Herald-Whig View

Preserving Quincy history is money well spent

Posted: Sep. 8, 2017 11:30 am

THE money being used to renovate the John Wood Mansion and the History Museum will be funding well-spent.

Preserving our past is important not only for the present, but also the future. History is what connects generations.

The Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County is in the midst of a project that will see $31,000 of repairs to the mansion at 12th and State, plus the History Museum at Fourth and Maine. Funding for the various projects has been made possible through the Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County's annual membership drive and a grant from Quincy Preserves.

The John Wood Mansion is a fascinating expression of our ties to the past. Named after the man who in 1825 bought all of the land from what is now Front Street east to 24th Street, and from Maine on the north to Harrison on the south, from the U.S. government, Wood oversaw construction of the mansion beginning in 1835, when Quincy's population was about 700.

Wood, who in his life served as both mayor of Quincy and governor of Illinois, hired John Cleveland, a native of Sandy Bay, Mass., to oversee construction of the mansion and its Greek Revival -- or "white plantation" -- style. The structure was completed in 1837 and was one of the first of its kind to be built in the Midwest.

In recent years, time has taken a toll on the mansion.

"It has gotten to be in terrible shape," said Chuck Radel, a member of the HSQAC Board.

Most of the funds raised will be spent on capital improvements to the mansion, including the replacement of such items as rotted floorboards, railings and balusters on the wrap-around porch along the mansion's north, west and south sides. Additional renovation includes painting, plus repair work on shutters, storm doors and storm windows.

Another portion of the renovation involves scraping, power-washing and painting the white picket fence that lines the perimeter of the mansion's property.

Additional work being done on the grounds concerns maintenance improvements to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning units in the mansion and in the Lincoln Gallery inside the site's visitor center.

The list of needs for the mansion is extensive, but important.

"I think it's probably a crown jewel of Quincy and something that the entire community can be proud of," Radel said.

Radel refers to the renovation as a "period-appropriate restoration," which is important because it will continue to allow us to visit our past in the future.