8 Old Altamont Homes

Since the founding of Altamont, our residents have built gorgeous homes. From Victorians to Greek Revivals, here are some of Altamont’s oldest houses.

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A 38-starred American Flag adorning the Dr. Charles M. Wright House. 1971

The Dr. Charles M. Wright House.

Altamont’s most famous house. It’s one of two Effingham County buildings on the National Register of Historic places. Dr. Charles M. Wright, a traveling doctor and bank owner, had this Italianate-inspired mansion built in 1889. The house is furnished with replicas of Ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman artifacts along with antique furniture used by three generations of the Wright family.

Dedicated volunteers maintain the house as a museum. (It’s the only house on this list that isn’t a private residence) Tours are held on Sundays from April to October.

Visit the museum’s website for a virtual tour.

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The Elhers House on East Jackson. Unknown Date

Altamont’s Oldest House

This brick house is the oldest built within Altamont’s city limits. Earlier homes existed but were demolished or destroyed by fire.

The house was constructed by Mrs. Elizabeth Ehlers before Altamont was platted in 1871. Mrs. Ehlers owned acres of farmland making up most of northern Altamont and the land occupied by Immanuel Lutheran Church. She sold most of it to assist Altamont’s expansion.

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12 South Third. 1920’s

12 South Third

The railroads built Altamont, and railroad companies employed many early Altamont residents.

This house, located on the northwest corner of Third and Lincoln, was built by C.O. Faught in 1897. C.O. Faught was a railroad engineer. He worked at railroad construction sites throughout the Midwest, including projects in Altamont.

While working in Altamont, Faught became infuatuated with the community and moved into town. He was involved with multiple community positions. He served as mayor from 1905-1906, and was a founding member of the Altamont Agricultural Fair Association.

Faught’s house with its narrow tower is one of Altamont’s most unique homes.

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102 South Third. 1920’s

102 South Third

Jaspar Orrel was also a railroad man. Starting in 1877, Orrel worked as a station agent for the Pennsylvania Railroad in Altamont. He built the gorgeous, Victorian house, pictured above, in 1895.

Later, Dr. D.G. Huelskoetter, who purchased the home in 1965, built an indoor swimming pool in the backyard. It was the only indoor pool in the area. Huelskoetter demolished the pool in the 1990’s, and the pool enclosure was moved to the high school.

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101 South Fourth. 1900’s. Notice 102 South Third in the background.

101 South Fourth

G.W. Gwin was one of Altamont’s most influential citizens. In 1871, he arrived in Altamont and became one of Altamont’s earliest residents. Gwin was a plasterer. But he later opened a furniture store and a farm implement store. He served as President of Altamont in 1885, and he helped create the Altamont Agricultural Fair Association. He also served as Fair president. Gwin built 101 South Fourth in 1902.

Today, the house looks different from the picture above. Later residents lowered the ceilings and removed the chimneys. Bill Wendling, the current owner, put a widow’s walk on top of the roof.

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Dr. Charles M. Wright’s first home in Altamont, at its current location on North Main. Date Unknown.

The Older Wright House

It’s difficult to see behind the trees, but this four-columned mansion is one of the most elegant homes in Effingham County.

Dr. Charles M. Wright lived in this house from 1872 to 1888. It was built on the current site of the brick Wright House and was later moved across Main Street where it was transformed into the Greek Revival home pictured above.

Other Houses

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The Dr. S. J. Lesemann home on North Main. Lesemann was Altamont’s first dentist.  (Picture taken in the 1960’s)
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The residence of former Mayor J. E. Rhodes on South Edwards. Early 1920’s.

 

What is your favorite old house in Altamont? 

 


Sources:

1926 Altamont Business Review

1971 Altamont Centennial Book

 

 

12 thoughts

  1. Another interesting article. I think my favorite house is the 12 So 3rd house. I remember when the Muchows lived there. i enjoy what you write about…keep up the good work!!

  2. I enjoyed the article!! I am now the owner of the last home pictured, on South Edwards Street. Much time has been spent reading the abstract over and over to learn about its history. I had yet to see any photos of the home from the past, until now, so THANK YOU so much for sharing!! 🏠

    1. My classmate Mike McKean used to live in a house on Edwards St. and I would go there to see him. Wonder if this is the same house?

  3. After being away from Altamont for 62 years it was so good to see these old homes We also lived in an old, old, home there during my HS years. Miss Altamont and friends I left there. I enjoyed the article so much.

  4. The best part of seeing these lovely homes is that the new owners kept them up in good repair instead of destroying them and not taking care of them. I, too, love these homes and enjoy walking by them.

  5. Love seeing these old houses again!! I grew up on S 4th so seeing Doc’s, Muchow’s and Mr Wendling’s homes definitely brings back great memories!! Took swimming lesson in Doc’s pool and used the tennis court too many times to count!!

  6. I lived and grew up in Altamont, IL during the 50. Is there a book written about the little town with pictures and history of the town that I can get? My dad was Orville Hodson, he owned Wides service station, Mobil, Marathon, shell and built Alola Inn with Ray Gilbert. I was love a History book if that has been done. Thank you for all the articles and history done on Altamont. I loved this place and when I get a chance we go visit. My father in law worked for the oil company back then.

  7. Loved all the pictures. My favorite is the EHlers house because of the family connection. I grew up in altamont and loved the memories the pictures brought back. Thank you

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