Our Town Bement: Preserving the Bryant House

ciLiving

Taking a step inside Bement’s Bryant House is truly a step back in time. From the meticulously arraigned furniture, to the carefully preserved gas lamps, you become immersed in what life was like on the prairies of Central Illinois in the 1880’s. For most people, an experience like this would seem best suited to take place inside a museum, but for Pat Hunter, it is home.

“The more I worked on the house, the more I began to find that wonderful historic significance of this house.” Says Hunter.

Restoring this 1882 home to its original grandeur has been a challenge. From finding furniture appropriate for the period, to stripping away decades of wallpaper and carpet, it has been an undertaking that has lasted years. However, Hunter has had some help in restoring this house that would be the envy of many historic preservationists. He has the homes original floor plans and sketches from the architect.

 “We don’t have to walk through this home and say this probably was this room, or this probably was that room or this is probably what it looked like. This is what it looked like and the drawings show it.” Says Hunter.

Pat Hunter has devoted much time to researching the history of the home’s original residents, Francis and Sarah Bryant. They were one of Bement’s original families, and also lived in the historic Bryant Cottage (located on the adjacent property to Hunter’s home) before building this house. By all accounts, it was a home that was ahead of its time.

“Its 1882 and this house had heat, indoor plumbing, and it had gas. Not liquid gas like kerosene but acetylene gas lamps.” Says Hunter.

After nearly a decade of restoration, the home is now restored to look much the way it did when it was built. While there is still work to be done, Hunter says he is glad to be able to share his home with the community so they can learn about Bement’s early days. 

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