Former MacMurray College, Jacksonville, Illinois

The picturesque church looks like you’re standing in the middle of a Colonial era commons, and Red Coats could march into the middle of the swath of greensward any moment. But in reality, you’re looking at the Annie Merner Chapel, at the former MacMurray college, which closed back in May of 2020. It had opened…

Eden Park Reservoir, Cincinnati

I’ve long been interested in the now largely abandoned practice in Western civilization of combining utilitarian structures with pleasure grounds in urban and even rural environments. Take Compton Hill Reservoir Park in St. Louis or Druid Hill Park in Baltimore, for example. Such practices go far back in history until at least the Renaissance and…

Lincoln County Courthouse and Former Jail

Designed by Gustave Bachmann and constructed in 1870, the Lincoln County Courthouse in Troy is the second building on the site, replacing an earlier structure on the site built in 1830. Contractors Edwards and Griffiths completed the building for $27,500. The architectural drawings are kept by the Missouri State Historical Society. I call the building…

Emmaus Homes, New Lease on Life

Bonjour mesdames et messieurs! Bienvenue au Château Hoffman! OK, jokes aside, anyone in the preservation community–or anyone in the wider community in general–who has a problem with the Hoffman Companies buying up real estate in western St. Charles and eastern Warren counties has to tell me what their plan was for redeveloping the old Emmaus…

Sisters of the Most Precious Blood and O’Fallon City Hall

I had never seen the Convent of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood of O’Fallon, and it is an impressive presence on Main Street in the historic area of town. Portions of the complex were sold to the City of O’Fallon for conversion into the rapidly growing suburb for its new city hall, whose…

Fort Zumwalt Park, O’Fallon

Fort Zumwalt is a real place, and not just the name of four high schools, and this reconstruction of the fortified log cabin that gives its name to the surrounding park and area gives us an idea of early settler days in St. Charles County. Interestingly, Fort Zumwalt, which was originally constructed by Jacob Zumwalt…

Mullanphy Emigrant Home in Serious Trouble

Hey everyone, is it maybe the time for us all to start having a conversation about how the Mullanphy Emigrant Home is probably going to collapse into a giant pile of rubble soon? Honestly, it’s following the path of St. Mary’s Infirmaryon the Near South Side, which collapsed slowly before being demolished.

Twenty Years Since 9/11, Revisiting Washington, DC, Part Two

We crossed over the Memorial Bridge into the Commonwealth of Virginia, and picked up the Metro to head to Alexandria and meet up with an old professor friend of mine. The Metro used to be the pride and joy of Washington, DC, but I was shocked at how far it had fallen. While it had…

Twenty Years Since 9/11, Revisiting Washington, DC, Part One

As a few of my readers know, I was living in Washington, DC on September 11, 2001, exactly two miles away from the Pentagon when the plane crashed into it. I moved back at Christmastime of 2006, and had only been back to the District of Columbia twice since then. I just returned for the…