UNION STATION & THE ESSEX HOUSE 1857
|The intersection of rail roads shown in this photo provides
the reason for the location of the city of Mattoon. Running right to left
(north to south) is the multi track Illinois Central RR while running
bottom to top (east to west) is the two track Terra Haute to Alton RR
which became the Big 4 RR then the NYC RR. Note that each RR has its own
entrance to the station. |
The Essex House was, until this intersection was replaced by the IC subay, a major hotel for the city. Guests of the hotel included General U. S. Grant, Senator Stephen A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln who gave a speech from the hotel balcony. Note all of the chimneys on the Essex House which must be the result of a very primitive heating system.
I sent a copy of this photo to Chris Rankin of Mattoon and got the following response:
"I have a digital copy of that photo. It is of the Essex House, which sat in the southwest corner of the two railroads. It was torn down in 1914 after the subway was completed. The REA building is there today. http://savemattoon.home.mchsi.com/savemattoon.htm
it is number one on my top ten endangered buildings list. I also mention it in my Big Four Depot page in my savemattoon site."
The URL's provide a very thorough discussion of the intersection and his site provides a great description of historic Mattoon.
FOR AN EARLIER VIEW SEE:
whch shows the Big 4 second tracks under construction.
ONE OF MY FINE LAMBERT SCHOOL TEACHERS WAS THELMA NOYES WHOSE ANCESTOR EBENEZER NOYES PLAYRD A VERY BIG ROLE IN MATTOON HISTORY:
Was most notable founder of Mattoon who moved to (now Gays) in 1836. He platted the west side (1852/55), built a house and carriage house at 2206 Western Ave. (1858), built other businesses and warehouse, warehouse burned Nov 9,1867, elected mayor (1867) soon resigned, organized a gas manufacturing company (1867), member of commit. tee that persuaded Indianapolis & St. Louis RR to locate headquarters and shops in Mattoon (1869), was a spy in Civil War, published The Radical Republican newspaper (18671871), donated land for and later opened Essex House (1859), organized fire company and was president (1861), deeded lot in 1877 for Davis Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church at 2321 Dewitt, donated land for Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church that was dedicated 1859. It is said that : his house was used as a stop on the Underground Railroad, as a hospital during the Civil War, as a school by his daughter, and a home ~ for nurses. In later years, Dr. John Jemsek used the house as a medical office and Nancy Owen used it as a law office. His influence in the city still exists with names of Noyes Court, Noyes Addition, and Essex Avenue. Noyes was the only person to vote against the name Mattoon (he wanted town named Essex). He is listed on the taxpayers list as a farmer. He married, had nine children, and is buried in Dodge Grove Cemetery.