City of Springfield, Illinois

James O. Langfelder - Mayor

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Elijah Iles House

Elijah Iles House

628 South 7th Street, Springfield, IL

The Elijah Iles House was built about 1837 and is Springfield’s oldest house. There is evidence that it was designed by the same architect who designed the Old State Capitol. It is one of Illinois’ earliest residences in the Greek Revival style of architecture. Two of Springfield’s most famous citizens, Abraham Lincoln and poet Nicholas Vachel Lindsay, are known to have visited the house. Lincoln spent time in the house as a guest of Robert Irwin and he enjoyed many a card game in the front parlor. Because of the house’s impressive architecture and rich history, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

The house is a classic example of early Greek Revival residential architecture that flourished in early Springfield. The 1837 Old State Capitol is asserted to be one of the most important American public examples of this style west of the Alleghenies. Most Springfield residential examples of the period have vanished, but the house remains as the best example of very early Greek Revival residential architecture in Springfield. The Greek Revival design is exhibited in the house’s timber-frame construction with a raised cottage form and its low roofing with gable end pediments, banded trim, and full galley porch supported by pillars with Doric capitals. The front entryway is recessed, surrounded by pilasters, small side and transom lights (windows) and a massive, two panel, walnut door. The historic main floor of the house has three of its four original fireplaces and walnut mantles. The interior doors, window moldings and central hall stair railing and most of the exterior walnut clapboarding and woodwork are original.

The house first stood on the southeast corner of Sixth and Cook streets facing west. Its back yard sloped down to a nearby creek, the Town Branch. The slope allowed for a walk-out lower level that contained a kitchen, dining room, servant quarters and storage space. In 1910, the upper wood frame portion of the house was cut in half and moved from that first site to 1825 South Fifth Street. The lower brick level was left behind and probably destroyed with the construction of the First Christian Church on the site.

The Elijah House Foundation, a not-for-profit volunteer organization, now owns the house and with financial assistance from many private citizens and groups and public grants has moved and restored the house. Open for tours and public rental for special events. Telephone number 217-492-5929. This house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.