdated by 1880. Remember, Edison didn’t improve electric bulb until 1879.
            Check out this and many other catalogs if you need more education on the subject. There are lots of books out there on archive that you may enjoy.

  17. Mary Beth says: 53 comments

    I think I could nest here very well! You could work on it room by room. I hope it goes to someone will love it.

  18. PhillipPhillip says: 271 comments
    1910 Tudor/craftsman mix

    Yes Ross, I more than understand gasoliers and gas/electric chandeliers. I have close to 200 antique fixtures, many of them gasoliers, gas sconces, and especially gas/electric. I restore antique fixtures and have been for 30 years. But I don’t necessarily see signs that these were altered, but like I said I would need to see more close up pictures so that i could study the body and arms. I am certainly not ruling out that they were altered, but i am also saying i consider it even more possible that they were made as gas/electrics. In order to mount the electric arms to an existing gasolier it would require obviously complete disassembly of the fixture and then swapping the central iron hub out for one set up for gas and electricity. Could that have been done? Yes. But I sort of doubt it. I tend to believe they were made that way as nothing about them looks jerry rigged. I would again need to see the body of them up close before I would bet the ranch on it.

    • Michael Mackin says: 2841 comments

      I was wondering about the missing glass in the light fixtures. Are period replacement glass hard to find?

      • RosewaterRosewater says: 7126 comments
        OHD Supporter

        1875 Italianate cottage
        Noblesville, IN

        Not really hard to find, but hard to find someone who has them to part with them; and if they do, VERY expensive. You might could get lucky for one or two on Ebay. Finding correct replacements for a whole house full would be damn near impossible and pricey in the extreme if so.

        • Ross says: 2416 comments

          I was able to find period-correct shades for all my gas/electric chandeliers.

          It took about a year. The cost was not too bad.

          I found them all on eBay. I did a “saved search” and every day received email updates!

  19. Lindsay G says: 531 comments

    Yay finally an interior cupola picture! Most of the houses shown on this site and others don’t include the cupola pictures for some reason. Not blaming Kelly at all. Obviously the sites that are promoting the houses aren’t displaying them for some reason.

  20. Kimberley Dudley -Pyett. Known as Kimmie. says: 13 comments

    Another Amazing house really stands out in its own Beauty. The Marble Fireplaces are gorgeous too. I would love to take it on but not a good idea on ones own. Regards Kimmie England.xxoo..

  21. KarenZKarenZ says: 1154 comments
    OHD Supporter

    I have some fixation on stairwells in these old houses, but the style of stairs in an Italianate are really something special!

  22. Andrea says: 6 comments

    This is in my hometown. I’ve driven by this house thousands of times. No pictures would do it or the other homes on State Street justice.
    There are so many historic homes in the area, but the ones on State are the most beautiful. We sold my childhood home (1872) just outside of town, this month – Far more simple, and yet with far more ornate woodwork. This area has a wide variety of architecture and a TON of history.

  23. John Shiflet says: 5426 comments

    I’m curious to know who the architect of this house was. I have volume one (1852) of Philadelphia architect Samuel Sloan’s two volume MODEL ARCHITECT and had wondered if this house could have been one of his designs. However, nothing closely resembling the Ayers Mansion was found. Perhaps this could be a design from volume two? (which I do not have and have not seen) I would expect the mansion’s architect to have been at least regionally prominent if not nationally known.

    • PhillipPhillip says: 271 comments
      1910 Tudor/craftsman mix

      I wondered the same. I keep thinking about how this house would look with the now missing decorative brackets that I am guessing were once supporting the eaves. Can you imagine the right paint job on this house, one that Calvert Vaux would approve of. What an exciting house to restore and then live in.

      • John Shiflet says: 5426 comments

        I had time over the weekend to see if I could find an accessible copy of Calvert Vaux’s (1824-1895) published plans. I could only find an 1874 second edition of his VILLAs & COTTAGES: (Internet Archive) https://archive.org/details/villascottages00vaux
        By this late date, (1874) the early cube shaped Italianates were becoming obsolete, especially for mansion level homes. I still think the rather striking exterior of the Ayers mansion is the result of being designed by a major architect. Additional research may in time reveal the design provenance of this outstanding home.

      • Ross says: 2416 comments

        There may never have been brackets under the eaves.

        But, getting up on a TALL ladder would confirm either way!

  24. Andrea says: 6 comments

    I grew up looking at this house. I’m almost positive there were, at one time, brackets. If I remember correctly, they rotted and were taken down. That would have been somewhere during the 80s.

