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A tour of the David Davis Mansion in Bloomington, Illinois

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Anita Durairaj
Anita Durairaj
The David Davis Mansion in Bloomington, ILBy Roger W from Sarasota, Florida, U.S.A. - Bloomington - David Davis Mansion, CC BY-SA 2.0

The David Davis Mansion is currently a museum located at 1000 Monroe Drive in Bloomington, Illinois. It is a Victorian home that belonged to David Davis who was an Illinois senator and a Supreme Court justice from 1862 - 1877. David Davis was also a wealthy man and was noted for being one of the largest landowners in Illinois.

David Davis practiced law in Bloomington, Illinois. He was a member of the Illinois House of Representatives and a delegate to the Illinois constitutional convention. He is also known for serving as Abraham Lincoln's campaign manager and becoming an administrator of Lincoln's estate after his death.

Background and tour

The David Davis Mansion is also known as Clover Lawn. It is considered to be a National Historic Landmark. The mansion itself is 3 stories high and is comprised of 36 rooms. The surroundings include a woodhouse, a barn, a stable, sheds, and a flower garden which is located on approximately 4 acres of land.

The mansion was first built in the 1870s by architect Alfred H. Piquenard. The architect incorporated Italianate and Second Empire architectural features into the house. However, the house itself is primarily Victorian in style.

The website Tripadvisor has ranked the David Davis Mansion as the number one place to visit in Bloomington. The house is a must-see for history buffs because it represents a unique time in American history with its owner's ties to Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War.

The building itself is beautiful and you get to tour the interior as well as the exterior. The house seems to have retained some of its original furnishings and the decor inside is kept in much the same way it would have been kept during the 1870s. It is representative of a wealthy Victorian family.

Interestingly, the house is also equipped with technological conveniences that would have been considered modern for the time period. These included indoor plumbing, hot and cold water, a central furnace, gas lighting, and communication systems.

There is a visitor center and docents are available to give you personal tours and provide you with information about the house.

Today, the David Davis Mansion foundation runs the site. They are a non-profit organization that helps the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to manage the house. There are several fundraising projects associated with the house such as:

  • Festival Garden Walk
  • auto exhibits
  • The Judge's Jubilee
  • Christmas at the Mansions
  • special tours and receptions

The foundation has done a great job in maintaining the site.

Here are the foundation's own words in signifying the importance of the house in Illinois history,

The David Davis Mansion stands as an impressive reminder of the important role that Illinois played in America's history during the nineteenth century. The elegant Victorian home tells the story of the generation of men and women that created an orderly society out of a chaotic frontier world and then led the United States through the Civil War and early years of Reconstruction. This generation, which included David Davis, Sarah Davis, and Abraham Lincoln, based its leadership upon a set of rules and values that might be called genteel.

Sources: David Davis Mansion, Wikipedia

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