of Carroll Co IL

Images of some of the fine art to come out of Carroll County through the years

“The Old Homestead”
By Eva Belle Bickelhaupt Downing
Dated December 15, 1901
It is in the collection of Marilyn Becker, a granddaughter of the artist. The scene is a building at the edge of the pond on the Samuel Preston property along what is now Highway 52. I believe it to be at the bottom of the hill, in what is now a grassy area and what was then the edge of the grove of butternut trees. However, the structure pictured in the black and white photo of this property taken in the 1880s, well before 1901, looks to be a lot smaller and more like the spring house than this building. Besides the spring house was destroyed in the Cyclone of 1898. To further confuse the location issue, the layout of the pond was changed somewhat in the early 1960s about the time the highway was widened and raised slightly. This structure could have been further back beyond the trees way out of view. If anyone knows the exact location of “The Old Homestead“, please contact Alice Horner. Also see Then & Now

Florence L. Downing Horner, mother of Alice Horner the contributor of this image, did this pastel of a scene in Point Rock Park when she was only 8 years old! Her grandmother, Ellen Eliza Preston Downing, was teaching her how to draw and paint. Her portrayal of the stream as being really high in its banks was thought to have betrayed what an amateur she was. That is, until Alice herself saw the stream for the first time. This is apparently a spring that feeds into the Waukarusa River that rushes through Point Rock Park. It's always high in its banks, even in the summer. Mother was painting the scene close to what it was.....

An Eva Belle (Bickelhaupt) Downing pastel of the road which "might" have been the original road between Mt Carroll and Savanna, especially since it went through forests. It really looks like rural roads in that area yet today.

Its unknown when she did this work; it could have been anytime between the 1890s and the 1930s. Eva had a very debilitating stroke in the early 1920s she was an invalid most of her life afterwards.

Eva Bickelhaupt was the wife of Harvey Loomer Downing. She was born 29 October 1877 and died 23 July 1945. Alice Horne contributed this image and Eva Downing was her grandmother.

A Grace Bawden watercolor from the folio found at the Benson Farm's chickenhouse! Grace Bawden lived from 1873-1940 and taught art at Shimer College. This painting could have been painted anytime after the late 1880s. "Point Rock Park" was written on the back. This watercolor scene is along the main road in the park, the one to the left of the cliff, and west of the "Point" of the pointed rock (which I photographed and is in the Then & Now section already). The base of the road is near a roofed picnic area along this path. There might be two roofed picnic areas, and I can't remember which one it's nearest. This watercolor, a study in perspective, and how different a painting can look from the actual scene. The painting makes the scene like a wide lane or maybe even a narrow two-lane road, and one that isn't very hilly, but indeed it is not only what may have once been a bridal path, but one that is no more than 3 feet wide. And it's quite steep, but that doesn't show on the watercolor. This lane leads to Oak Hill Cemetery, the part at the south west side very near where the Mausoleum used to be.
Contributed by Alice Horner ---
See "Then & Now"

This is an exquisite hand painted Haviland china round powder box signed "Grace M. Bawden 1901".
Owner is Daniel Land of Chicago (Genealogist and Antique Collector)

The lid is painted with blonde-haired cherub kissing a dark-haired woman. The two figures are surrounded by clouds.
The scene is surrounded by applied turquoise raised porcelain "jewels".
The 1899 University of Chicago Annual Register lists Miss Bawden as an instructor of china painting.
Apparently she did her post-graduate work at The Art Institute.

Alice Horner thinks it's possible the woman Grace Bawden painted on this powder box is Grace herself.

Two Grace Bawden Sketches - Harvey Loomer Downing I Farmhouse and Outbuildings before the Cyclone of 1898
Contributed by Alice Horner

Grace Bawden made these two drawings of the Harvey Loomer Downing I farmhouse and farm buildings, probably in the 1880s, and are the only likeness of this property known to exist. This property was totally destroyed in the Cyclone of 1898. The land was farmed but not built upon again until the 1960s, when it was owned by Paul and Eva (Downing) Metz. It is located at what is now 9484 Preston Road, Mt. Carroll, Illinois. This is in Mt. Carroll Township, less than a mile off U.S. Highway 52.

For decades, these two drawings were thought to be lost. Grace Bawden showed Florence Downing Horner a picture when Florence was just a girl (Florence was born in 1906) and said it was "the Downing House" before the cyclone. Florence’s only memory of it was that it had a house, a piece of board fence and a sort of walkway.

Grace Bawden was a distant cousin of Harvey Loomer Downing I. Her mother was Anna Belle Kneale, her grandmother was Jemima Downing, and her great grandfather was Abner Downing. Harvey Loomer Downing I’s grandfather was Abner Downing. Grace Bawden was an art instructor at Frances Shimer College and most of her drawings and paintings were made in the late 1800s. The Downings and the Bawdens were close friends always, and Grace Bawden and Ellen Eliza Preston Downing sometimes painted together.

Check out the Then and Now Section" to see what the property looks like today..

This home is officially known as the Uriah Green House in all the historical material on Mt. Carroll. The watercolor was done by Mattie Lim, who we think was one of the local artists in the area. The date of the painting is not certain but thought to be in the 1970's. This home was owned by Harvey Loomer and Ellen Preston Downing, for decades. Ellen Downing died at 101 at this home in 1948, the subsequent owner was their son Preston Downing until he died in 2001. It was then sold outside the family.

This painting was purchased at a craft fair held in Mt. Carroll, as a gift for Florence (Downing) Horner, mother of Alice Horner who contributed this photo. --- See "Then & Now"