My house was built in 1883 by John
C. Burgart, I believe using money his wife inherited from the
estate of her father. She was Minnie Thompson. All of these
folks are buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Bloomington, IL.
Burgart worked as a guilder on railroad cars made or
maintained at the nearby Chicago and Alton Railroad yards.
This strikes a chord with me as my great grandfather,
Friedrick Wilhelm August Bastian was an upholsterer for the
Hannibal & St. Joseph railroad in the 1870s. Burgart died
in the house, unexpectedly in 1897 after three days in great
pain. Maybe appendicitis. His wake was held in the
house, probably in what is now the dining room. His daughter,
son, and wife also all died in the house, but only the
daughter was also waked in the home. This family and their
descendants lived in the home from 1883 until about 1992 or
1993. It is a nice example of Victorian working man's cottage
on the inside. It was remodeled to look like an Arts and
Crafts cottage on the outside in the 1930s, by one of the
grandchildren. These pictures were taken about 1999 or 2000, I
think. That was before I started collecting art. Picture (pun
intended) the walls now covered in paintings from about knee
high to the top of the walls. Makes the house a bit darker,
but more interesting, I think.
Looking into my dining room from the living room. The doors to the arch are stored in my garage. They are obviously huge doors.
dining room shot. That is Kim in the chair, one of the six
cats I had at the time of these photos ca. 1999. All have
since passed on to whatever comes next. She looked pretty
good for 18 years old, huh? How many other cats can you spot
in this picture? Some weird pixel loss in this photo. They
were Gabriel, Tabitha, George, Angelo, Kim and Patrick. All
were rescues, except Kim, either strays or from people who
should not have had animals. Kim came to me when my mother
was too old to care for her and Kim was extremely ill at age
12, weighing only about 5 pounds. She had IBD and
hyperthyroidism but responded well to surgery, steroids,
subcutaneous fluids and other treatment. She bounced back
and lived another 7 years, only deteriorating in the last
couple of months of her life when her hyperthyroidism
recurred and she was too old to undergo surgery to remove
her remaining thyroid gland. She used to come and find me
every night when it was time for bed, guide me into bed and
stayed next to me until I fell asleep and she could go on
her nightly rounds.
A look into the living
room. The Devil Cat was "Gorgeous" George. He moved into my
garage one winter and eventually moved into the house. He
had some tough times, and was once pretty "quirky" but
either settled down or blended with the quirks of the other
inhabitants of the house. Not certain which! He became a
real sweetheart and I still miss him.
This is my
bedroom. It is small but cozy, and has a nice tin ceiling.
I think it used to be a washroom, as I found a cistern in
the crawlspace under the floor and found a patch in the
floor visible from underneath, directly over the opening
of the cistern. The crawl space floor was very uneven, in
some places almost touching the floor joists, so deepened
it and leveled it by filling in the cistern. Didn't think
about it until later, but I might have been buried alive
if the cistern had collapsed. It was a good sized cistern,
maybe six feet deep with a white sand floor. My bathroom
is the size of a bedroom, so that is what it probably was,
originally. I guess the house originally did not have
plumbing and that there was an outhouse somewhere on my
Not a bad kitchen. Not
too small, kind of cozy with the low ceiling. Most of the
rooms have 10 foot ceilings. See the towel hanging on the
drawer. Just under it is a large swing out bin for storing
potatoes, etc. There is another, smaller one to the left of
One wall of the kitchen,
opposite the sink, is taken up by cabinets which extend from
the floor to the ceiling, and were probably installed around
the turn of the century, ca 1900. I had the panels removed
from two, installed glass, and made myself a china closet.
Some of my milk glass and other stuff is in here. Lots of
storage, with a big pantry cabinet to the left and a broom
closet to the right. The top half of the broom closet door
houses a fold out ironing board for all that ironing that
This is a closeup of one of the four tin ceilings in the house. Old lady Burgart apparently developed a fear that plaster would fall on her head from the ceiling and had these ceilings installed. The parlor and the dining room were left bare plaster. The house has all original lath and plaster and most of the original old wavy glass is still in the windows.
Here is what I call "the door to nowhere". The house is only a one story house, but I think it was built with the idea of adding a second story, when the size of the family warranted it. When "old man" Burgart died in 1897, it ended the growth of the family. Minnie lived as a widow for the next 30 some years. For some years Minnie lived in the home with her son, who never married, as well as her daughter and three grandchildren. The daughter's husband, Frank King, was a baseball player in the early 1900s and often traveled to games in nearby counties and states by hitching rides on freight trains. He disappeared after one of these trips and was never heard from again. Anyway, there is one step of a staircase in this space, which is over the basement stairs, which disappears into the wall, probably part of a planned addition that did not occur. I use the space to store my unmentionables, etc. Note the tombstone rubbing over my writing desk of the stone of my great great grandfather, Estridge Daniel, who served in the War of 1812 from Kentucky. I come from a military family with seven ancestors that I know of who served in the Revolutionary War, four in the War of 1812, etc.
Want to dig a basement, but encounter a pesky boulder? No problem! Just build the basement around the boulder! This boulder actually is present in two rooms of the basement. This room was actually the old coal room, but was finished with a concrete floor by Allen King, a grandson of Frank King the baseball player.
to see in this picture, but easy to read when standing over
it is the date 10-21-1936, probably the date that Frank King
Jr., son of the baseball player, poured this floor in
another part of the basement.
Well, later turned out to be 13 or 14 years later, but
here is a shot of my dining room in 2011. All rooms of my
home are now wallpapered with works of art and horizontal
surfaces with art objects in various media. The big white
fellow on my dining room table is Shelby. He was one of
four brothers who were actually born in the bathroom of my
house in 2005, where I was temporarily keeping his feral
mother until I could get her to the vet to be fixed. She
(Ursula) did not look pregnant to me! Her "husband" Jasper
later came to live inside, too. They and their sons,
Harvey, Shelby, Isom and James have all passed on after
living long, happy lives with me.
More pictures later