Through the decades, this exceptionally beautiful, Italianate mansion has claimed public attention. First as a private home, then a public library and presently as public offices, a meeting center, and an exhibit of select period rooms restored to their previous grandeur of 1875.
Commissioned in 1855 by central Illinois businessman and politician, William Reddick, the splendid mansion was the home of the Reddick family for nearly 30 years. In accordance with Reddick's wishes upon his death in 1885, the mansion became the library for the City of Ottawa.
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 first library board was composed of Milton Swift, M. Kneussel, William J. Dwyer, Thomas D. Catlin, William Graham, Benjamin Hess, J. C. Hatheway, Thomas MacKinley and David Cook.
Miss L. F. Macy was the first librarian to be employed by this new board and her assistant was Miss Nellie D. Nash. Miss Nash was the grandmother of Eleanor McClevey, an early and ardent supporter of the preservation and restoration of the mansion in 1974.
Many changes were made during the period that the building was the city library. Walls were removed and some added. Stacks were added where the need was envisioned. Even the fence surrounding the home was sold. In the course of restoration, the fence has been replaced with a combination of the original fence and reproduction based on a pattern from the original. The fence detail is only available to members of the Reddick Mansion Association who must first log-in to view the pages restricted to "members only."
Another interesting "history" of the changes made to the Reddick Mansion during the time span that it was used as a public library is a report complied from the minutes of the meetings of the Reddick Library Board. This report, completed in 2009 for the RMA, was the meticulous and time-consuming efforts of David Mumper. The report lists the changes, over the period from 11 April 1885 to 13 January 1975, made to the building complex. The report is only available to members of the Reddick Mansion Association who must first log-in to view it. Current RMA members may procede directly to the location of the link to this report which is found by clicking here.
When the public library moved to new location, the deed for the property was signed over to the city. 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.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Sites, the mansion remains open to the public as an historical landmark. The mansion is also utilized as public offices and meeting center. Several non-profit community organizations have office space within the mansion. This income helps to offset the costs of maintaining and restoring the building according to the specifications set down in the Sprague Adaptive Use Study (for detailed information, click here).
Meeting and reception rooms are also available. Informative tours of the mansion and grounds are available through the Reddick Mansion Association's docent committee. Individuals and groups are encouraged to arrange a tour or make meeting/reception room reservations by contacting via phone at 815-433-6100, mail or emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Reddick Mansion Association
P.O. Box 563
Ottawa, Illinois 61350