Online Auction in 1007 S. Fourth Street, Effingham Illinois, United States

November 06th, 2013


Online Auction in 1007 S. Fourth Street, Effingham Illinois, United States

Wednesday at - 06th November , 2013


ABSOLUTELY SELLING WITH NO RESERVE! This historic gem has been fully restored - inside and out. It's as beautiful as any home you have paid to tour and not only can you own it - you can set your own price with Convenient Online Bidding. Do not miss the photos, the list of improvements and the historical information for this property. Join us on Sundays, Oct. 27 & Nov. 3 from 2 - 4 PM for an Open House and inspection.



Location has been calculated by address and may not be 100% accurate.

Auction Items For Sale




Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Everything - Even The Mansion 

Selling Regardless of Price!

with Convenient Online-Only Bidding OPEN NOW!


ca 1892; the Austin Mansion

I don't know if we've ever sold a home so unique; a home with so much history and amazing architectural features.  It has been an honor to represent these Sellers and offer at Absolute Auction this magnificent home, The Austin Mansion.  It was difficult to choose these few brief stats and although there are over 300 photographs attached, paring them down to these "few" and organizing them was also quite a job.  Take a few minutes and look through the information, photos, read the history under the "FILES" tab; then get another cup of coffee and look through them again - this, ladies and gentlemen, THIS is an opportunity that will never come along again.

*View "TERMS" above for complete information - only $25,000 earnest money deposit, then close within 30 days like any other real estate purchase.*

 Consider this your invitation to join us Sundays, Oct 27 & Nov 3  from 2 - 4 PM for a tour



  • 1892 Queen Anne Victorian with brick & brownstone from NY and Virginia
  • Excluding basement and attic, the home is 7134 sq feet on a 1.2 acre lot (9 city lots) at 55,474 sq feet
  • Wraparound porch, portico, walk-out balcony, covered arched porches, sun deck, sunroom addition
  • 3 car brick arched garage and storage, full basement 
  • Brick stamped and stained sidewalks, concrete driveways and parking 
  • 8 B&B guest rooms with adjoining bathrooms PLUS two 1/2 baths
  • 12 ft ceilings, gorgeous molding, woodwork and ceilings
  • Curved, stained and beveled glass everywhere!
  • Hardwood, parquet flooring, marble, carpeted floors
  • Furniture quality wainscoting, plantation shutters, fluted columns, berries and leaves carved stairway post, embroidered silk drapes 
  • All rooms with individual zoned thermostats, commercial sprinkler system
  • 7 fireplaces – 3 active gas, 3 piped for gas, 1 faux
  • 6 antique carved fireplace mantles – 4 have original antique tile, 2 with new marble surround, the 7th with cast iron gas stove
  • Viking appliances: 48" range, vent hood, dishwasher
  • Gourmet Kitchens: granite countertops, fabulous fixtures and cabinetry
  • Butler's kitchen with elegant built in lighted cabinets, 3rd floor kitchenette
  • Cedar lined master walk-in closet, magazine quality master bath 
  • Porches/Decks - wrap around front porch with drive-thru portico, arched brick covered south porch, 3rd floor south balcony, and rear sun deck
  • No maintenance handicap entrance and porch ceilings
  • Gazebo, established trees, Victorian garden, 800 ft picket fencing
  • Security system, driveway monitors, commercial internal sprinkler system, wired for broadband access, cable and phones in guest rooms 
  • Property is adjacent to historic 1880’s Bliss Park on Cobblestone Street
  • Home was featured on HGTV’s “If Walls Could Talk” – 2007 Oct and “This Old House” magazine – 2001 Nov
  • Home has a rich history including being the main building of the “Illinois College of Photography” from 1900 until 1931. This was the first international photography college of its kind in the world.  There were students from every state in the US, every province in Canada, and 52 foreign countries.

It is now time for a new chapter to be written in this history book for this grand home.   It could be a splendid residence with all renovating of the past glory and updating to the very best the modern world has to offer at a combined cost of over $1.5M and years of work – it is ready for you and just in time for Christmas.

