1881 Second Empire – Henry, IL

SOLD / Archived From 2018
Added to OHD on 3/13/18   -   Last OHD Update: 4/25/18   -   39 Comments
Address Withheld

Maps: Street, Aerial












In 1881 this French 2nd Empire style home with mansard roof, fully bracketed and articulated, with a plain Italianate base and Gothic Revival interior was started. The home's frame was constructed with pegs (no nails at all!) by the original owner (Frederick Potter I, a retired shipbuilder) who also created the cornices, tower, doors and sash. He designed the woodwork and each piece was numbered, as was each piece of lumber in the 16 room house. From the two etched marble fireplaces to the grand dining room with mahogany built ins to the original Queen Ann glass window in the 50' tall tower, this home is incredible. In 1964 after 5 generations of the original Potter family living in the home, it was sold outside the family and has been occupied almost continuously since. The home has been registered with the Central Illinois Landmark Foundation and wears a plaque to show it. The huge lot includes a gorgeous carriage house and a greenhouse that was imported from Europe.
Links, Photos & Additional Info

39 Comments on 1881 Second Empire – Henry, IL

OHD does not represent homes on this site. Contact the agent listed for details including current price and status.
  1. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 9367 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Thanks to EOlson and Joseph Johnson for sharing!

  2. J.M.Young-Santiago says: 48 comments

    When I saw the exterior, I said to myself “be still my heart”! Love at 1st sight, too bad I’m older and the sq ft is too much for me to live in or want to deal with….

  3. peeweebcpeeweebc says: 703 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1885 Italianate.

    I’ve seen this before, a grand old home. Have wondered about the faint etchings on the fireplace.

    • JimHJimH says: 3765 comments
      OHD Supporter

      The mantel is slate, with incised decoration and a faux marbleized finish, a pretty one though relatively common.

      It’s crazy to be able to buy an antique house of this quality at the price, though the foreclosure and a slow local economy accounts for it. Taxes aren’t bad for Illinois at about $3000. A few of us should get together and make it the OHD Old Folks Home.

      • peeweebcpeeweebc says: 703 comments
        OHD Supporter

        1885 Italianate.

        I’m in! I get my first social security check in May, I’m an official member of the old people club 🙂

      • RosewaterRosewater says: 3990 comments
        OHD Supporter

        1875 Italianate cottage
        Noblesville, IN

        I have often thought that a nonprofit, co-operative effort in that regard would be a VERY wise idea for those of moderate, stable means who do not have large supportive families, and who do not wish to end up in institutionalized elder warehousing, to invest in. How that would happen, or if current examples exist, I am unaware. Though this house is great, I’d much rather fade away in that great house down in MS where it’s nice and warm, and taxes and costs overall are relatively inexpensive. + the chair is already there ready to schlep my future old azz up and down the stairs in vintage style! Heheheh 😉

        • Marian says: 9 comments

          The millennial generation calls it co-living and are really into it. They like the sense of community and it’s much cheaper than having a home solo.

        • Zann says: 518 comments

          I’m a good bit away from retirement, but I have had the same thought myself. I don’t know if it is a “thing,” as they say, but it would be a way to not worry about the future and have something to look forward to.

        • SueSue says: 177 comments
          OHD Supporter

          1802 Cape

          I don’t think we will ever retire but that is the idea I want for the expansion of Aloha Farm. To create a community that is there to help the chronically ill and with the rescue animals that work with them. I have always loved the idea of community and having others around. One of the things that they find in the places where people live longest is that they have very tight knit communities. I truly want to go to my grave knowing I loved many.

      • Mary C. says: 173 comments
        OHD Supporter

        Upstate, NY

        Me, too! I’ll buy all the porch rockers.

      • Jane says: 19 comments

        I too have thought about repurposing homes in this manner. The only drawback are the stairs. I live in a college town, and investors here are restoring the old homes and turning them into housing for college students. Not idea but better than losing the houses. The exteriors are restored. The public rooms are restored. The bedrooms and bathrooms are updated.

      • Jen says: 69 comments

        I felt the same exact way and moreso as I went through it (by pics;) I am in the same situation as you — just a bit too old for the loving touches it needs and too large.. Oh, well. <3

      • rosemary123abc says: 1 comments

        I find it remarkable that so many people are responding to this idea. I agree, I think it is a great way to retire in a fulfilling supportive environment. I would be interested in something like this.

  4. Woeisme says: 83 comments

    I wonder if Olson and Johnson get kidded about their name…just kidding. This old place is great. The neighborhood looks peaceful. The crime rate is low according to Realtor.com. I really like this one.

    • David says: 27 comments

      Henry is a fine, all-American town. Home to the annual county fair and one of the best 4th of July celebrations I have ever been to.

  5. Margaret says: 44 comments

    I’m in. I will bring the gallons of stripper for all that unfortunate paint. Wish there were some photos of the carriage house and the tower.

    • Hoyt Clagwell says: 223 comments

      And photos of the greenhouse mentioned in the description.

