DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) – An iconic Decatur mansion could be all yours for only $130,000, but there’s a catch. You can’t go inside until you buy it – and evict the current owners.

Nonprofit organization History of the Heartland shared details Monday after speaking to the realtor tasked with selling the property at 357 W. Decatur Street. The group called the legal situation “complex,” and one that draws attention to an issue with property owners across Illinois.

“It’s just always been an attractive house, and a magnificent house – perhaps the most magnificent in the city,” History of the Heartland chairman Bret Robertson said.

It’s been known by admirers in Decatur for more than a century as Powers Mansion, complete with 13 rooms, 7730 square feet, and an acre of historical significance.

“I remember growing up, I was a little kid, asking my parents: ‘hey can we go in to see that house?'” Robertson recalled.

Historians like Robertson say they’d be first in line to buy it for a bargain of $130k, but you can’t judge a deal by its sticker price.

“You can’t go in it until you buy it, so it may be in bad shape. We don’t know,” City Councilman and former Macon County History Museum Executive Director Patrick McDaniel said.

That’s the problem. Nobody knows, except the current occupants.

“I don’t know what it looks like now. There’s just been a lot of young people living there,” McDaniel said.

The listing was posted by County Line Realty, who hasn’t answered WCIA’s requests for an interview. History of the Heartland says they’ve spoken with the realtor, who says anyone who’s interested would have to buy the property before checking out the inside because the people who live there now won’t let anyone in.

“It’s really important that the right owner be found,” Robertson said.

Preservationists are hoping for “someone with deep pockets, patience and a tolerance for risk.”

“That’s our hope – that the home will be restored and maintained to the level of magnificence that it has had in the past,” Robertson said.

Its story goes back to 1910 when the home was built by Charles Powers, member of a prominent Decatur family with even deeper roots in Central Illinois business, banking and farming. It was later bought and renovated by another influential family – the Jarvises.

“I think this is the first home in Decatur that had an elevator,” McDaniel said.

All these years later, it’s still the talk of the town.

“The Powers-Jarvis Mansion plays an important part,” McDaniel said. “If a house comes up for sale in that area, ‘oh look at this right across the street.'”

Documents from the County Recorder’s office show it’s been in foreclosure since 2018. The current owners, Anthony and Ronald Grason, bought the mansion in 2005 for $420,000.

The home has seen its fair share of ups and downs, and although the state of its interior – including a ballroom on the third floor – remains a mystery, historians are waiting for the right buyer to come along and bring it back to its former glory on West Decatur Street.

“I’d hate to have to pay the power bills in that mansion,” McDaniel said.

WCIA went to the house to talk to the owners Monday. Before we could introduce ourselves, a man outside said he’s “not interested,” and “we have no comment.”