The 1820 Col. Benjamin Stephenson House opens an enchanting window on cultural, political, and architectural developments during the early history of Illinois. Built-in 1820 by skilled craftsmen and the Stephenson family’s indentured servants, it was constructed using native materials from the region. The two-story Federal Style home is an excellent example of architecture from this early period and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Illinois State Historic Preservation Agency includes it among only a handful of homes built in the first quarter of the 19th century that remain standing in Illinois. It is also considered the oldest brick home in Madison County, Illinois.
Today, the renovated Stephenson House is a hands-on learning center, bustling with activities from the Stephenson Era that will entertain and educate visitors of all ages. Trained docents in period dress provide tours of the house and gardens. Visitors might see bread baking in the kitchen’s beehive oven, a leatherworker constructing a shooting bag, children playing period games, or a political discussion about the future of the territory in the parlor. The rebuilt summer kitchen recreates cooking techniques and recipes from the day. The sights, smells, and sounds are designed to increase awareness of the region’s cultural heritage and provide a real-life glimpse of Edwardsville in the 1820s.
The beautiful home at 409 South Buchanan Street serves as a permanent reminder of the people who gave extraordinary service to our country, state, and city in the early days of the 19th century. It is a timeless community treasure, enriching the lives of present and future generations.