Home Tour benefits historic
Mount Pulaski Courthouse

Rick & LeeAnn Volle,
Willie & Brenda Rentmeister SLIDE SHOW
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Mt. Pulaski Zion Lutheran, Dr. Erin Schafer,

Fred & Patsy Lipp SLIDE SHOW <-- click here


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[December 09, 2015]   On Saturday evening, four homes and one local church in the Mount Pulaski area were opened to the public for a Holiday Home Tour. The event sponsored by Salt Creek Attic in Mount Pulaski was held as a fundraiser for the Mount Pulaski Courthouse Foundation. The Foundation was formed by a group of Mount Pulaski citizens who are working toward several refurbishing projects at the Courthouse.

Though the Courthouse is a State Historic site and does receive some funding through the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, state budget concerns over the past several years have made it difficult for the Courthouse to get all the money needed to maintain the site.

Right now, the Foundation is working to address the concerns of a failing roof. The issues with the roof are having a domino effect inside the building causing some ceiling cracks and other issues. When the group can address the situation of the roof, it will then be able to move on to address other issues on the interior.

Zion Lutheran Church

At the top of the list of homes to tour on Saturday evening was Zion Lutheran Church and School. The church was officially the first Lutheran congregation formed in Logan County and was founded in 1851. At its founding, the church building was not located where it is today. From its founding day until 1905 the church had a few different locations as its congregation grew and outgrew their existing facility.

The current church was dedicated in 1905 and underwent major updates in 1958 and again in 2012 when the new addition for the day school was completed.

The church and school were both opened for the Saturday night tour with tour guide stations at strategic locations to explain the history of the church. Many may know of the great train car explosion that took place in Mount Pulaski a half a century or more ago. The explosion did a great deal of damage to homes and businesses throughout the town, including to Zion.

The guides were well versed in defining the damage done to the church, and explaining how through this unfortunate incident, the church came out on the other side better than ever.

The new school facility is also of great importance to the congregation and the community. The guide for that portion of the tour was anxious to share the spacious pre-school and kindergarten areas, the implementation of modern technology such as whiteboards, and the outstanding science room complete with chemistry lab.

The sanctuary of the church features a beautiful pipe organ, stained glass windows, and hardwood trimmed cathedral ceilings. A portion of the original sanctuary wall has been opened up to step easily into some of the new portions of the church.

Throughout the building, a variety of Nativity scenes were the main attraction of the Christmas décor along with a festival of trees that featured Christmas Trees decorated by students of the Zion Lutheran School.

Church volunteers were also on hand to visit with tourists as they completed their walk through the church and school. In the school's new kitchen and cafeteria area, a large array of sweets were being offered by several sweet ladies who were anxious to visit with guests and share what they know of their church and school as well.

Dr. Erin Schafer

Dr. Erin Schafer purchased her vintage Victorian, three-story home in 2014. The home is tagged as four-and-a-half bedrooms and two baths. It features a lovely front foyer entry, sitting room, dining room, and kitchen on the ground floor. The second floor of the home features all the bedrooms, and the third floor is the attic transformed into an office space. That large room features metal barn roofing on the ceiling and barn wood paneling on the walls.

The home features much of the original woodwork, hardwood floors, and exposed brick in the kitchen area. Erin loves vintage and whimsy. The rooms of the home are decorated with unique items such as a large, antique wall map of the globe in the dining room, an un-restored stained glass window as a focal point in the sitting room, and antique and vintage game boards mounted on the wall of one of the bedrooms.

The Christmas décor around the house reflect that same feeling of whimsy as Christmas Trees can be found in multiple rooms, and several of the other décor items are pieces dating to mid-century 1900’s.

Erin has a love of animals and enjoys sharing the space with her two pugs, and on Saturday evening her dark colored calico cat was reigning over one of the upstairs bedrooms, happily accepting head rubs from guests.

Fred and Patsy Lipp

This amazing home was built by Fred and is designed to accommodate the couple's likes and interests. The living room area features a lovely brick fireplace. On the mantel are examples of some of the hobby work Patsy does with making miniature dioramas.

The house is comfortably furnished with a living area and a separate sitting room area, accented with large windows that look out on the lovely front yard area of the home.

The home features a combination kitchen dining area that includes an island work area and plenty of cabinetry in the kitchen and a lovely dining area with French doors that open out to the back lawn.

For the home tour, the dining table was laid out with vintage Haviland china and crystal goblets, and the room was accented with a Christmas tree in the corner of the room. Christmas trees also added a touch of the holiday season in other rooms of the home, each one done to reflect the room it occupied.

The home also included three bedrooms, each decorated in a different style, including a blue bedroom, a rustic wood bedroom, and a third modern style bedroom with an amazing silver ball light fixture hanging from the ceiling.

