Hidden in Plain Sight:
The Material World of Early Springfield


Illinois Executive Mansion

410 E. Jackson Street

Photo courtesy of Richard E. Hart

Two of the most famous houses constructed in the 1850s were both done so at the insistence of Governor Joel Matteson. The first was the Illinois State Executive Mansion, completed in 1855 after Matteson found the previous governor’s quarters – a plain frame building on South 8th Street – unsuitable to his family’s needs. The new Executive Mansion cost a whopping $50,000 - $10,000 of which Matteson advanced out of his own pocket. Matteson had a magnificent housewarming party on January 10, 1856, to which nearly one thousand people were invited, the Lincolns among them. The newspaper called this party “the gayest assemblage ever marshalled in our city” – “with supper, music, dancing, and promenading, the party passed off in a most delightful manner.”