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John L. Lewis House

John L. Lewis House

1132 West Lawrence Avenue
Springfield, IL

The John L. Lewis home is a two and a half story vernacular structure with a hipped roof pierced by a single dormer window.  The fašade has a slightly projecting porch with Doric columns.  Original clapboard siding has been covered on the second floor with aluminum siding.  The significance of the structure comes from its former owner, John L. Lewis who was a renowned labor union leader.  Lewis lived in the house from1917 until 1965.  He left school at age 15 and started working in the mines as his father had done until he was blacklisted for his union activities.  Lewis was elected president of a local chapter of the United Mine Workers, became a lobbyist, and in 1911 became a general field agent for the AFL.  It is said that his one goal in life was to become president of the United Mine Worker’s national organization.  He attained that goal in 1920 and held the position for the next 40 years.  He was hailed by President Coolidge, Commerce Secretary Hoover, and the nation’s press and financial journals as a labor statesman.  He worked with nine U.S. presidents during his tenure and retired in 1960, but continued to serve on the board of directors of the union.  He died in 1969 and was buried here in Springfield.