'Christmas Candlelight Tour' schedule set for John Wood Mansion

Shirley and Warren Speckhart, portraying Ann Streeter Wood and her husband, Gov. John Wood, are shown during last winterís Christmas Candlelight Tour at the John Wood Mansion.
Posted: Nov. 24, 2012 6:37 pm Updated: Dec. 8, 2012 11:15 pm

The Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County will open the doors of the Gov. John Wood Mansion for a "Christmas Candlelight Tour" during four nights of the Christmas season.

The tours will be free and open to the public, made possible this year by a grant from The Quincy Herald-Whig. The tours are scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 9, 16, 26 and 27. Reservations are not required. Members of the Historical Society invite the public into the 19th century home of Gov. John Wood to join in the celebration of Christmas.

Roger Leach, a retired Quincy history teacher, is chairman of this year's event.

The popular theme, "A Christmas Carol: Music in the Mansion," attracted nearly 1,000 visitors last year and will continue this season. Children's choirs will provide the music as guests stroll through the John Wood family's huge Greek Revival mansion, in its day the first Greek Revival structure west of Philadelphia.

The home served as the Illinois governor's mansion when Lt. Gov. Wood succeeded Gov. William H. Bissell after he died in office on March 18, 1860. It is one of only two governor's mansions outside of Springfield, the other being the Gov. Joseph Duncan mansion in Jacksonville.

The legislature granted Wood's request to remain in Quincy during the last 10 months of the term. Wood sought to stay in Quincy to supervise construction of his fourth home, an even larger mansion just east of the site of the governor's mansion. Wood conducted the state's business from an office on the south side of the mansion. Wood offered the Springfield governor's office to Abraham Lincoln for his 1860 presidential campaign, and Lincoln accepted. Wood also allowed Bissell's widow to remain in the governor's mansion for the remainder of the governor's term.

With his attention focused on personal interests in Quincy, Wood declined his Republican Party's requests that he seek re-election as governor.