Kelly Griffin, 209 East Main St.
Kelly Griffin and Michael Boge
209 East Main St.
This Queen Anne style home was built circa 1890 for Christian and Mary Miller. The couple was married in Kentucky in 1880 and moved east of Rochester where Christian became a successful stockbreeder, shipping cattle across the United States and Europe. The Millers then retired to this home with their daughter, Moselle. Moselle died at age 17 of typhoid fever. Christian passed away in the house in 1912. His funeral was held in the home and out of respect, local businesses and schools were closed for people to attend. In 1915, Mary held a party in the house to celebrate electricity coming to Rochester. Mary passed away in 1953. The Millers and their daughter are buried in the Rochester Cemetery. Subsequent families who have lived in the home include the Griemes, Edwards, and Shaws.
Kelly Griffin purchased the house in 2005. At the time of purchase, the house contained six bedrooms and two baths. A two-story addition was added at the back of the house, which enabled several changes to be made throughout. One of the upstairs bedrooms was removed to create a master bath and walk-in closet. The utility room was moved from the first floor to the space where the upstairs bathroom had been and a new second bathroom created. The kitchen (which had been built by enclosing the back porch) was removed enabling the back porch to be restored. The addition allowed the kitchen to be enlarged and the basement to be accessed without going outdoors. The downstairs bedroom was remodeled into a bathroom. Central air conditioning was also added and the knob-and-tube wiring removed. Several layers of wallpaper were painstakingly removed throughout the house and hardwood floors were added.
During the yearlong renovation, several cancelled checks signed by Christian Miller were found inside the walls. Two of them are on display in the living room. Also, found were pipes for the original gas lighting, an attic water tank, and remains of a back staircase, which had led to second story servants’ quarters. Still remaining are many original features including four beautiful lead glass windows, three sets of pocket doors, glass transoms above many of the doors, gingerbread on the front porch an upstairs balcony, and the ornate fireplace mantle.
Kelly married Michael Boge in the house on April 21, 2019. Kelly and Michael welcome you to their home.
Bené and Tim Nudding, 218 East Main St.
Bené and Tim Nuding
218 East Main St.
This Queen Anne style home was originally constructed circa 1905 and was inhabited by Dr. Claude Fortune and his wife, Claudia. They were married in 1894.
In the mid 1900’s, the house was owned by Charles and Nina Frame who also owned the Rochester grain elevator and lumberyard. Their daughter, Pauline, was married to Marshall Watkins in the living room of this house in 1938. Subsequently, the Watkins became longtime owners of this property, raising their own family here and lived together in the house into their 80’s. During their long stay in this home, it became known locally as the Watkins House.
Bené and Tim Nuding, who both grew up in Rochester, purchased this house at auction in 1997 from Marshall and Pauline Watkins. At that time, extensive renovations were undertaken including new plumbing throughout the home, new wiring, conversion of a bedroom on the second story to a master bathroom, expansion of the downstairs bathroom and a newly renovated kitchen. Tim and Bene’s two children, Lucy and Will, grew up here.
In 1918, the east side second story was added. In the 1950’s an addition to the kitchen on the back of the house was added. The front porch was renovated in 2013 in an effort to resemble the original design. Air conditioning, other than window units, was not added to the house until 1997.
The horse carriage barn still stands and serves as the garage. An original horse hitching post can be found out front. The house is heated with a hot water radiator system that can startle you when it clangs in the winter. Over the last decade as kids have dug in the back yard, they have discovered old coins, including an Indian head penny, old pottery fragments and medicine bottles.
Given its rich history and the quality of its previous occupants, this house has an amazingly comfortable aura.
Kathy and Greg Park, 200 East Main St.
Kathy and Greg Park
200 East Main St.
Kathy and Greg moved into this late Greek Revival circa 1830’s built home in 1973. They have raised their six children (three girls and three boys) in this home. The home boasts five bedrooms and three full bathrooms.
In the early 2000’s Kathy and Greg added a family room and a sun porch.
Numerous updates have been made throughout the years.
Greg’s parents, June and Wilson Park, moved into this home in 1945. They also raised their three children in this home. Greg has lived in this home for 73 years.
In 1950 June and Wilson added a new kitchen which has been remodeled
several times since.
The home’s construction consists of logs with bark still on them used as
floor joists and observable from a crawl space; stone basement walls; and solid walnut weatherboarding.
The hand-hewn log sill and wood-pegged construction, basement cistern, back staircase to servant’s quarters on the second floor, fireplaces (living room fireplace was rebuilt in 1920), front door, woodwork, and front staircase are all original to this home. The fireplace in the master bedroom and dining room are still active.
Parts of this home became the Wilson Park Funeral Home in 1944. This continues as a family-owned business today operated by Greg Park.
Debbie and Tris Schnepper, 124 East Main St.
Debbie and Tris Schnepper
124 East Main
Village President, Munson Carter, Rochester’s first built this majestic home in the late 1860’s. Purchased in 2003 from R.L. and Carolyn Moore, it is currently the home of Tris and Deborah Schnepper.
Many established Rochester families, including West, Sattley, Whiteside, Carter and Shreve, have owned the property. The Greek Revival house with neoclassical porch has been home to other well-known Rochester families including Dr. & Mrs. James Marshall, Mr. and Mrs. Earl Bell, and Mr. and Mrs. Art Warnke.
