Visitors Guide to the
Jersey County Historical Museum
Cheney Mansion
601 North State Street
Jerseyville, Illinois

Accessible Parking Accessible Historical Displays Accessible Illinois Historic Site Accessible Restrooms

Operated by the Jersey County Historical Society, the Jersey County Historical Museum is located at the Cheney Mansion site just north of downtown Jerseyville. The Mansion was built after the Civil War and incorporated the ‘Little Red House’. ‘The Little Red House,” constructed in 1827, was the first frame structure in Jersey County. The building served as a tavern, stagecoach stop, and a bank. The Cheney Mansion is furnished with 19th century pieces (photo right) houses a collection of ladies and gentlemen's clothing, and features a complete kitchen from the 1800-1900 era. The “Little Red House” was utilized as a station for the Underground Railroad until the end of the Civil War and included a false cellar that was used to hide slaves searching for freedom. In 1997, the Cheney Mansion was purchased by local benefactors Clayton Brown and Richard McCauley and donated to the Historical Society. Recently renovated, the mansion features many original Cheney family artifacts as well as vintage clothing, furniture, toys, and other items of historical interest. The Jersey County Historical Society was formed in the early years of the 20th century with the purpose of collecting, preserving and displaying articles from the past and to explain the history of the beginnings of the Jersey County community and is operated and maintained by volunteers from the area.

A building (photo left) housing additional museum space, a Research Center, and a Gift Shop is located in back of the mansion. On display in this facility are military artifacts and uniforms from the Civil War through Desert Storm and a large selection of photographs of the Jersey County’s past. The Research Center includes a library, used mostly for genealogy research, and has census records, obituaries, marriage records, family records and booklets, newspapers going back to 1864. The library also features many old photos of homes that were built in the late 1800's and past atlases. Historical Society volunteers are on hand to assist those looking for information. Also on the grounds is the Lone Star School which represents all 72 one-room schools that once were a part of Jersey County. This building is an excellent example of the rural one-room schoolhouse that once was common throughout Illinois. In 2003 the school was been moved from its original location in Westfield to the Cheney Mansion grounds and restored on its original stone foundation. It has been furnished with typical period pieces and other artifacts typical to schools of its era. Visitors touring the Lone Star School can experience what it was like to attend these one-room country schools. Other structures that have been preserved are the Union Forest Church and the McAdams Log Cabin.

An annual Apple Festival is held on the Cheney Mansion grounds in the fall. The front door of the mansion is normally locked, so during hours of operation, go to the side door or to the back building.

Visiting the Jersey County Historical Museum
     Visiting Hours
          Tours of the Cheney Mansion and the Jersey County Historical Society complex are by appointment only and are limited to groups of 10 or more. Reservations can be made by calling Carol at 618-498-2811 or 618-639-4749. The cost is $5 per person.
          The society's genealogy center is open to the public:
               Thursday and Friday: 1 pm - 4 pm
               Saturday 10 am - 4 pm
An admission is charged to visit the Jersey County Historical Museum: $5 to tour the mansion, museum, and Lone Star School. There is no charge to use the genealogy research center.

Directions: The Jersey County Historical Museum is located at 601 N. State Street (US-67) north of downtown Jerseyville.

GPS Coordinates
N  39  07.411
W 90  19.806

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