McPike Mansion

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Mount Lookout
McPike Mansion.jpg
McPike Mansion is located in Illinois
McPike Mansion
Location 2018 Alby Street, Alton, Illinois, United States
Coordinates 38°54′21″N 90°11′0″W / 38.90583°N 90.18333°W / 38.90583; -90.18333Coordinates: 38°54′21″N 90°11′0″W / 38.90583°N 90.18333°W / 38.90583; -90.18333
Built 1869
Architect Lucas Pfeiffenberger
Architectural style Italianate, Second Empire
NRHP Reference # 80001389[1]
Added to NRHP June 17, 1980

McPike Mansion, or Mount Lookout, is a mansion in Alton, which is part of the Metro-East region of the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area in the U.S. state of Illinois. Built in 1869 by Henry Guest McPike (1825–1910), it is situated on Alby Street on a site of 15 acres (61,000 m2), one of the highest points in Alton, which was called Mount Lookout. The structure appeared in the series Scariest Places on Earth. It was also featured on Season 1, Episode 7 of Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files.

History[edit]

View from the street

Construction began in 1869[2] by the architect Lucas Pfeiffenberger.[3] In that year, McPike's Rulander was considered one of the finest in quality at an exhibition of the Mississippi Valley Grape Growers' Association, while his Diana was best on exhibition.[4] McPike served as mayor of Alton and was a notable local businessman, involved in real estate and box making. He also served as the Librarian of the Alton-Southern Illinois Horticultural Society in the late 1880s.[5] He died in 1910.

In 1925, the mansion was purchased by Paul A. Laichinger who lived there until his death in 1945. While the house was abandoned for years thereafter, there was some interest in demolishing it and converting the land into a shopping center, though this fell through due to zoning issues. In the meantime, the house was ransacked for what was left behind, including its furnishings, wooden banisters and even the toilets, becoming a victim of vandalism and negligence.

The structure was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 17, 1980 but was left derelict for many years, before being purchased by Sharyn and George Luedke in an auction in 1994.[1][2] They had intended to convert it into a hotel, but contrary to earlier assurances at auction, they were unable to secure restoration grant money from any federal, state, or local agencies.[6]

According to the owner, the mansion is allegedly haunted by the ghost of a former owner and a former domestic servant.[7]

Architecture and grounds[edit]

The mansion in 2003

The mansion was completed in 1871.[8] It is a three-story red brick and white building, with white pillars supporting the porch. It contains 16 rooms and a vaulted wine cellar.

Situated on Alby Street on a site of 15 acres (61,000 m2), one of the highest points in Alton,[8] McPike named the estate Mount Lookout.[9] McPike was an avid horticulturalist and added extensive gardens with orchards, shrubs and rare trees.[9] Only 4.4 acres (18,000 m2) of the original estate remain of Mt. Lookout.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "NPS Focus". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. Retrieved June 20, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Kleen, Michael (2010). Haunting the prairie: a tourist's guide to the weird and wild places of Illinois. Black Oak Media. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-9790401-4-6. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  3. ^ "Ghostly Apparitions and Impending Structural Collapse". failedsuccess.com. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  4. ^ Missouri. State Board of Agriculture (1869). Annual report of the State Board of Agriculture (Now in the public domain. ed.). Missouri State Board of Agriculture. pp. 563–564. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  5. ^ Illinois State Horticultural Society (1886). Transactions of the Illinois State Horticultural Society. Illinois State Horticultural Society. pp. 196–. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  6. ^ Taylor, Troy; Moran, Mark; Sceurman, Mark (7 April 2005). Weird Illinois: Your Travel Guide to Illinois' Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. pp. 229–. ISBN 978-0-7607-5943-1. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  7. ^ STERN, SETH (10-12-2005). "Haunting & historic Cemetery tour introduces Forest Parkers to their town's history". Forest Park Review. Retrieved 6 September 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c "MT. LOOKOUT". Alton Historic Commission. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Jett, Cheryl Eichar (March 2009). Alton. Arcadia Publishing. p. 78. ISBN 978-0-7385-6114-1. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Means, Ruth (January 1980). "Mount Lookout" (PDF). National Register of Historic Places Inventory—Nomination Form. National Park Service. Retrieved June 20, 2011. 

External links[edit]