R.L. and Carolyn Moore delighted visitors from 2000-2003 with their Kensington House Tea Room and several small shops offered unique gift items upstairs. True to the Kensington House theme, dining rooms were named for King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.
Through the years, various renovations and updates have been undertaken while retaining the home’s 1800’s charm. Original solid oak floors have been maintained with a beautiful patina. This historical home boasts original floor-length front windows and crown molding on both floors, pocket doors, fireplace, a back stairway that led to servants’ quarters on the second floor, built-in chest of drawers in the upstairs closets, cedar-lined closet, attic stairway, clothes chute from the second floor to basement, and 18-inch-thick interior walls on the first floor.
In 1915, two sunrooms and the back porch with copper roofs were added on the west side of the home. True to its name, the lower sunroom is filled with sun year-round. The Schneppers have remodeled the first-floor kitchen and bathroom, and created a mudroom for easy access through the side door.
Even before they owned the home, Tris and Debbie had enjoyed lunches at the Tea Room. They also celebrated their daughter’s wedding rehearsal dinner and their own 40th anniversary gathering in the house that would later become their home.
Lincoln’s Early Speech
416 East Main St.
This is the site that Lincoln was said to have delivered his first political speech in 1832. Lincoln is being portrayed today by Zaxxson Nation and will be giving one of Lincoln’s speeches throughout the day.
Lincoln spoke during his campaign for a seat in the Illinois House of Representatives. Lincoln had stood on a tree stump to give his speech at the front yard of property now owned by Nancy and Jerry Campbell. For more than 130 years, Campbell descendants have owned the property on which Lincoln’s early speech was delivered.
Members of the Campbell family later cut the stump down and built boards out of it to build two boxes. It was the desire of Bill Campbell who owned one of the boxes (father of Terry Campbell & cousin of Jerry Campbell) to donate the box to a historical society. Following Bill’s death, Terry Campbell made the donation of the box in the name of the Campbell family to the Rochester Historical Society. The Rochester Historical Society has loaned the box for today’s tour.
Carolyn Gerberding Curator
Early Period Clothing
The Rochester Historic Preservation Society (RHPS) has a collection of over 60 antique and reproduction garments dated from the 1830’s to the 1920’s. Included is a reproduction 1830’s “round“ dress, hoop skirted Civil War gowns, and an 1860’s ball gown. One of the most significant garments in the collection is a Mary Todd Lincoln era maroon bombazine twill jacket with a peplum. It is hand sewn, lined and boned. It has a smelling salts pocket and includes cut glass buttons made to look like bouquets of flowers.
The collection also includes late 1800’s black “widow’s weeds” in linen and in cotton worn to show that the widow was mourning the death of her husband. The deceased’s children and grandchildren were also required to wear somber clothes and would be praying for his soul to be saved. The custom required wearing black for a year and a day after the death, then transitioned to other somber colors such as dark purple and dark gray. For a young lady excited to make her debut in society, this was devastating as all social activities were stopped to show respect for the deceased. This tradition was started in honor of Queen Victoria who went into a deep state of mourning and wore only black from the time her husband passed (1861) until her death in 1901.
At the end of the 1900th century, fashions changed from Victorian to Edwardian. The bustle diminished and the clothing had a simpler line. The RHPS collection includes several pieces of “white goods” which are works of art using lawn fabric, lace, and trim to fit a woman’s figure. One couture wedding dress is seamless in its design.
The Rochester Cooper Jets 4-H Club is supplying the models for the “Walk through Historic Rochester”. Participating members include Kaitlyn Hunt, Sarah Simpson, Ella Keefer, and Audrey Gerberding. The RHPS has done several traveling fashion shows with the collection using 4-Hers. The first one was at RUMC in December of 2007. Audrey Gerberding, now 13, was 23 months old when she modeled white clothes with her mother.
Cocoa Blue Chocolates
117 East Main
117 East Main Street dates back to the early 1840’s. The building was most significantly owned by the butcher Charlie Fairchild. There is a story of Charlie having a “pet” bear chained up behind the building that he eventually slaughtered and served at a party he threw in Springfield. The story of Charlie and the bear is immortalized on the wall of Cocoa Blue Chocolates in a mural painted by artist Daniel Moore.
Joshua Becker, Chocolatier and owner of Cocoa Blue, purchased the building in September of 2013. Since December of that year, Joshua has been selling handcrafted chocolates and ice cream in this historic building. Many Rochester residents have commented to Joshua on their memories of attending civic meetings and paying taxes in the old Town Hall. To this day, “Town Hall” remains painted above the Cocoa Blue awning as a reminder of the history of this great building.
Peace & Appliqué Quilt Shop
145 East Main St.
Thanks for visiting the peace & Appliqué Quilt Shop operated by Lois and John Weissberg along with their daughter Gretchen Quistgaard.
Documents show this building was first constructed around 1848. The second room in the current building was the first structure built in a traditional two story 22 foot wide brick and wooden truss construction.
The first room was added to the structure in the 1870’s, and included a glass front and recessed door. The final rooms were added in the twentieth century as businesses expanded.
In the second room, you will see a sign in the plaster reading Hardware and Harness, one of the earliest business in this building.
This structure has housed grocery stores, a butcher shop, an Italian restaurant as well as a bookstore, an antique shop and even a video rental business.
When John Weissberg bought the building, it had been a carpenter’s shop that had fallen into disrepair. He has worked tirelessly to repair and restore the structure preserving its original beauty.
Enjoy looking around at the history and beautiful quilts on display.