Hidden in Plain Sight:
The Material World of Early Springfield


John C. Cook House

Corner of Fourth and Cook Streets

Photo courtesy of Richard E. Hart

This house was built by John Cook, a nephew of Benjamin and Ninian Edwards, in 1860. According to reminiscences, the house featured two great drawing rooms and several other large rooms on the main floor, all beautifully furnished, with high, frescoed ceilings, brilliant prism chandeliers, large mirrors, fine lace curtains, white marble mantels over huge fireplaces, its own water system, and servants’ quarters on the third floor. Cook sold this house to Clark M. Smith and his wife Ann (Mary Lincoln’s sister) in 1864. One can imagine it was galling for Mary, who loved showy and expensive things, to see the younger sister that she resented living in such a palatial house.