Region News

Historic Illinois mansion sold for $505K

This June 6, 2017 photo shows the historic Gillett mansion in Elkhart, Ill. The historic mansion built in the late 1800s has been sold for $505,000. The State Journal-Register reports that Court and Karen Conn of Springfield have purchased the Gillet House atop Elkhart Hill, one of the last remaining unsold pieces from the 785-acre Old Gillett Farm. They take possession of the property in Sept. 2018. (Rich Saal/The State Journal-Register via AP)
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
Posted: Jul. 12, 2018 7:00 am Updated: Jul. 12, 2018 5:04 pm

LINCOLN, Ill. (AP) A historic Illinois mansion built in the late 1800s has been sold for $505,000.

Court and Karen Conn of Springfield have purchased the Gillet House atop Elkhart Hill, one of the last remaining unsold pieces from the 785-acre (318-hectare) Old Gillett Farm, The State Journal-Register reported.

The mansion anchored a 20,000-acre (8,100-hectare) cattle operation assembled by John Dean Gillett in the late 1800s. He and his wife, Lemira Parke Gillett, constructed the original home in 1870 and rebuilt it in 1873 after a fire. The sellers are the last descendants of Gillett to live in the mansion.

The purchase includes a carriage house, water tower-turned-art studio and seven barns. The 10,000-square-foot (929-square-meter) home includes seven bedrooms, five full baths, a library, powder room, spacious kitchen, tennis court and wrap-around porch.

Karen Conn said the property is a perfect fit for her and her husband. The couple had planned to purchase a small acreage farm for the weekends, but jumped at the chance to own part of the Gillett property.

"As soon as we drove up the driveway and then walked into the house, it just clicked with us," Conn said. "It was us."

The Conns plan to live at the mansion and operate commercial endeavors on the farm once they take possession of the property in September.

"We feel that this property needs to be available for the public to enjoy. There's so much history and it's so beautiful," said Karen Conn. "When you look out of your vista on the top of that hill, you can see almost 180 degrees all that way around you. So that needs to be shared with people."

The house and its core farm had remained in the Gillett family until fairly recently. More than 570 acres (231 hectares) of the farm sold last year at an auction for $3.9 million.

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Information from: The State Journal-Register, http://www.sj-r.com

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