Pierre Menard Home State Historic Site

Pierre Menard (1766-1844), a successful French Canadian businessman and fur trader, was the presiding officer of the Illinois Territorial Legislature and served as the state's first lieutenant governor from 1818 to 1822.

Located near Ellis Grove and Chester, Illinois, the two-story home, built in 1815, is an unusually fine example of French Creole-style architecture. Built into gently sloping land at the bottom of a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. Among the notable features are a steep double-hipped roof and a galerie, or porch, that wraps the building’s front façade and gable ends.

The ground level of the home contains a small museum and an audiovisual room. The second, or main floor represents living spaces used by the Menard family. The large central entry hall is flanked by a parlor and master bedroom, with a dining room at its end. Two bedrooms, a Menard's office, and a nursery also occupy the floor. Two of these rooms may have been formed by enclosing part of the galerie. All of the rooms contain antique furnishings, along with reproduction wall and floor treatments that reflect the lifestyle of an affluent businessman and gentleman farmer in early nineteenth-century Illinois. Behind the home, accessed by a covered walkway, is a stone kitchen with a “restored” brick baking oven. In 1970 the Home was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark.

On the grounds are a poteau sur solle (“post-on-sill”) privy, a reconstructed brick smokehouse, and a reproduction stone springhouse. The Home is located at the center of grounds landscaped with large trees and flowerbeds. A small historic herb and vegetable garden is located near the kitchen.

Visitors view living spaces on the principal floor. Staff offer interpretation of the rooms, emphasizing Menard-related artifacts. Staff members also interpret the outbuildings and herb gardens. A ground-floor orientation video and exhibits provide information on the Menard family and area history.


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Location

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Nearby
Latitude: 37.961379 Longitude: -89.906506 Elevation: 390 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Fort de Chartres State Historic Site

Hours Open

May-October, Wednesday-Sunday, 9:00AM-5:00PM. By appointment only for the winter season, call to arrange a tour. Grounds open dawn-dusk every day.

Time Period Represented

1815-1844

Seasons Open

May-October

Visitor Fees

Suggested donation of $4 for adults, $2 for children, and $10 for families

Accessibility Notes

The site is accessible to persons with dissabilities via the south parking lot, and wheelchairs may enter the main floor of the home through the back door with staff assistance. The museum and attic are only accessible via stairs.

Pet Friendly Notes

Pets on a ten foot leash are welcome on the grounds, and service animals are allowed inside the historic home.

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