Archer House Hotel
|Location:||717 Archer Avenue
Marshall, IL 62441
The Archer House Hotel is a two-story brick building. The foundation of the building is of large stones, and rock. The massive walls are 15 inches to 20 inches in depth. Skinned hickory logs are used for the supporting beams throughout the hotel and these can still be seen in the full basement. Newer structural steel has been added throughout the building in later restoration.
The front entrance is composed of the original marble steps and tile floor. On each side and above the glass doors are panels made of ruby glass which reflect only on the inside. The lobby and hall have pressed tin ceilings and the south porch has been glassed-in so that residents can enjoy year round comfort.
The building is an irregular rectangle which measures 98' x 95' x 35'. The building has had several interior remodels but the footprint of the building and location are original. Integrity of the main structure is in tact. The present interior is very good with each room fully carpeted, furnished with much period furniture and a lovely bath for each guest room. Some cosmetics and painting would ready the building for use. The kitchen on the first floor is being replaced. The roof has been partially replaced and some painting has been done on the entrance portico and south east side. Some brick work and painting is still needed as well as gutter replacement.
The property was placed on the National Register of Historic Places March, 1976, indicating it is already a very important Marshall Landmark. In 2009, Landmarks Illinois also designated the property one of the Ten Most Endangered Historic sites in Illinois. At that time the building sat idle in an estate. Since then has been purchased and the present owner is working at restoration.
The Archer House was erected on the junction of Cumberland Avenue and Michigan Street. The original names of the street-Cumberland Avenue is now Archer Avenue. It was renamed on September 22, 1968 during the 125th anniversary of the founding of the city to honor Col. Wm. B. Archer, the founder of Marshall and the builder of the Archer House. Archer was instrumental in forming the future of Illinois and this country. He served in the Illinois legislature a total of 16 years. Archer A venue in Chicago is named in his honor.
Col. Archer was a delegate to the first Republican National Convention which was held in Philadelphia. At the convention, he enthusiastically supported the nomination of Abraham Lincoln, who was a long-time friend. Lincoln often visited Marshall and Col. Archer as they had served in the legislature together. The first company of Illinois soldiers raised for the Black Hawk War was by Col. Archer at Darwin, Illinois. He also raised a company of men for the Mexican War. Archer and Duncan issued a circular describing the land and offering lots for sale. The original plan of Marshall was filed with the County Clerk on October 6, 183 5 and the sale of property was held eleven days later, Oct. 17, 1835.
Archer started his hotel in 1841 and it is one of the oldest buildings and the most pretentious buildings at the time. Here the stage lines passed, and the curious villagers found it a convenient point to learn the news and get a glimpse of passengers as the stages changed horses and stopped for meals. The social affairs of the elite of the village were held here. In later years partitions were added to make added smaller rooms for hotel residents. The hotel is quite famous for being the place where Abe Lincoln often stayed when in the area. Lincoln was a frequent visitor to Marshall, where he held court on numerous occasions. He often pitched horse shoes with locals at a spot located in the block east of the court house. In later years, Glover Cleveland visited and stayed at the Archer House.
The building has been used mostly as a hotel but also was a nursing/eldercare home and a dinner theatre, before being restored and returned to a lovely bed and breakfast hotel by Charlene Brand. Over the years the name of the hotel was changed to the St. James hotel as an owner had James as an early family name. For many years the hotel was called the National-Dixie hotel as it sat at the intersection of the National Road (also called the Cumberland Road) and the Dixie Highway (Rt. # 1 as ran from Chicago to the deep South). When Charlene Brand restored the hotel she returned it to the original name of THE ARCHER HOUSE, as it is known today.