Walk through history along Watseka street

Community

WATSEKA, Ill. (WCIA) — You can find a piece of history in every corner of central Illinois.

If you take a walk along Mulberry St., you’ll see homes built in the 1860s.

Among them sits what’s known to many as the Duff house.

It’s now owned by Susan and Mitchell Bence.

The home sits on three lots and was originally a farm house.

It still has a septic tank, cistern and well, which is used to this day to water the garden.

Susan Bence first saw the home after her family moved to Watseka when she was in high school.

Girls sports weren’t offered as we know them today, so Bence joined the Girls’ Athletic Association and earned points for walking the neighborhood after school.

The Duff house was on her route.

“I would tell my friends as we walked by, ‘That house is beautiful; I want to live there someday,'” explained Bence. “Fast forward 50-some years later, I was driving by and I saw the ‘for sale’ sign, called Mitchell right away and said, ‘my dream house is for sale.'”

He said it made sense.

“This is kind of our house,” Mitchell Bence said. “When we got married, I had a house, she had a house and we lived in one of those for a while. So now, we have our house and we’re very happy to be here.”

Only three families have owned the home: It was built by the Sheridan family. Their daughter married a Martin and they lived in the home. The Duffs bought the house and sold it to the Bences.

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