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posted: 5/26/2014 6:40 PM

11th annual historic house tour in Libertyville

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  • Originally a farm house on Milwaukee and Sunnyside avenues, this Civil War-era home may be the oldest in Libertyville. It was moved to 402 W. Lincoln Ave. in 1951.

      Originally a farm house on Milwaukee and Sunnyside avenues, this Civil War-era home may be the oldest in Libertyville. It was moved to 402 W. Lincoln Ave. in 1951.
    Courtesy of MainStreet Libertyville

  • Originally a farm house on Milwaukee and Sunnyside avenues, this home at 402 W. Lincoln Ave. in Libertyville will be part of MainStreet Libertyville's Historic House Walk on June 7.

      Originally a farm house on Milwaukee and Sunnyside avenues, this home at 402 W. Lincoln Ave. in Libertyville will be part of MainStreet Libertyville's Historic House Walk on June 7.
    Courtesy of MainStreet Libertyville

 
MainStreet Libertyville submission

MainStreet Libertyville's design committee will present the 11th annual Historic Home Tour from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, June 7.

The theme is "Bridging the Architecture of the Past with the Present." Five home interiors will be featured, along with the Cook Mansion in downtown Libertyville.

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Three of the homes range in age from 90 to 150 years old. Two of the homes were built in the '90s, but with traditional styling and details and are destined to become historical homes of the future.

Tiffany Brooks, HGTV Design Star winner for 2013, will appear at two of the homes between 10:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. She'll meet and greet and answer decorating questions. Brooks can be seen on HGTV touring the 2015 Dream Home in Nashville.

Tickets are $15 per person in advance at www.mainstreetlibertyville.org or $20 per person the morning of the tour. All tour booklets and wristbands will be available for pick up in Cook Park beginning at 9:30 a.m. the day of the event.

Sponsors are Builders Cabinet, DiVinci Painters, Allstate/Phoenix Insurance, JB Brickworks, The UPS Store, Chelle Design Group and Martin John Co.

Call the MainStreet office, (847) 680-0336; visit www.mainstreetlibertyville.org; or friend us on Facebook.

Following is a description of one of the stops, 402 W. Lincoln Ave.

This Civil War-era home may be the oldest in Libertyville. It was originally a farm house on Milwaukee and Sunnyside avenues and was moved in 1951 to its current location.

Around 1858, James S. Messer, his wife Julia, and their four children, Jane, twins Erwin and Edwin, and Mary, moved from a farm outside of Salisbury, Vt., to Libertyville and bought 115 acres. The boundaries basically were Milwaukee Avenue on the east to Dawes Street on the west, between Sunnyside and Austin avenues.

Both sons joined the Illinois Infantry after the Civil War began. Erwin eventually was promoted to lieutenant colonel with the 156th Infantry, where in 1863 and 1864 he commanded a military prison in Springfield, Mo. He mustered out of the infantry in September 1865 and returned to Libertyville, where he married Eliza in 1863.

After the war, Col. Messer owned the farm except for 5 acres that had been given to his sisters, Jane Stevens and Mary Messer. In 1878, Col. Messer became an officer of the new company formed to bring the railroad to Libertyville.

They were successful in this effort when the branch line was completed from Rondout to the depot that had been built at Cook Avenue and First Street.

The first train arrived in 1880. While he still lived in Libertyville, Col. Messer also served as secretary of the Lake County Board of Agriculture and as township assessor. He later moved to Chicago and then to Hartley, Iowa, where he entered a hardware business and was elected mayor. He died of a stroke Nov. 21, 1916.

Waly and Bungy Lowry bought the property 15 years ago and have done extensive renovation to return the house to its original condition.

The Lowrys are serious antique collectors and have filled the house and garden with period appropriate furnishings and statuary. During renovation, the Lowrys found that under the wooden clapboard construction the entire house is lined with hand-cast bricks, an insulating feature popular in the mid-19th century.

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