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The Fulkerson Mansion & Farm Museum
Jerseyville, Illinois

The William h. Fulkerson Mansion

The Colonel William H. Fulkerson mansion is a wonderful 14-room Southern-style mansion. This towered two-story brick Italianate private dwelling with an informal Italian Villa influence was constructed in 1866. The Italianate style of architecture, characterized by low-pitched roofs and tall narrow windows, was very popular from the 1850ís to the 1880ís. Italian Villa architecture is a subtype of the Italianate style and often has an irregular plan and a central tower.

The mansion is in its original form with no additions made to the building after a second phase of construction that was completed in 1872. The building is basically T-shaped, with gabled and hipped roof wings, has a one-story service wing, and two tower rooms. The mansion sits on the original Hazel Dell farmstead surrounded by large maple, sweet gum, linden, and blue spruce trees. The sidewalk is original and is made of cut limestone that was hauled by wagon from a quarry in nearby Grafton and the front yard contains a wooden picket fence in the exact spot where it has always been. The two-story brick carriage house was built in 1872 and is also of the Italianate design. Located in the side area just north of the main building, the carriage house was used to store the family carriage and to house the servants. The front porch, with nine posts with scrolled, decorative brackets and arched spandrels, extends to the north and east of the front entrance and a single story partial width porch is located on the north side of the mansion. The floors throughout the house have their original pine boards and the walls and ceilings are made of plaster with horse hair added for strength. Six (?) main rooms are open to the public during tours of the mansion.

The front entrance to the Fulkerson Mansion is an arched double door with original ruby red glass and decorative panels. Beyond these doors is a large front hallway with an 11-foot ceiling, as are most of the rooms in the house. Two of the doorways in the hallway lead to the north and south parlors, both of which are nine feet in height and equipped with six-panel doors. The south parlor (photo left) is a very spacious room designed for entertaining as is evidenced by the 1838 William Knabe square grand piano that has sat in the room since it was brought from Tennessee by the Colonel and his wife Cornelia in 1866. The piano belonged to Cornelia when she was a child and her parents allowed her to bring it to Illinois when she moved here. Other unique features of the room include a pier mirror and a six-arm chandelier with an unusual deer motif. The Colonel used the north parlor for business meetings and highlights of this room include an original white marble sink top in its wood cabinet, a magnificent hanging chandelier imported from Paris, and a black slate fireplace mantel flanked by two wall mounted gas fixtures. There are six of these black slate fireplace mantels in the mansion and all were made by C. R. Evans Mantel and Grate Co. of Cincinnati, Ohio.

There are two more sets of doors leading from the hallway, both with large etched glass inserts. One doorway leads to the dining room (top right photo) which features a black slate mantel similar to the one in the north parlor but flanked by rope twist moldings. Also in the dining room are three ten-foot high windows, two original brass twin globe chandeliers, and an original cast iron furnace control shield mounted on the wall. The other doorway leads to a small side hall connecting to the main staircase leading to the second floor. This full wrap-around walnut staircase has an Italianate styled newel post and balusters.

The second floor consists mainly of three bedrooms. The small southwest bedroom was the room where Cornelia slept and an original white top marble sink, and a walnut grained door leading to the hallway (this roomís description is too sparse.) Another bedroom on the southern portion of the mansion is of an unusually large size (photo right) and was originally used for the overnight stays of the wealthy livestock and cattle buyers that the Colonel did business with. The south wall of this room features an unusual Tudor-style interior arched alcove containing two windows, an original white marble top corner sink, and period toys.

The largest room on the second floor is the Colonelís bedroom. A magnificent floor to ceiling two-door, two-panel cabinet on top of two-door closets flanks the black slate mantel in this room. The doors retain their original dark walnut grained finish, as does the rest of the woodwork in the room. In the center of the room hangs an 1871 three-arm chandelier placed there by the Nolans, who are the mansion's current owners (More description needed as well as a usable photo.)

(Need something here to wrap the narrative up.)

The Men Who Designed and Built 
the William H. Fulkerson Mansion

The Fulkerson mansion was designed by a local architect by the name of William Embley (1826-1916) who was born in New Jersey and moved to Jerseyville in 1854. Embley became well known in the area for his abilities and examples of his work can still be found (List area buildings of note designed by Embley that still exist here.) The winning bid of $8,800 for the contract for the construction of the mansion was awarded to Nicholas F. Smith and after extras were added, the total cost of the mansion came to $9,700.95. One of the men who Smith hired to work on the project was Joseph M. Page (photo left) who later went on to become the mayor of Jerseyville for 5 terms. Page did much of the carpentry work in the mansion as well as many other homes in the Jerseyville area. Among a long list of accomplishments, Page was instrumental in the creation of Pere Marquette State Park and was honored by having the bridge crossing the Illinois River from Jersey County into the Calhoun County community of Hardin named the Joe Page Bridge.


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