Outside, Santa has nothing on Patsy, as she has her own little log cabin workshop where she enjoys spending time working on her many crafting interests.


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Rick and LeeAnn Volle

Many of the locals taking the tour on Saturday evening were anxious to see the inside of this home. The house built in the early 1900’s by the Frisch family. In the last two years, the current owners, Rick and LeeAnn, have done extensive work on the interior of the home. While there may be many new components, the integrity of the original home has not been compromised especially on the ground floor, where one can easily see the Art Nouveau influence that was popular between the 1890’s and 1910.

Upstairs, one of the big draws for many of the female visitors was the laundry room and walk-in closet combo off the Master Bedroom. A second big draw was the fabulous kitchen with the super large stainless steel cooking stove and the butler pantry connecting the kitchen to the dining room.

The house features a double entry with an outside door, a small entry room, then an interior door that opens into a nicely decorated front sitting room. The room is flanked on either side by French doors, one set leading into the formal dining area, and the second leading to a separate room where the main attraction is the grand piano.

The house features a library sitting room just beyond the front living area that is warm and comfortable with a lovely fireplace flanked with built-in hardwood bookcases.

The dining room features the original fireplace with green tile front and also has the added attraction of an original painting of the home sitting predominantly on the fireplace mantel. The dining room table is a one piece construction table for a minimum of six. On this night, it was elegantly set with deep rich red and gold china, crystal goblets, and a holiday centerpiece featuring live evergreen sprigs.

The Christmas decorations throughout the home were tastefully done and included a variety of Christmas trees, garlands, and wreaths. Among these items, the tree in the piano room that Rick Volle cheerfully referred to as their “Charlie Brown” tree.

LeeAnn also shared an interesting story. The home was built by the Frisch family, and on December 6th, 1912, the family held their grand open house in the home. On display upstairs was a handwritten account of the open house including how the event went, a special ceremony that was performed, and who attended. LeeAnn said that since finding this document, she and Rick have tried to verify if the article was ever published in the local paper. According to the document it was, but to date they have not been able to find a copy of the article in the newspaper. She hasn’t given up on finding it someday and said she’d appreciate hearing from anyone who may have knowledge about the opening day at the Frisch home or any subsequent newspaper articles.

(Click for large versions of the handwritten pages - Page one - Page two)

Included in the description of the house that day was mention of the potted ferns and palms. Today, Rick and LeAnn have been careful to maintain that aspect of the home, with large palms taking up special locations in the front room and the piano room.

Willie and Brenda Rentmeister

Many will recognize Willie Rentmeister as a home builder in Logan County, but the talent in the family does not stop with Willie. Their home, recently purchased and refurbished is beautifully decorated with color themed bedrooms and very well appointed rooms, with all the work being done by Brenda.

The Rentmeisters purchased the home originally owned by the Schaffenacker family and built in 1894. The work they have completed has been with the goal of restoring the home to its original glory and at the same time adding the modern necessities. While the fireplace was noted as being original, it was converted from a wood-burning hearth to a gas log. Electrical wiring has also been done, and the house has beautiful woodwork and hardwood flooring throughout.

Stepping into the home, the focal point of the front room is the corner fireplace. Willie said the fireplace is all original right down to the mirror insert on the mantel that is showing signs of its age. The draw of the fireplace is magnified by the exquisite Christmas decorations that include a simple and elegant nativity with lighted garlands, and a very special piece that utilizes a pair of girls white ice skates.

Nearby, there is also an outstanding Christmas tree color coordinated to go with the room décor and fireplace decorations.

The front bedroom is nicely done with pale pink and greens while another bedroom is done in shades of gray, and a third bedroom makes a solid statement done in deep red and white.

The formal dining room is adorned with a collection of Santa Claus figures and adds a touch of fun to the room as you journey into the deep red kitchen with white cabinetry and exposed brick.

Each of the main rooms in the home features a themed Christmas tree, including the kitchen where the decorations include spice tins and red-checked ribbon.


The Mount Pulaski Courthouse Foundation is very appreciative of all the local home owners, as well as Zion Lutheran Church and School, who so generously opened up their living, worship and learning places for the tour this year.

The evening resulted in a great turnout with many guests both locally and from out and about, enjoying some of the vintage and historic homes in the Mount Pulaski area. Surely, no one left disappointed.

The foundation is always seeking donations and holds several fundraising events each year. Anyone wishing to assist with fundraising efforts or make a donation to the foundation can learn more at the Mount Pulaski Courthouse official website http://www.mountpulaskihistoriccourthouse.org/#!about_us/csgz

[Nila Smith]

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