Visitors Guide to the
602 Fulton Street
Emma Kunz House was built about 1830 by Conrad Borman, a local brick
contractor, and is the earliest dated Greek Revival house in the
Belleville area and possibly in the state of Illinois. Although the house
seems small by today’s standards. it was considered a substantial house
when it was built. The original location of the house was on Washington
Street and in 1972 the house was slated to be demolished to make way for a
parking lot. The owners agreed to donate the house to the St. Clair County
Historical Society and the house was relocated to its present location.
The house is named after Emma Kunz, the last resident of the house, who
lived here for 77 years. The house is modeled after the ‘German street
homes’ that were common in Europe and had no front yard. Originally the
house was a two-room building but was later enlarged to its present size
and has a hallway, parlor, dining-living room, bedroom, kitchen, and
keeping room. The house had no front yard in its original location.
occupants of the home were primarily working class people and the
Historical Society has furnished the home in the style of a mid 19th
century working class family. When a visitor enters the house the front
hallway is framed by glass around the door, which indicates that the house
was extraordinary for its time as glass was rare and had to be imported
from the East Coast. The parlor was the most formal room in the house and
was used mainly for special occasions. The parlor has a wood-burning
fireplace with a mantle displaying pewter items and a horsehair sofa and a
horsehair rocker, both of which have been cut low to allow for hoop
skirts. The area rugs are braided and can be seen throughout the house.
The dining-sitting room was the all-purpose room of the house and was used
for eating, entertaining, and reading and studying. In the fireplace is a
variety of cast iron cooking implements including a Dutch oven on a stand
with legs. The dining-sitting room contains several nice pieces of mid
19th century furniture including an 1830 walnut cupboard with period
china, an 1860 walnut drop leaf table with a hand loomed table cover, and
a pine writing table with period artifacts.
kitchen is well furnished with an 1873 cast iron cook stove complete a
coal bucket and shovel and an interesting array of cast iron utensils
including a waffle iron, pot pusher, and doughnut mold. The 1840 worktable
is made of pine with crossbuck legs and is now used to display a variety
of kitchen utensils that were commonly used in routine meal preparation.
The dry sink, made of pine and painted, was a common feature in German
communities before the advent of indoor plumbing. At the back of the house
is a small room called the buttery or keeping room and was used to prepare
and store food, bathing, and washing clothes in cold weather. A pine pie
pan safe, with designs pierced in to the tin panels, shows off a form of
period folk art. Out the back door is a brine barrel used to cure meats
and a corn drier hanging from the rafters. There is one bedroom in the
house and the feature of this room is the 1830 cannonball trundle bed.
Grooves in the pine floor, which are original to the house, show where the
trundle bed was pulled out at night. An 1840 walnut armoire holds the
Society’s collection of handmade quilts and hand woven coverlets.
Emma Kunz House is an excellent way to experience the lifestyle of a
typical 19th century working class family. The St. Clair County Historical
Society also operates the Victorian Home Museum
which illustrates the lifestyle of a more prosperous Victorian family.
the Emma Kunz House
Memorial Day Weekend
through Labor Day Weekend
9 am to 4 pm
Off Peak Hours
Wednesday - Sunday: 9 am to 4 pm
Closed on Major
An admission is charged to visit the Emma Kunz
House: Adults: $2, Children $1.
Directions: From East Main Street in downtown
Belleville take Mascoutah Avenue south to Fulton Street.
N 38 30.599
W 89 58.611
Learn more about the Belleville area.
- is the official website of the St. Clair County Historical Society
with information on the Victorian Home Museum, the Emma Kunz House,
historical and genealogical research, and other information about the
Society and its activities.