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510 East Grove

This house was built in about 1853 by John L. Routt, a carpenter, who was just 19 at the time. He would go on to serve in the Civil War, become the governor of the Colorado Territory and then be elected as the first governor of the State of Colorado. 


Reuben Benjamin, an attorney, was the second owner. Benjamin came to Illinois as an attorney in 1856.  one of his examiners was Abraham Lincoln.  He was a circuit court judge and law professor at the Wesleyan Law School. His family occupied the house for eighty years, from 1856 to 1936.  

This Italianate style house has important features of an Italianate house in its heavy roof brackets and tall windows. The highly detailed porch roof over the double front doors and painted accents on the window frames relieve the otherwise severe façade of the house.  Historic images of the house show that this porch was original to the house, except for a low balustrade that once adorned the perimeter of the porch roof.


The interior design is the English Side Hall design, which was developed for narrow urban lots. At the time the house was built the street was not crowded, and Routt’s house was the first on the north side of the street.  Subsequent owners divided the house into two living quarters, but in the 1980s the house was restored to its original floor plan. 


The Dimmitt’s Grove Neighborhood includes the subdivisions created by William Dimmitt and William Evans. Dimmitt and Evans submitted a joint plat to the city in ---- but after discovering that Evans had named a street for himself Dimmitt withdrew his property from the plat application, which caused Evans Street to be the narrowest in the city!

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