Visitors Guide to
The Creole House

Market Street
Prairie du Rocher, Illinois
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The original portion of the Creole House was built in approximately 1800 by Dr. Robert McDonald, who had migrated to Prairie du Rocher from South Carolina. This one room dwelling was used as a living room, kitchen, dining area, and sleeping quarters. MacDonald later added a second room which was used as either an office or as an additional bedroom. This portion of the house was constructed in a manner that was and still is called “half-timber” and was common in Europe throughout the Middle Ages, and continued there through the early 1800s..

In 1830 McDonald sold the home to William Henry who enlarged the house by adding three rooms and an attic garret. This part of the house was built in an American style using studs rather than posts set into the ground. This addition essentially created a two family dwelling. In 1948 Abraham Lee purchased the house and later Lee sold the house to his business partner Franklin W, Brickley in 1855. Brickley added four additional rooms, a long front porch in the Southern style, a basement, and made significant renovations.

The Creole House is the birthplace of Henry Clay Hansbrough. Born in 1848 he was the first congressman from North Dakota, and later a senator from that state. Hansbroughs was sometimes called the ‘father’ of irrigation in the United States and was a national figure in liberal Republican politics until his death in 1933.

Through the years the house fell in disrepair. Because the architecture of the house is unique in that it represents both French and American influences it attracted the interest of local historians and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. In 1979, heirs William Gonterman, Mrs. Edyth Ziebold and her son, Frank, donated the Creole House to the Randolph County Historical Society. The Society has made significant progress in restoring the house. It currently is furnished with period antiques including a corner cabinet once owned by Shadrach Bond, the first governor of the State of Illinois.

Visiting the Creole House

The Creole House
is open Rendezvous weekend (first weekend in June) and the third Sunday in September free of charge.  Any other time it is open for groups or individuals by appointment. Parking spaces are available along Market Street.
Admission is $2 for adults, $1 students and children under 12 free

The Creole House is located in the town of Prairie du Rocher, about an hours drive south of St. Louis. Take IL-3 to Ruma and then turn west on IL-155. Follow IL-155 until you reach Prairie du Rocher. Turn left on Market Street (near the grain elevator) and travel approximately 2 blocks until you reach the Creole  House on the left side of Market Street.

GPS Coordinates
N  38°  05.127'
W 90°  05.849'

Learn more about the Prairie du Rocher area.

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