H.P. Boult House
The H.P. Boult House is a Victorian home built in 1889 at 1123 South Second Street in the Queen Anne style with Eastlake elements. The two-story wood frame building sits on a brick foundation; the original paint color was a dark yellow. A tower and pointed dormers are distinguishing features, as are the carved panels projecting across the facade and the carved front porch pediment. A curved cherry wooden staircase is near the front entrance and a fireplace in a room in the front of the house features painted slate decoration. The H.P. Boult House was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 for its architectural significance. The home is a private residence in the Vinegar Hill neighborhood.
Backstory and Context
The builder of the H.P. Boult House is not known, but the home is remarkably well preserved inside and out. The house has been deemed one of the best preserved examples of simplified Queen Anne style architecture in Springfield. The house was on Lot 6 and the north half of Lot 7 in Feitsham's and Dixon's Addition to the City of Springfield. There was a two-story wood frame stable with one-story attached wing along the rear lot line, according to the 1896 Sanborn fire insurance map of Springfield. The buildings on the lot looked unchanged on a 1917 map except that the one-story wing was no longer present on the stable.
The H.P. Boult House is unusual in that only two families had occupied it by the time it was studied for listing in the National Register. H.P. Boult had the home built from 1888 to 1889. Mr. Boult was a miller and his wife was named Mary. Unfortunately, he barely spent two years in the house before he passed away in 1890. Mary Boult sold the house to Thomas Watts in 1891. The Boult family was not found within the census records for 1880. The widowed "Mrs. H.P. Boult" resided in Galesburg, Illinois by 1907.
The Watts family continued to live in the home for six generations until it was purchased in 1981 by Robert Hayner. In 1900, Thomas Watts and his wife, Janey H. (age 39) shared the house on South Second Street with their five surviving children: Thomas B. (17), "Margrett" E. (14), Allis W. (12), Janey (10) and Kedrick R. (6). Mr. Watts was a 48-year-old stock raiser and had been married for twenty years. All of the Watts family members had been born in Illinois and all but the youngest child attended school. A local newspaper mentioned in February 1915 that Thomas Watts, Sr. was very ill due to a recent fall; Mr. Watts was hospitalized in October 1916. He passed away by 1920.
In 1920, the widowed Janey "Watts" was the head of the household at the H.P. Boult House; the 59-year-old was not employed. Two of her daughters were unmarried and lived in the house with their mother: Margaret E. (34, a bookkeeper for the electric railroad) and Jane (30, a bookkeeper at a lodge). A widowed son, Thomas B. (36, a bookkeeper at a bank) also resided in the home. Two grandchildren, Helen L. Watts (10) and Ben B. Watts (8) - likely children of Thomas B. - completed the household.
The house appears to have been divided into two residences by 1940, with renters at the 1123 address and the Watt family at 1123 -1/2. Jane Watts (45) owned the house, which was valued at $5,000, and worked as a file clerk for an insurance company. Two of Jane's nieces lived with her: Helen Louise (30, a librarian at the city library) and Margaret E. (25, a government relief case worker). A boarder, Irene Helmle (48) was a bookkeeper for a heating company. The renters' household was headed by a widow, Gertrude L. Norton (65). Gertrude's daughters, Mildred G. (42, a public school teacher) and Helen G. (40, a stenographer for an abstract company) lived with their mother.
Anonymous. "Personals." The Forum (Springfield, IL) February 13th 1915, 3-3.
Anonymous. "The Ill." The Forum (Springfield, IL) October 28th 1916, 4-4.
Colville's. Colville's Galesburg City Directory 1907 - 1908. [title page missing] . Colville's, 1908.
Hayner, Robert. NRHP Nomination of H.P. Boult House. National Register. Washington, DC. National Park Service, 1981.
Sanborn Map Company. Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois. New York, NY. Sanborn Map Company, 1896 p. 34; 1917 V. 2. p. 173.
U.S. Census Bureau. Household of Thomas Watts at 1123 S. Second St., Springfield, IL Ward 4, District 95, Dwelling 275, Family 276. Washington, DC. U.S. Government, 1900.
U.S. Census Bureau. Household of Janey Watts at 1123 S. Second St., Springfield, IL Precinct 32, District 151, Dwelling 114, Family 132. Washington, DC. U.S. Government, 1920.
U.S. Census Bureau. Household of Jane Watts at 1123-1/2 S. Second St., Springfield, IL Enumeration District 84-58, Dwelling 238. Washington, DC. U.S. Government, 1940.
U.S. Census Bureau. Household of Gertrude L. Norton at 1123 S. Second St., Springfield, IL Enumeration District 84-58, Dwelling 239. Washington, DC. U.S. Government, 1940.