Can This House Be Saved: 601 Spring St, Quincy, Illinois

The fabulous Kelly, of Old House Dreams, posted a fabulous house built in 1887. Today, the house is surrounded by industrial properties, and a scattering of other fine old houses, many in poor condition. It is obvious however that a century ago the neighborhood was elegant and prosperous. Sigh.


My first thought in looking at house was that, save the lowered chimneys, the house looked intact. I was wrong.


At some point the porches were radically altered and the lovely carved stonework under the roof was removed.


This appears to be a 1920s image. The porch to the left has already been altered but it appears covered in stucco. Later, it would be covered in stone. Note the main porch; it’s right column has been replaced. All this is very curious. Oh, see the conservatory to the far right? Well…


…it’s intact!!!!!!!! Zounds, I’d buy the house JUST for this feature. Then I would reinstate the original window configuration.


The original side porch. I sooooooooooo would want to recreate the lost columns.


The original main porch.

The original soaring chimneys.


Because the carriage house does not match the house, there’s an assumption that it’s not original.


But it is shown on an 1888 Sanborn Insurance map.


And it can be seen in the archival image posted previously.


As stated, the neighborhood has declined. This wouldn’t bother me. Because…


…once inside the house, glories await.


Oh, my. But, what was above?


Oh! The stained-glass seems later than the house. Does the panel exists in the town somewhere?


The house abounds with stained-glass transom windows, like the Cross House.


With windows above fireplaces.


A single tantalizing image of the staircase. I yearn for more.


Gorgeous pockets doors with original hardware in situ.


As with the Cross House, this house has been through a lot, being a funeral home at one point, and apartments. So, what little we see of the interior (Kelly has more images posted on her blog) seems surprisingly intact.

Quincy is a city of 40,000. It’s population high was 45,000 in 1970, then the city suffered two decades of decline, with a slight uptick since 2000.

A fine restoration of this house might spur investment in the nearby historic homes, and the empty lots might later be built upon. I’m reminded of Brush Park in Detroit, which was THE prosperous area in the latter 1800s but by 1990 was almost entirely gone, with only the occasional historic house remaining, and even most of these were abandoned, gutted shells. Today, Brush Park is being reborn, which I wrote about here.

So, perhaps there is hope for this fabulous house.





  1. Stewart McLean on August 10, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    Today I read a comment from 4/26/2019 in the renewed post for this house on old from James who saw the house recently and said that the original carriage house appears to be behind the house next door to the East. Here is a google maps view from the alley behind the house with the neighbor’s carriage house in the foreground and this one in back:,-91.4061279,3a,90y,168.31h,98.97t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sGhXsD_vPx-AqI8IYX_m-Sg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    • Ross on August 10, 2019 at 7:12 pm

      James is incorrect.

  2. Kim on August 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    I wonder Ross … on the detail of the main porch columns, I notice a faint fluting – rare to find on an already slim stone column. Could those origional handsome, round porch columns have been cast iron?
    On the circa 20s image, it looks as if a “boxing in” of the columns had begun. Maybe they couldn’t figure out otherwise, how to hang that light fixture.
    Structurally, I can’t imagine removing those columns. But, if they boxed them in, maybe they are still there in their stone faced boxes. That would be a glorious find! 🌻

  3. Sherry on August 10, 2019 at 7:44 pm

    This looks like Richardsonian Romanesque style. Whaddya think, Ross??

  4. Carl on August 11, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    Just another reason to visit Quincy. Richard F. Newcomb House Is now the Quincy Museum and Villa Kathrine the moorish confection has been on my list of things to see.

    • aBell on August 16, 2019 at 9:15 pm

      My son and his wife just moved from Quincy. On my visits to Quincy over the past couple of years I would drive past several grand old houses and wonder at what must have been a prosperous and magnificent city at one time. It truly makes me ache to see the re-muddled attempts to modernize houses of a certain age. And I dream of the possibilities of what could be. Thank you Ross for putting one small place in Emporia Kansas to rights!

  5. Robert Remillard on April 15, 2020 at 11:15 pm

    Brute Investments purchased this house and via video, claimed they were going to restore it. What is the status of the house and ownership? I may want to make an offer

    • Ross on April 15, 2020 at 11:24 pm

      Robert, from what I can tell, the house is still for sale. And I see no evidence that Brute purchased it.

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