Historic Governor Duncan Mansion


When the Governor Duncan Mansion was offered to the chapter for $11,000 in 1919, the decision was made to purchase it. The seventeen-room mansion was built in 1833 as the residence of Joseph and Elizabeth (Caldwell Smith) Duncan. It was the official governor's mansion during his term of office (1834-1838). It is the only standing structure which served this capacity in Illinois outside of Springfield. Ellen Hardin Walworth, one of the NSDAR founders, spent a great deal of time in the mansion with the Duncan children.

rear parlor
(rear parlor)

The mansion is used as a meeting place and community center. It was placed on the Register of National Historic Places in 1971. The walnut stairway, which spans three stories, features short risers designed to accommodate Mrs. Duncan's petite form--Mrs. Duncan was 4' 5" tall. Furnishings include many original Duncan family pieces. During the chapter's years of ownership, repairs and restoration have been continuous. Docents in costumes give many tours for school children, scouts, and other groups. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the mansion is open on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons from 1-4 p.m.

gov duncan     staircase
(portrait of Governor Duncan)                          (staircase in the mansion)     

An old-fashioned ice cream social is held on the front lawn of the mansion each year in August. The Community Band furnishes entertainment for the evening. Recently the mansion was used to host a special Flag Day ceremony honoring local citizens. The mansion has become the focal point of Jacksonville's National Historic District.

Chapter members are proud to be the caretakers of this beautiful and historic  home. Information and tours can be scheduled by contacting Susan Hardin.

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