Historic Homes in Geneva, Illinois

My love affair with old houses began when I was in high school. It was quite unexpected, really. I was working on a very important goal at the time … when I turned 16 I vowed to have a date every Saturday night until I graduated. That meant hair, make-up, and clothes were high on my priority list. Cupid shot me with his bow and arrow but my love intention was not a well-muscled young man … oh no … it was a classic beauty with great bones.

The Ashby HomeThis is the house that started my love affair with historic homes. She’s the reason I currently live in a house built circa 1875. I tried living in a brand new house once but felt like I was cheating on my true love.  The house pictured here was the home of Dillu Ann Ashby of Geneva, Illinois. I first stepped into this stunning home with my friend Patty, a neighbor of the elderly Mrs. Ashby. She was introducing us because Mrs. Ashby needed a housekeeper and I wanted to help her.


The Ashby HomeEvery Saturday morning I cleaned Mrs. Asbhy’s beautiful home, polishing the rich wood of the staircases by hand (yes, there were two staircases – a grand one in front and a smaller one in back), washing the kitchen floor on my hands and knees because she thought it would get cleaner that way, and finally enjoying lunch together in her elegant dining room after I was done. Mrs. Asbhy was quite the character, drinking her bourbon from a tea cup in the butler’s pantry while no one was looking and driving a collector’s 1965 red convertible Mustang around town with the top down even though it was cool outside.


The Ashby HomeMrs. Ashby lived alone in this big old house although her family lived nearby. She rarely used the screened in porch. The room directly above was the summer sleeping room and was kept shut off during the winter. I grew to love this house and thought about the people who first lived here. Ever since, I’ve loved older homes. After Mrs. Ashby passed on, I heard her daughter moved into the house.


Carriage HouseBack in the day, this house served as the carriage house for the Ashby House.  Dillu Ann told me at one point this house sat further back on the property but the it was moved up closer to the road and sold separately from the main house. I don’t know about you, but I think this is one fine looking carriage house. It’s probably been added onto over the years.


The Cameron HouseAcross the street from Mrs. Ashby’s house is the home of my childhood friend, Patty. Patty has since grown up and moved into her own home, but her mother still lives here. This home is quite charming both inside and out. Our parents have been best friends forever so I’ve known Patty since birth. While Patty grew up in this adorable older home, I grew up in a 1960’s Brady Bunch style quad level house.


Historic Geneva HomeIn the same neighborhood as Patty and Mrs. Ashby is this beautiful blue charmer with white picket fence.


Historic Geneva HomeThis is one of my favorite homes in Geneva and I’m sorry to say I’ve never been inside. If you’re the owner and happen to be reading my blog, I would love for you to invite me over!


Historic Geneva HomeHow wonderful to have so many windows circling the lower level room. If I lived here, I think this room is where I’d spend most of my time, enjoying all that natural light streaming in. Do you see the back porch to the left? I can just imagine sipping iced tea on a summer afternoon while perched in a rocking chair back there.


Classic White HouseAnother lovely historic home with a white picket fence and our country’s flag flying outside. When you think of the good ole days, doesn’t a house like this come to mind? My parents moved to this quaint town of Geneva, Illinois shortly after they were married and my dad had graduated from Wheaton College. It’s a neat and tidy town and was the primary reason my fastidious mother moved here.


Victorian HomeThis Victorian beauty has so many features I admire, like the bay windows (there are more bay windows on the side). The trim on the door is painted to make the details pop, as well as the molding under the soffit. I would love to explore the third level with the two charming windows. They just don’t make houses like this anymore.


Chalet type houseAnd now for something completely different … this house reminds me of a chalet type dwelling. Doesn’t it have wonderful detailing and a great color combination? I can totally see myself living in this home.


Chalet type homeThis section of Geneva is near the historic shopping district known as Third Street.  Some of my favorite stores line the sidewalks of Third Street. I know that I’m truly blessed to have grown up in this idyllic setting, even though we didn’t live in the historic area of town.


Historic Clapboard HomeThis gorgeous home is a little confusing to me. It sits on a corner lot and I’m taking this photo at the corner where the streets intersect. So where’s the front door? You would think it’d be on one of these two sides but all I see are windows. Lots and lots of glorious windows!


