Visitors Guide to the
124 E. 1st Street
Jarrot Mansion is a two-story brick house that dates to the early 19th
century and is considered to be the oldest brick building in Illinois. The
home was built by Nicholas Jarrot who was born in southeastern France in
1764 and immigrated to America in 1791, presumably to escape the French
Revolution. After a brief stay in Baltimore Jarrot headed west to New
Orleans and up the Mississippi River arriving in Cahokia in the mid
1790's. Jarrot was a shrewd
land speculator and his real estate holdings eventually reached 25,000
acres. A leading citizen of Cahokia, Jarrot worked as a lawyer, served as
a judge, and as major of the town militia. He managed a general store in
Cahokia and built and operated several mills. Jarrot died in 1820 after
catching a fever while tending one of his mills.
Lewis and Clark Connection
“I arrived at Cahokia on
the 7th and immediately took occasion to make myself acquainted with Mr.
John Hay (the Post Master of this place) and a Mr. Jarrot, … these
gentlemen readily consented to accompany me, and on the next day (the 8th)
I set out in company with them to visit Colo. Lasuse (Charles Deheau de
Lassuse (the Spanish Lt. Governor of Upper Louisiana)… ,”
Meriwether Lewis to President Thomas Jefferson, Cahokia, December 19,
By the time Lewis and Clark arrived in Cahokia in
1803, Nicholas Jarrot had had considerable success as a land speculator
and owned large tracts of land in the region. After the Spanish refused to
Lewis’ request to base the Expedition in territory west of the
Mississippi, Jarrot allowed Lewis and Clark to
build their winter
headquarters on property he owned along the River Dubois, near present
day Wood River. During this time, Jarrot likely lived in a typical
post-on-sill house located somewhere near the mansion site and when
Lewis stayed overnight in Cahokia he probably was a guest at the Jarrot
home, as Jarrot was the wealthiest man in the Cahokia.
|Visit our special Lewis
and Clark Section to learn more about the Corps of Discovery’s
experience during their stay in the Middle Mississippi River Valley. greatriverroad.com’s
special coverage includes information on all of the region’s sites and
events as well as supplemental articles relating to the expedition’s
experience during the winter of 1803-04.
of on the mansion began in 1807 and was finished by 1810. The Jarrot
Mansion is an early example of the Federal style of architecture in the
Middle Mississippi Valley. At the time this style was rare in an area
Americans considered a wilderness and in an area dominated by the French
Creole type of architecture. It is thought that the immigrant Jarrot may
have been seeking to not only demonstrate his prosperity but also his
identity as an American citizen.
the Jarrot Mansion has had only five owners, the building remains
remarkably intact. The interior is well preserved and retains almost all
of its entire original features, including plaster, pine flooring, woodwork,
and even some panes of glass. The dominant room of the first floor is a large central
room that was used as a reception area, as a dining room, and as a
breezeway. This central room was flanked by two bedrooms, a room Major
Jarrot used as an office, and what was probably a multipurpose room. A
large ballroom was the focus of the second floor which also held two small
guest bedrooms and a drawing room (photo right,) where Jarrot and his
friends could be found playing games of chance. Fireplaces provided both light and heat during the winter,
while cooking was done in a basement fireplace or in later years a summer
kitchen located in the back yard. The doors, windows, and chimneys
aren’t evenly spaced because at the time the mansion was built capturing
the best light, ventilation, and heat was more important than symmetry.
The Jarrot Mansion
was purchased by the Village of Cahokia in 1976 and the Illinois Historic
Preservation Agency acquired the property in 1980. Professional restoration of the
mansion was begun in 1999 and the mansion was designated a National Historic
Landmark in 2001. The Jarrot Mansion is part of the Colonial Cahokia State Historic Sites
complex that also includes the Cahokia Courthouse,
the Martin-Boismenue House, and a Visitors
Center. Information can be obtained at the Visitors Center about the Holy
Family Log Church and other area attractions.
|Visiting the Jarrot Mansion
occasional events where the public is invited to view the progress
on the restoration of the mansion and to interact with costumed
interpreters to learn about 19th century colonial America. If you wish to view the Jarrot Mansion at
other times it is necessary to make an appointment by calling
There is no charge to visit the Jarrot Mansion.
Directions: The Jarrot Mansion is located near the
intersection of IL-3 and IL-157 approximately 3 1/2 miles south of I-55
and I-64 across the river from downtown St. Louis.
W 90° 11.247'
Learn more about the Cahokia
The Jarrot Mansion
- Site maintained by the
Jarrot Mansion Project, Inc. a citizen-based, not-for-profit