425 South 12th Street
Quincy, Ill. 62301
10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday - Saturday, from April through October
John Wood was born in Moravia, New York on December 20, 1798. His father, Daniel was a surgeon during the Revolutionary War. At the age of 20, John decided he wanted to go west into the frontier. He settled at Atlas, IL about 40 miles south of Quincy, and started to farm.
John lived in his Octagonal house on one side of 12th Street and his son Daniel lived on the other. His Octagonal house had cost over $200,000 to build. It was the most expensive house in Illinois at the time. In 1873, the country had an economic downturn and many people lost a lot of money. John had not paid off all the debts for the construction of his new house and his creditors wanted their money. It became necessary for Wood to sell his new home for $40,000. John and his second wife, Mary Ann Holmes (married in 1863) moved into the Greek Revival style house with his son Daniel in 1875. John spent the last five years of his life in this house. John died in the Mansion on June 4, 1880. After John’s death, Daniel sold the Mansion and moved to Galena, Kansas. The house became a boarding house with many different families living in its various rooms. In 1906, some businesses on the corner of 12th & State wanted to tear the building down so they could have an alley put in through the block. This would have been through the middle of the meeting room. The Historical Society purchased the house to save it from destruction. At first they used it as a museum with many people going through it. Unfortunately, they did not have the money to maintain it very well and by the early 1970’s the house was in disrepair. At that time, the Historical Society decided to restore the house to its original look. To date over $500,000 has been spent on restoring the house.