Historic clapboard homeThe front door is up on that porch and faces the neighbor’s yard. I think perhaps the neighbor’s house was built many years later and that piece of property was actually the front yard of this magnificent home.  Geneva is known for its variety of historic homes so I suppose it should be no surprise that I have a magnetic attraction to them. But who knows? Maybe if I’d grown up in an old home, I’d be more attracted to Brady Bunch style homes. How about you? Do you have a favorite architectural style?

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  1. Those houses are just stunning! I love old houses too. Mine is circa 1950 but I prefer something from the early 1900s. And call me crazy but I always wonder about any ghosts being in some old houses we’ve been in. I’m intrigued by history and old homes are so rich with history.


  2. What a charming town with sweet houses. Each is special in its own way. Maybe you should go up and knock on the doors of your favorites.

  3. After growing up in a very old home, I have always loved their character. No plain Jane’s allowed. I have lived in 30 year old ranchers but was never happy. I now live in a two story old farm house that is 107 years old and I love it…I don’t want it any other way.

    Thanks for sharing the beautiful homes in your area. So beautiful!

  4. Hi Jennifer,

    So nice to meet you! Have been taking a little tour around your beautiful blog and I’m in love with your style! Like you, I’m also a lover of old homes, they’re simply charming and quaint, A LOT like your pretty blue and white favourite here today! Well, going to settle in now with a cup of hot hazelnut coffee to study these fine architectural gems! Thanks fpr sharing these treasures!
    So happy to follow you, would love it if you could follow me back!

    Poppy 🙂

  5. This is a great post, Jen. I loved hearing the story behind the first home (and they all have stories!). I think that’s my favorite house of all that you pictured. I adore old homes and don’t think I’d ever be able to love a newly constructed home. Geneva is a beautiful town…I love the shopping!


  6. Beautiful homes, all of them. I grew up in the classic 1959 brick bungalow, the same as all the houses around it. I have always loved old homes. A few of my aunts lived on farms and had the classic Victorian farmhouse. I loved visiting those old homes (and family too). It was sad growing up and seeing the farmland around Toronto getting developed for commercial (ugly!) or the new modern planned housing as all the old farmhouses and barns were torn down. My grandfather’s and aunt and uncles farms are all gone, as are the lovely old houses and barns. I feel like my ancestal history is underneath all those developments and highways. When I return to visit family I see it how it was when i was growing up and how ugly it is now. Give me old anyday! Perhaps that is why in my 6 yr old home I have old and new mixed. It helps me to ground myself and I treasure the few family things I have.

  7. Hello!

    This was great fun to read your post today.
    Would have been thrilled to take a peek inside these charmers!

    My old house was built in two different time slots. 1885 and 1901.
    This is the oldest house I’ve lived in. Fixing her up to sparkle.
    Come on by.

    God bless,

  8. I so enjoy your post on old homes. I am also a lover of old homes. Every year I try to make it to Elgin Illinois house walk in Sept. They have older homes on their walk. You may visit my home on our old website turned blog at thehubcaphouse.blogspot.com. We’re up here in Wilmot Wisconsin,your neighbor to the north. Chris

  9. I am familiar with and love all these historic houses of Geneva! I only live 36 miles north of Geneva, so I visit this lovely town a couple of times a year. I not only love to look at the beautiful houses, but the shopping is fantastic there, too. My favorite stores are Cocoon and the St Vincent De Paul’s thrift shop that’s in the old, yellow house.

  10. I have always lived in an old house. My parents divorced when I was pretty young and my mom lived in a historic house in a historic town not too far from my dad ( I lived with my dad and grandparents ). My bedroom at mom’s had beautiful french doors and 9 ft ceilings… It looked a lot like the first house you showed us. My favourite kind of house is very farmy, simple but elegant, lots of windows and porches too; closed in, screened or and open. Your town looks charming 🙂

  11. I could be very happy as a reincarnated as Mrs. Ashby. I can’t imagine how fun it would be to live in a big ole house with a sleeping porch! As always, I absolutely love your home tours!!


  12. These homes are so gorgeous, Jennifer! I would love to live in an area like that. Your first job sounds much better than mine working in a grocery store ~ there wasn’t much charm in that job!

