Carrollton, Greene County, Illinois

South on U.S. Highway 67 from Jacksonville is the county seat of Greene County, Carrollton. It’s fascinating to see how quiet and rural the countryside of Illinois becomes when you get away from the major arteries, whether they’re the interstate or railroad, and quaint towns appear on the old highways. It is only sixty miles…

State Street Historic District, Jacksonville, Part Two

Moving along down east back towards Central Park in Jacksonville on West State Street, we encounter the August Ayers House, constructed in 1857. That date of construction makes it an incredibly early example of Italianate architecture. Moving along, the Italianate houses are humbler, but I can’t help but notice that the house below has a…

State Street Historic District, Jacksonville, Part One

West of the courthouse and Central Park, Jacksonville dazzles the visitor with the West State Street Historic District, which is one of the best preserved clusters of Victorian Period houses in the Midwest. It is fascinatingly similar to Maine Avenue in Quincy, which is just a short drive from here to the west. The first…

Morgan County Courthouse, Jacksonville, Illinois

The Morgan County Courthouse is a massive pile of Second Empire goodness, sitting not in the middle of the nearby Central Park, but tucked away rather unobtrusively on a street radiating out from the square. Designed by J.B. Randal of Chicago in 1867, it was completed in 1869. The stone comes from Joliet, which makes…

Civil War Monument, Central Park, Jacksonville, Illinois

Jacksonville was a center of the Abolitionist movement, apparently, and it is reflected in its Civil War Memorial. There are a lot of names listed on its base for a relatively small town. At the top is the allegorical figure of Columbia, sculpted by Leonard Crunelle and obviously cast in bronze. The inscription on the…

Central Park, Downtown Jacksonville, Illinois

Jacksonville was founded by groups of “Yankees,” from New England, many of whom were graduates of Yale University. I can’t help but think the influence of the large town commons and greens of cities such as New Haven played a part in the design of Central Park, the outsized town square of Jacksonville. The center…

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…

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Interior

The interior of the cathedral is a simple, basilica style church with no transepts or side aisles, and a rectangular apse at the end, flanked by two colonnades in the Ionic order. The high altar is dominated by a huge mosaic of the Madonna of the Immaculate Conception, with the Latin Inscription, “There is no…

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Exterior

The exterior of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception follows the Doric Order, in an interesting late, or as I might call it, terminal Beaux-Arts interpretation of the Greek Revival designed Joseph William McCarthy. Of course, it is architecture adapted for the modern world, as Greek temples did not have windows, whether on the side…