* on National Register
of Historic Places
Click to enlarge image.
This Greek Revival residence, which William Beith (1818-1901) built of local brick and river stone in 1850, has survived the threat of demolition. The house remains in a relatively unaltered state except for a one-story addition. Beith, a Scottish stone cutter, moved to St. Charles in 1844. He built several buildings in the area, including the Congregational Church in St. Charles, and several mills along the Fox River.
After living in this home for only a short time, Beith and his family moved to Campton Township. Following the departure of the Beiths, Willard Wiswell bought the home in 1868. It remained in the Wiswell family until the 1920s.
Several families owned the house through
the 1970s. For a while, the building stood vacant and overgrown
and faced the possibility of demolition. Restorations
of Kane County, a local historic preservation organization now named Preservation
Partners of the Fox Valley, was able to save the house through its acquisition
of the structure in 1981. The Beith House remains in its original location.
Preservation of the house began in the early
1980s. Restorations of Kane County renovated both the exterior
and interior of the building, recreating
of 1850s life. Following the completion of their work, the Beith house
opened to the public as a historical museum and preservation
study house. A small
library on restoration, preservation, and period decorating is housed in
the former residence.
For additional photographs, see these sources,
more fully described in the Bibliography.
St. Charles of Illinois
Historic Houses Vertical File
- Architectural Survey, St. Charles Central District, St.
Charles, IL. 1995.
- Bedrosian, Ruth Ann. Role of Historic
Preservation in St. Charles, Illinois. 1983.
- "Beith: Some Kind of Stone Mason." St.
Charles Chronicle 27 June 1979, Our Towns:1.
- Calby, Shirly. "It's Come a Long Way." St.
Charles Chronicle 11 Jan. 1984 Our Towns:4.
- Calby, Shirly. "William Beith and His Neigborhood." St.
Charles Chronicle 15 July 1987, 8.
- Hamilton, David. "Bike Tour Revives the Body--and
Maybe a House." Chicago Tribune 21 May 1989, 18:5.
- "Historic Beith House Will Be Open to the Public." St.
Charles Chronicle 30 Nov. 1983, Our Towns: 3.
- "William Beith, Pioneer of Kane County Dies in
St. Charles Tuesday." St. Charles Chronicle 27
Sept. 1901, 1.