  13. Historic homes are so charming. I love to drive around and look at the architecture and get inspired from what I see – doors – gardens and urns on the porches. I enjoyed this post Jennifer.

  14. I need to walk around my neighborhood and take some photos 🙂 I love older homes. Our last house was a ’60s era brick ranch. zzzzzz no character at all. Looked like all the other houses. My current home was hooked up to the city water in 1910. I can’t imagine living in a house newer than this.

  15. As a Pet Sitter in Geneva I’m lucky enough to have been in some of these homes. I always appreciate seeing the craftmanship and you can just feel the history when you walk through them.

  16. Hi Jennifer,
    Oh I love all the old homes in Geneva. The whole town is so cute with shops, Little Traveler and the historic old homes. One of my fav towns to visit on a regular basis. I too love to see all the old homes and think about all the families that have lived there. the charm and character to those homes is fantastic. Thanks for sharing the pretty pictures.

  17. I would love to live in an lod home They have so much character. My husband on the other hand grew up in one and want’s nothing to do with one. He said you are always having to work on something on them. I still would love one some day. When his parents passed away none of the five childern wanted to keep it so it was sold. It was a beautiful six beadroom home. So sad that it did not stay in the family.

  18. I grew up in Geneva and have been in several of these homes. I have been a realtor here since 1978 and have had the privilege of selling several of the older historic homes. Many of them have been updated and somewhat modernized on the inside, but the outside and the grounds all remain beautiful.

  19. Thank you for the beautiful picture and the stories. I
    I too love older homes. I was raised in an older home that once served as a general store. The previous owners did not appreciate the older homes charm so in turn they did not take very good care of it. I met my husband in college who at that time was a marine who was stationed in California. So for 18 years, our children Abbigail and Grant and myself followed him from California to Washington D.C. to Virginia and then finally home to Ohio where we finally settled in Zanesville,. Where we are the only place that has the famous “Y” bridge. The year my husband moved us back to Ohio he was going to Japan and we were not able to go with him. I found my dream house on October 6, 2003. We had looked at many home in the area but not one of them “fit”. But, on that day I had asked our realtor if we could see the home that were presently in now. Well of course when I walked in and seen all of wood trim and the double staircase I knew it was for us. I didn’t need to see anymore! But, our realtor was insistent that I see the rest. Well it was like extra whip cream on an already perfect hot fudge sundae, lol. Well we have been in our home for almost 10 years now and I love it even more. We have made some changes to the outside by adding new siding and the decorative ormolu at the three gables. The home was built in 1901. The home is a Victorian farmhouse, that after a long day at work it is so nice to come home and see our beautiful lady welcome us with open arms!
    Thank you again for all of your beautiful pictures and wonderful decorating advise. If you would ever come this way please feel free too stop by.
    Best wishes and older home love,

    1. Hello Helen!
      Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. Your home sounds absolutely lovely! The first house I ever owned was one of those Sears Catalog houses – built around 1920. Like you, I took one step inside and knew it was the house for me. We eventually outgrew it and that’s when we moved into a new construction home. I hated it! I would actually get depressed sometimes because the house had no soul. Needless to say, we didn’t stay there long. If you have a photo of your house and wouldn’t mind emailing it to me … I would love to see it! My family teases me because when we go on vacation all I want to do is explore neighborhoods that have old homes. LOL. And thank you so much for the invitation. I don’t know where Zanesville is exactly, but I may be attending the Country Living Fair in Columbus this year. I think it’s in September.

  20. I feel the same about old homes as you do, I’ve lived in several historic homes, and nothing else measures up. Enjoyed the tour so much.

  21. I was wondering if you would know where my grandparents house is in Geneva. It sat high on a hill and there was once a forest behind and corn fields all around. Cows in the field at one end of the property. Built around 1910, I believe. So much land around it that was being developed as I was growing. My last visit there was when I was 9 and now I am 64.
    Their names were Julia and Harry G White. Harry died when I was 10 and Julia a year later at her own hand. The Whites built many homes in the area. I have photos of several of them. I would be grateful if you have any news of this home as I do not have an address. I do have a photo of it that I could send.

    1. Hi Janice,

      Yes, please send the photo. If I can identify it I’ll take a picture of the house as it looks today! Thanks for reaching out – such an interesting story about your grandparents.