    • Jen says: 69 comments

      You buy the house…I’ll rent the carriage house from you for life. Oh, I probably don’t have that much longer to live but I can dream…

    • Zann says: 518 comments

      I completely misread part of this comment and am now both ashamed and tickled. Good grief…..

  6. Grant FreemanGrant Freeman says: 459 comments

    I said it when this was posted in the link exchange and I’ll say it again. That’s a whole lot of magificent house (and carriage house) for a pretty darned good price. Wish I was ready to retire and take on this as a project.

  7. KarenZ says: 795 comments
    OHD Supporter

    I sure hope that the person/people that buy this keep those fabulous sinks in the bedrooms! I love those and believe that it was an awesome detail that helped people to deal with dad being in the bathroom when you had to brush your teeth and wash up, lol!

    • Michael MackinMichael Mackin says: 1137 comments

      Some great original details all over this one. The sinks are what caught my eye as well. I would like to get a closer look at what appears to be the carriage house!

    • RosewaterRosewater says: 3990 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1875 Italianate cottage
      Noblesville, IN

      Those are original – and really great! 🙂

  8. Paula Moore says: 10 comments

    Love this beautiful house! Too bad it’s located in Illinois. Too far, but one can dream.

  9. RosewaterRosewater says: 3990 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1875 Italianate cottage
    Noblesville, IN

    This is the most exciting fixer so far this year IMO. If it’s not EOlson who ends up with it, I sure hope it’s going to be someone with an equal amount of enthusiasm for just how great this place is and could be even more so with not all that much effort really. Not to mention the fact that It’s a SMOKIN good deal at that price; (and likely it will end up in that range). LOCATION, (as always), regarding the relative remoteness of Henry, is going to be the most significant factor in the story of what happens to this GREAT house. Fingers crossed for a OHD happy ending!!! 🙂

  10. Wendy says: 3 comments

    My jaw always drops when I see the prices asked for amazing places like this. Here in Belgium, you wouldn’t even get the piece of land for that price, not even if it comes out of a foreclosure. Besides that comment, the house is spectacular, with all these little extra features everywhere, all except the horrible carpet of course.

  11. Jason B. says: 206 comments

    Kelly went and poured on the “awesome sauce” with this one! In love with it, for sure! I wish my house had a tower that grand!

  12. Kathy Minton says: 1 comments

    I’ve always wanted to redo an old grand home. Wish it were further south. Too old for this cold. I always thought I would redo a home and become a foster parent. I grew up in an orphanage and that was always my dream. Just didn’t work out.

  13. Colleen J says: 1284 comments

    Not very often you find one to restore but still can live in as you do it. Also not very often you find one with an intact carriage house! This is a steal of a deal, feel sorry though for the person who had the foreclosure, you could see he/she was starting some restore work.

  14. DianeEG says: 427 comments

    Henry is between LaSalle and Peoria on the Illinois River at the site of the first lock and dam on that river. A beautiful setting, lots of history, not all that far to either location for work with the charm of small town living. Illinois has a lot of negative Chicago and state government PR out there (with just reasons) but these little towns, along the Mississippi, Illinois and Ohio Rivers are wonderful places to live and even restore old homes. As to this home, I’ve never been one to think “I’ll buy this home and stripe all the wood” – I can either live with the paint or pass on the house. BUT this may be the one exception where I’d strip all the paint off the stairway because it would make a HUGE difference in it’s beauty and match the rest of the downstairs wood. Seems to be the perfect home to restore to awesomeness.

  15. kathy lee stokes-phillips says: 204 comments

    corner sink is cute, build ins r awesome, price unbelievable, would love to see the european greenhouse

  16. darla says: 110 comments

    mon Dieu! C’est magnifique!!!!!
    Arsenic and old lace, anyone? I couldn’t do this on my own, like so many others.

  17. Crimson_Roo says: 126 comments

    As others have said, such a lovely home! The only changes I’d make are to the decor so that it isn’t so dark and to strip the paint. (I know some of these houses had painted woodwork originally, but surely not avocado green!) Really, I think I love everything about this house and would seriously consider it – except that I don’t live anywhere near IL and don’t look to move there any time soon. Ah, well; this will be such a delight for the person who does get it!

  18. abevy says: 375 comments

    Love this house. Seems like we were all over the states with so many “see This”. Love door, mantles and darling sink in bath. Painting is lovely also. I would love to have that cupboard upstairs.

  19. David Redlands says: 78 comments

    A steal of a deal on a Gorgeous home! So much there to work with! Love it! Congrats to the new owners!

Comment Here

OHD Supporters: Log in to have your comment tagged. Not registered? Do so here.
Not an OHD Supporter? Become one!


Think before you type! 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. Comments are moderated and will not be public right away.

Click here to read the comment rules, updated 11/11/18.
Commenting means you've read and will abide by the comment rules.

OHD does not represent this home. Price, status and other details must be independently verified.

If you have photos of the posted property, click here to contact OHD.