Ottawa Township High School
Original Ottawa Township High School
located to east of property of William Reddick
Photo taken by Bowman.
 
 
Appellate Court House
View to east side of the grounds of
the Reddick Mansion
 
 
St. Columba Church
View to the north from east side
of the grounds of Reddick Mansion
 
 
Washington Park, Ottawa, Illinois
View to south from the
grounds of the Reddick Mansion

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Local Neighborhood

Mansion Use and Changes

When Elizabeth Burrier Funk Reddick died in 1887, it had already been determined, based on provisions of William Reddick's Will, that his Mansion was to be become a city reading room and public library.

As mentioned elsewhere on this website:

On September 19, 1888 the library opened. For over 85 years the Reddick Mansion housed Ottawa's literary collection, and for some time, a natural history museum, thus serving the educational needs of the community.

The Reddick Library was in existence from 1888 to 1975 at the location of the former private home of William Reddick. Following the decision to construct a new building to house the public library, the owners of the Reddick Mansion, the Reddick Library Association, deeded the building to the City of Ottawa. During this time period, it was decided that the Mansion would not be demolished. As stated elsewhere:

In October of 1975, the Reddick Mansion Association was chartered as a non-profit corporation in charge of the restoration, maintenance, and operation of the property. The Association leases the building from the city.

The reader will not be surprised to learn that the area around the Reddick Library was made up of structures, either imposing or mundane. And like the structure that originally began life as a private home, some of these other neighborhood buildings often were reused for purposes other than what had been originally intended. If not relegated to new uses, some of the neighboring buildings were demolished and replaced by new buildings which had similar or different uses.

The remainder of this page details the changes, over the years, in the neighboring buildings and the uses to which those buildings were put.

 

Major Neighbors - Major Uses

As the city block to the immediate south of the site of the Reddick Library was only used as a public park (Washington Park), that area is ignored for purposes of this current study. However, to place the park in historical perspective, the reader might be interested in knowing that Washington Park was created by the Illinois-Michigan Canal Commission when States Addition to Ottawa, Illinois, was laid out in 1831.

The prominent structures that were in other areas surrounding the Reddick Library site can be discerned from a study of local histories as well as various schematics that were published in a series of maps known as the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps. These important buildings are listed in the following chart.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps
Major Structures and Their Uses
Click the Year for a PDF Download

1888 | 1891 | 1898 | 1913 | 1925

BUILDING
1888
1891
1898
1913
1925
Reddick Mansion
library
library
library
library
library
Reddick Outbuildings*
private
private
private
private
demolished & replaced
Court House
Supreme
Supreme
Appellate
Appellate
Appellate
High School
school
school
school
school
farm bureau
St. Columba Church
church
church
church
church
church

A detailed history of the Reddick Mansion can be read here. In addition, a detailed history of the Reddick Library can be read here.

The Reddick outbuildings are also detailed in another location. There were three primary outbuildings: a horse barn, a carriage house, and a moderately sized wood frame house. As the Sanborn maps reveal, these buildings were demolished sometime between 1913 and 1925. If she had lived, Miss Elizabeth Burrier Funk Reddick would have been residing in the frame dwelling to the immediate north of the Reddick Library. These buildings were left to her as one of the provisions of William Reddick's Last Will & Testament. Following the demolition of the outbuildings, a building was constructed, on the site, for auto sales and servicing.

To the immediate east of the Reddick Library, across Columbus Street, the building that housed the Supreme Court of Illinois, Northern Division was constructed between 1857-1860, about the time that construction began on what was to be the Reddick Mansion. Wings were added to this court house in 1872. The building was used for Supreme Court cases until 1897, when the Illinois State Senate voted 31 to 16 to move the Supreme Court from Ottawa to Springfield. After that time and until the present, the court building was used as an Appellate Court House for the State of Illinois.

To the northeast of the Reddick Library, also across Columbus Street, the second township high school in the entire state of Illinois was erected in 1879. It was due to the efforts of Henry L. Boltwood, who became the first principal of the Ottawa Township High School, that the school was organized. He had also been instrumental in organizing the state's first township high school in Princeton, Illinois. The building remained a high school until 1916 when a new township high school was erected at its present location on east Main Street, across the Fox River. The original township high school building, at the southeast corner of Washington and Columbus Streets, was obtained by the La Salle County Farm Bureau and used as their facility for many years following 1925. Photos of the original Ottawa Township High School can be seen in part of the New York Public Library Digital Gallery (images #1 and #9). Click Here.

The block to the north of the Reddick Library site, across Washington Street, was the site of the Roman Catholic Church and school named St. Columba. Many residents of Ottawa are unaware that the original St. Columba was a frame structure located on Jefferson Street, two blocks to the south of the current site. It had its corner stone laid in 1841 and was used until the mid-1840's. This first St. Columba was abandoned to be replaced by a newer structure on the northeast corner of La Salle and Washington Streets. The newer structure and a parsonage was destroyed by fire in 1851. To the north of this second church site and facing La Salle Street, a corner stone was laid in 1852 for the third church building to bear the name St. Columba. By 1878, this third structure was deemed inadequate. Ground was broke for a fourth church in 1878 and the corner stone was laid in 1882 for the current church that bears the name St. Columba. The third church structure was demolished between 1888 and 1891. A new church school was in existence by 1891 and was located on the northeast corner of La Salle and Washington Streets. The fourth St. Columba church building occupies the southwest corner of Washington and Columbus Streets.

Time is a equal-opportunity opponent. The citizens of Ottawa and the surrounding area are fortunate that the Reddick Mansion exists in a configuartion that is not too far removed from what William Reddick would have seen as he walked the halls of the Reddick Mansion.

 

 

Ottawa: Old And New - A Complete History of Ottawa, Illinois: 1823-1914
published by The Republican Times, Ottawa, Illinois, 1912-1914 (reproduction in 1984 by Bireline Publishing Co., Inc., Newell, Iowa)