Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Why The Train Inn?

Got curious as to why the Train Inn was viewed as a historic property and city planner Chris Wallace was kind enough to send me the staff report:

Paul Lewers has submitted the required petition for the nomination of The Train Inn located at 406
East Stoker, to the Carbondale Register of Historic Places.
The Preservation Commission is required to conduct a public hearing to hear testimony from the
owner, staff, other interested parties, expert witnesses and any written comments submitted prior to
or during the hearing. The Commission shall make a Finding of Fact with regard to the criteria for
nomination, the district boundaries, and the design guidelines, and shall also make a
recommendation to the City Council. The nomination is then reviewed by the City Council and
approved by ordinance if the designation is granted.
Attached for the Commission's review are the proposed district boundaries (Exhibit A), the
Preservation District Nomination Form for the property, and photos of the subject property.
The Train Inn located at 406 East Stoker Street is one of the few surviving home’s located in Block
4 of Hester and Stoker’s addition. The subdivision was platted in 1902 by a Mr. George Kennedy,
Jr., and construction of new homes began shortly thereafter. The Train Inn was constructed in 1905
as part of the Arts and Crafts movement. The Arts and Crafts movement was the first phase of the
modern movement (1900-1940) in domestic architecture in the United States. The home is an
excellent example of the Craftsman Style, inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement, which began
in Southern California around 1903 and quickly spread. Due to the age of the home it was certainly
one of the earliest examples of the Craftsman style in Carbondale. According to the owner, around
1960 Southern Illinois University offered each home owner on the block $10,000 for their property.
Mr. Vernon Biggs, the owner at the time, was the only home owner to refuse the offer. Thus leaving
what would become a great example of American architecture.
The home contains wood clapboard siding, an asphalt shingle roof, and the exposed front porch
typically associated with the Craftsman style. On the inside the home maintains the original tongue
and groove walls with a refurbished Mission Style oak staircase. The interior was refinished by
exposing the original interior wood, and refinishing without the use of paint or overlaying material.
A.) Criteria For Designation:
The property satisfies the following criteria for designation (Section 15-2D-1.D of the
Preservation District regulations):
d. Its embodiment of distinguishing characteristics of an architectural and/or landscape
style valuable for the study of a period, type, method of construction or use of
indigenous materials;
f. Its overall embodiment of elements of design, detailing, materials or craftsmanship
which renders it architecturally significant;
h. Its unique location or singular physical characteristics that makes it an established or
familiar visual feature.
B.) Proposed District Boundaries:
The proposed Landmark District includes property commonly referred to as 406 East Stoker
Street, as outlined in Exhibit A.
C.) Recommended Design Standards:
The Nomination and Hardship Review Committee's recommended Design Standards for The
Train Inn at 406 East Stoker Street are as follows:
1. U.S. Secretary of Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation.
2. Architectural Preservation Guidelines (City of Carbondale, 1996)
1) Staff recommends the Preservation Commission accept the Findings of Fact as
described in Parts A, B, and C of the staff report.
2) Staff recommends that the Preservation Commission recommend approval of PD 07-
02, The Train Inn, as a Landmark District on the Carbondale Register of Historic

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