    • Ross says: 2416 comments

      Hi Andrea,

      In my own 1894 home, I regularly meet people who distinctly recall some feature about the house…which never existed.

      One woman had a powerful memory of riding up/down the dumbwaiter when she was a child in the 1950s. I felt bad telling her that the dumbwaiter was removed in 1929.

      At the 50th anniversary of a fraternity which was in the house in the 1960s, numerous now-elderly men excitedly told me about a tunnel leading from the basement to the carriage house. “We so loved going through it!” I was dumbfounded by this as utterly no evidence existed of such feature. When I asked them to show me where it was, they said: “Sure!” When we went into the basement…none could quite remember where it was.

      And so on.

      I am not saying that your memory is incorrect.

      I am just concerned that there is an assumption about missing brackets. This may be true. But it may not be.

      Memories are a tricky thing. Even my own! I far more trust evidence. Such as archival images of the house. Or, getting up on a tall ladder, which should indicate any ghost outlines of missing brackets. If no outlines exist, it is unlikely that such brackets ever existed.

  25. John Shiflet says: 5426 comments

    Thanks for that information, Andrea. Unfortunately for the next restorer, eave brackets/corbels from the 1840’s to 1860’s period on these cube form Italianates tended to be huge. (over 3 feet long and 2 feet or more wide was common) They can be replicated (from multiple pieces glued and laminated together) but originally they were made of single thick boards joined in a three layer sandwich. The center layer was sometimes 3 inches or more in thickness.
    We should keep in mind there were still virgin American forests in the Antebellum period with trees that were hundreds or even a thousand years old or greater. By 1900, nearly all of these forest giants had been logged away now only remembered from faded photos from that period.

  26. Andrea says: 6 comments

    Yes. They were huge. I’m fairly certain not 2 feet wide.. but definitely around 3 feet long. That area is still surrounded by farmland with low development. Only in the last ~10 years has the city grown in houses.. The population remains the same, actually about 1000 less than when I was living there (until the early 1990s). There’s still virgin forest in that area as well.. and trees that are older than documentation.

  27. John Shiflet says: 5426 comments

    Andrea, I wasn’t very clear; the corbels/brackets are usually turned on edge towards the viewer and my 2 foot wide comment referred to their length out towards the eaves. The actual thickness when the corbels are put on their side is usually a foot or less. A hint of what might have once been there can be seen in the surviving smaller corbels on the cupola or belvedere. Here’s a somewhat similar house from the early 1860’s in Adrian, MI: http://www.adrianarchitecture.org/italianate/ (204 East Church St.) If there were older Historic American Buildings Survey photos taken of the Ayers House, they might show the missing corbels. I’m sure there is some archival evidence somewhere showing the missing corbels for this landmark early mansion.

    • RossRoss says: 2416 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
      Emporia, KS

      This house may have had brackets.

      It may not have.

      Here is another Italianate with huge overhanging eaves and no brackets:


      • John Shiflet says: 5426 comments

        Ross, you’re absolutely right. It was not mandatory to have eave brackets/corbels but most Italianates from this era did have them. Given that corbels fit under the eaves and subsequent gutter or roof leaks may have damaged them to the point where they needed to be removed, it’s not always easy to say brackets existed or not. Archival photos or paint “ghosts” in eaves may provide clues.

  28. Jennifer HT says: 745 comments

    What a gorgeous house!! I can see the finished product being amazing!!

  29. PhillipPhillip says: 271 comments
    1910 Tudor/craftsman mix

    Yeah, i am glad to know it did once have the brackets. It is hard to imagine that it would not have. I even wonder John whether Vaux could have designed this home. I am going to change my opinion on the gasoliers and agree with Ross and Rosewater, they were modified. What a shame they did not just electrify them rather than drilling holes in the body. If you did remove the arms Ross what would you fill those holes with? I am actually quite familiar with Paul aka the gas wizard at Quality Lighting. I bought an interesting set of 4 double arm mission sconces from him and I sent a broken part to a fabulous arts and crafts chandelier for him to weld. It was amazing the quality of this weld, not many people could pull that off. He is an artist, no doubt about it. I would love to work for him, I am obsessed with old lights.


Comment Here

To keep comments a friendly place for each other, owners and agents, comments that do not add value to the conversation in a positive manner will not be approved. Keep topics to the home, history, local attractions or general history/house talk.

Commenting means you've read and will abide by the comment rules.
Click here to read the comment rules, updated 1/12/20.

OHD does not represent this home. Price, status and other details must be independently verified. Do not contact the agent unless you are interested in the property.