The Mount Carroll Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Christmas Walk and Tour of Homes on Friday, Dec. 6, from 4-8 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
There will be several stops on the Tour of Homes, including the newly restored Stone House. Tickets are $10. Festivities begin at 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, with the Community Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.
The booklets are now available and can be purchased at Mount Carroll Banking Center, Savanna-Thomson State Bank, Mount Carroll Pharmacy, Shaw's Express, Plain Jane's, Bridgewater Inn and at the Holiday Market during the Christmas Walk.
Dennis and Gloria Asay Home
Heading down East Rapp Street, the Asay home, 208 E. Rapp St., is easy to spot. This beautiful gray two- story home and wrap around porch is a welcoming sight. Bordering the bank of the Waukarusa, it is rich in a history of hospitality.
The home was built in the year 1893. The information we were able to glean was passed on to the Asay's through the great- granddaughter of William Emery, early owner. In the initial years of Mount Carroll, other homes were next to the Asay's but no longer exist. One home while being torn down exposed a log cabin of earlier days. Another, first served as a church, and of course fondly remembered by Mount Carroll natives, Grimm's Dairy Bar.
Now a beautiful yard with its porch and white fencing creates a pleasant scene for all who pass by. After William, daughter Marion (Emery) Smith took ownership of the home. And here, the Smith Tea Room was established and operated from 1950 to 1970. Out of Marion's kitchen, the Lions Club, Sequoia Club, weddings, special anniversary parties and private events became routine. Marion produced pies, pastries and sweet confections made to order for friends and neighbors.
Growing up, granddaughter Cathy (Smith) Applequist recalls helping serve meals to groups for $2.25, and collecting quarters as tips. She also reminisced about delicious aromas of pies cooling on the back porch and fresh out of the oven cookies placed lovingly on the ironing board to cool. Marion took in boarders as well. She was indeed rural America's answer to "small business." The Asays purchased this then, 90-year old home from the Smith grandchildren in 1984. They have made many changes including an addition at the rear, bringing back the open staircase and of course extensive improvements to the outside including the beautiful porch.
Along with the house came a bearskin blanket from Pennsylvania, and during the remodeling, a pocket door was discovered and remains hidden within the walls along with all the secrets of past owners. Tour-goers will be treated to viewing the entire house including five decorated trees, a beautiful Santa collection and invitation to go down to the basement, tree included, and enjoy a theme of mementos of their family farm. Thank you Asays, for sharing the joys of Christmas right here on Rapp Street.
Mount Carroll Post Office
211 N. Clay St. Self-guided Tour Stop. In 1844 John Wilson became Mount Carroll's first Postmaster. Postal service had been offered in three prior locations. In the fall of 1846, the stagecoach between Galena and Dixon established a new route through Mount Carroll creating much excitement and enthusiasm. The "First Stagecoach and Four" was a sight to see.
The first rural route began in 1902 and town delivery in 1925. The present building was constructed in 1940. A nostalgic wave comes over most people using the post office on a daily basis and especially for infrequent visitors. Truly, it is a step back in time. Looking up on the north wall, in a safe protected place is a beautiful mural depicting rural life in America.
Painted in 1941 by Italian artist Irene Bianucci, this mural reflects the purpose of President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, which was to create jobs and also to raise spirits while bringing hope to a struggling rural economy. In the artist's words, "Rural Scene Waukarusa Valley shows the relationship of man, land and animals."
On an interesting side note, Mount Carroll "natives" like laying claim to one of America's famous citizens, Nita Snook. Born February 14, 1896, she spent her childhood years on this very corner. Finding mechanics more interesting and nurtured by her father, her life took a clear path. She took flying lessons in Davenport, Iowa. One of her most noted accomplishment was to teach Amelia Earhart how to fly. She took her last flight at age ninety-five and died in 1991 residing in California. Needless to say, a lot of history abounds on this corner. Enjoy your stop at this historic site.
Carroll County Historical
Society Miles Museum
Owen P. Miles House 1873 Architectural Style: Italianate. 107 W. Broadway St.
Owen Philip Miles was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania and came to Carroll County in 1854 at the age of twenty-two. Miles kept the books at the mill and later owned an interest in it. He was elected Carroll County Treasurer in 1859, an office he held for fourteen years. He held various town positions and was cashier of the First National Bank. He married Hannah P. Shirk, sister of mill operator Jesse Shirk.
The Miles home is included in Mount Carroll's National Historic District. It now serves as a historical museum rich in Carroll County's history. Much of life dating back to the late 1800's is on display. The home itself is a pleasant visit. Visitors are greeted by a beautiful open staircase, two parlors on either side, a sitting room, an impressive dining room and typical kitchen original to its image. Upstairs rooms are filled as well with museum worthy collectibles and antiques of an earlier era.
The museum committee is very excited for everyone to visit during the tour this year. They are showcasing a special display of the late Charles and Lucy Helen Middlekauff, who lived in Lanark from 1891 to 1914. Charles was an attorney there. This beautiful collection includes silver, pewter, jewelry and a lovely set of fine china made in France. Also included are books and diaries. The museum is open for seasonal hours or by appointment, and closed January through April. For those walking or driving by, the spacious lawns provide a nostalgic pleasant view. Try to spend some time here during your tour.