By Bob Balgemann


First of 3 parts

BELVIDERE – Ida Public Library has scheduled a walking tour of historic homes on East Lincoln Avenue, beginning at 10 a.m. May 30, which is a Saturday.

Jillian Fuller, director of the local history room at the library, said the tour will be free, but added that reservations will be required. The number of participants probably will be limited to 25.

Call (815) 544-3838, extension 305, to sign up. Reservations will be taken on a first come, first served basis, and the tour will go on, rain or shine.

The tour, a walk-by of seven or eight homes, will begin in the parking lot at First Presbyterian Church. The walk will proceed at a slow pace and probably cover one-half mile.

Fuller said information provided during the tour would include a history of the house and the people who lived in each one.

The different kinds of architecture, of which there are many along Lincoln, will be discussed. Among them are Queen Anne and Prairie Style.

Descriptions of what homelife was like in the late 1800s and early 1900s also will be a focus of the tour.

“It was and still is one of the more affluent neighborhoods in Belvidere,” she said. “In those days it was home to a mayor and the president of the sewing machine company.

“Interesting people, interesting stories,” she said. “We already have people calling about it.”

Belvidere has designated 31 houses and buildings as local landmarks, with four of them on Lincoln Avenue. One that’s not in the list, the bright red Nellie Dutton home at 401 Lincoln supposedly is haunted. Details will be provided during the tour as the group passes by.

Next door, at 405 Lincoln, is the Benjamin Herbert house, built in 1895. It is an example of Queen Anne architecture with a hipped roof and lower cross gables. The wraparound porch has pendiments over the front and side entries.

Across the street, at 410 E. Lincoln, is the oldest among the landmark structures, the Lampert house built in 1837. The Greek Revival residence, with the midsection being Carpenter Gothic, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.

Closer to State Street is the Foote house, at 303 E. Lincoln, which was built in 1913. It was made of brick and granite and is an example of Prairie Style architecture.

The Molony residence, built in 1865, is located at 425 E. Lincoln and a cross-gabled Gothic Revival home.

While not on the Local Landmark list the bright red Nellie Dutton house, at 401 E. Lincoln, reportedly is haunted and will be discussed during the tour.

The most recent addition to the Local Landmark list is not on Lincoln Avenue. It is the three-story Swift House at 127 Locust Ave., across from the Belvidere YMCA and built in the 1890s by Dr. Arthur W. Swift. The Queen Anne Victorian home features a steeply pitched roof, a three-story tower with bent glass and red French roof tiles.

In addition to being a local physician for many years, Dr. Swift also served as mayor of Belvidere.

Belvidere has a local Historic District, designated in 2004 and containing 23 houses along West Hurlbut Avenue, off State Street.

Three years ago two downtown business districts, with State Street being their common denominator, were added to the National Register.

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