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Quincy Museum

1601 Maine
Quincy, IL 62301

Website

Hours
Tuesday through Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m.

About

The 2 ½ acre lot was purchased by Mr. Newcomb for $11,000 on April 10, 1880 and originally had a Greek revival home on the site. Newcomb had that house razed to make room for his new home.

The house was built of buff colored Berea Sandstone in the Richardson Romanesque Revival Style named for Boston architecture, Henry Hobson Richardson whose work set a new standard and direction for American architecture. The sandstone was mined from the Berea Formation near Amherst, Ohio, about 25 miles west of Cleveland. The general structure of the house is seen to have a tower effect on the southeast corner with alcoves in that corner on all three floors. Along the west side of the house, to balance the tower structure on the east, we see large bay windows on each of the three floors, also giving a tower effect. The roof was originally red slate with heavy terra cotta caps along the ridges.

Careful attention to detail is shown by the stone carvings extending from ground level to chimney top.

The Richardson Romanesque style of architecture characteristically shows a broad, round arch as well as massive stone exterior with spiky or leafy architectural ornamental carvings.

The gutters and down spouts are made of copper with large ornamental scuppers.

The front porch has a total of seven pillars supporting its roof. No two capitals are alike. In fact each side of every capital represents a unique design. The lion face at the porch roof level on the east side is especially noteworthy.

Originally there was a porch on the north side of the house and it has been restored.

The house contains 14,000 square feet of living space on three floors. There are also 2,200 square feet of usable space in the attic and 4,600 in the basement for a total of 20,800 square feet.

The house was heated primarily with steam heat and the basement contained not only the furnace, hot water heater and laundry but also a wine cellar and, at one time, a bowling alley.

The plan of the house features a central living hall around which were grouped a formal parlor and den on the west side and an informal sitting room and dining room on the east side, as well as a library.

Today, as when the house was built the entrance is off the front porch into the great hall. One cannot help but be impressed with the very large solid oak front door which is 54 1/2 inches wide. The kitchen is located in the north east corner where the old built in ice box and speaking tubes can still be seen.

The second floor featured a generous central hall, which is still there. Bedrooms for the Newcomb daughters were on the west and north side and there was a double suite for Mr. and Mrs. Newcomb on the east side. This now used for exhibitions.

The interior of the house is notable for the variety of fine woods used in its construction. There were quarter-sawn oak, mahogany, birch, walnut and pine on the first floor; cherry, sycamore, yellow pine and quarter-sawn oak on the second floor; and butternut, yellow pine and cedar on the third floor. Also worth noting is the elaborately carved wood in the central hall, the decorative art-glass in a great number of windows and wood carvings above the door sills and window sills in all rooms from the first through the third floors.

The hardware fixtures are of considerable interest and each floor has its own separate pattern on the door handle, hinges, locks on shutters, pulls, etc. Those on the first floor are of a rather fancy floral design and it will be noted that even the interior of the hinges show the pattern. The fancy metal plates on the sliding doors of the rooms on the first floor are silver-colored on the interior or room side, and bronze-colored on the exterior or hall side.

In the first floor sitting room (south east corner of the first floor) the woodwork was not painted when the house was built but over the years five coats of enamel hid the beautiful birch wood. This paint was carefully stripped away and the original birch wood exposed.

The adjacent room was the library and originally had book shelves with glass fronts which were mounted on tracks and the cabinet that is there today was present then. Under the windows were window seats with pillows covered in dark red or maroon colored velvet. The drapes were hung on the semi-circular rod which was the same width as the windows.

The Stillwells redecorated the house in the 1920's and new French windows were put in the dining room, facing east. They also added a fresco around the upper part of the walls. Canvas was applied to the wall and painted. In addition canvas was also applied to the underside of the ceiling beams and painted with peach leaves on a good background. The original sconces have been replaced with modern Waterford crystal fixtures and the chandelier is a modern reproduction of the original.