*But if you have commercial interests & needs, Austin Mansion is also ready for:

  • A Fabulous 8 bedroom Bed and Breakfast
  • Easily Converted to luxury apartments
  • Would make an elegant restaurant
  • Upscale office complex – with luxury living upstairs
  • Church facility – Imagine the weddings!
  • Reception or Banquet Hall
  • Medical or law office
  • Photography studio
  • Private club facility
  • School or educational building
  • Funeral Home

​* Please note:  The zoning information and current allowed usage is in the "Files" section.  Please click on that tab to see the currently zoned usage definitions and descriptions.  Not all of the above are currently zoned for this property - any zoning changes would be up to the new owner.

RESTORATIONS AND IMPROVEMENTS:  The list is 5 pages long and with nearly $1.5M spent and decades of time and untold energy spent bringing this historic treasure to the move-in condition of today.  Everything - EVERYTHING - has been done for you. and BEAUTIFULLY done, at that.

Take a look for yourself! Click on the pictures below to view some groups of the featured photos.  There are even more in the "Photos" tab at left.





Floor Plans are available to view in the Files section or by clicking here.

PROPERTY DESCRIPTION:  On the only remaining cobblestone street in Effingham, IL, adjacent to the historic 1880’s Bliss Park and just blocks from historic downtown with its quaint shops stands a 3 story 7,134sf Queen Anne Victorian mansion behind a white picket fence on a manicured 1.2 acre lot.  The best and most beautiful of the 1892 home has been lovingly preserved; the conveniences and modernizations have all been added.  Everywhere you look is the very best of both – and here is the part everyone is looking for:  IT HAS ALL BEEN DONE FOR YOU.  This preserved jewel of a home was featured on HGTV’s “If These Walls Could Talk” in Oct. 2007 and in This Old House” magazine in Nov. 2001.      

Not only are we offering the unique perfection of the old bones of the home: 7,134sf (not including full basement and attic), 8 bedrooms, 8 full bathrooms, 2 half bathrooms, 7 fireplaces, antique carved mantles, 12 ft ceilings, hardwood and marble floors, some inlaid flooring, ornate hand carved wood work, curved glass windows in turrets, stained glass, ceiling medallions, wainscoting, thick crown molding, 11” base boards, fluted casing, rosettes throughout,  huge pocket doors with oak on one side and cherry on the other, beveled transoms, furniture quality wood paneling, wrap-around porch, walk out balconies, drive through portico– the list just does not stop…

Then add the newer features:  Viking appliances and granite countertops in both gourmet kitchens, incredible built-in china cabinet in Butler's Kitchen (Wait, did she say "Butler's Kitchen"?  Yes.  Yes she did.), Much of it stainless steel and brushed nickel, zoned heating and cooling system with individual room thermostats, sunroom addition with extra tall vaulted ceiling and sundeck in rear, all updated baths, newer carpets, period style ceiling tiles, plantation shutters, updated plumbing – wiring – 4 AC units – 4 furnaces with bypass systems –  water heaters and recirculation system - insulation – security – roofing – commercial sprinkler system – wired for broadband access – 3rd floor guest lounge/game room with kitchenette including cherry cabinetry – everything – EVERYTHING has been done.

Wait, we haven’t even gotten outside yet – I will get to the grounds and the gardens next, but first…. The gorgeous gingerbread detailed gazebo with ceiling fan and lights, stamped and stained brick sidewalks all the way around, 3 car brick garage and attic, deep porches and brick arches,  handicap access ramp, 2 iron horse head hitching posts, porch finials, 1800’s brass door knocker, concrete porch floors, maintenance free porch ceiling, 800 feet of white stained 4’high wood picket fencing, new guttering, concrete driveways and ample commercial parking, original raised sunburst, basement walk-out door, frost-proof faucets, numerous outdoor electrical outlets – that brings me to the grounds and the gardens:

Under the huge, stately oaks there are beautiful carpets of manicured lawns swirling around the magazine-quality, brick lined flower gardens and mature shrubs.  Walk through the arbor, to the Victorian garden surrounded by maintenance free white picket fencing.  It doesn’t matter the time of year, the grounds are spectacular.  The house looks just as inviting dusted with snow and twinkling with Christmas lights as it does with roses and hydrangeas blooming. 

People who appreciate incredible, century-old architectural details that cannot be replicated today with all of our modern tools and technology sometimes dream of living in a home like the ones they pay to tour – to return to the graciousness of a turn of the century mansion and dream of living a life with the best of both but few feel they can handle the project on their own.  But at 1007 South 4th Street in Effingham, IL on 9 city lots it has all been done for you, inside and out; bringing it to the perfectly inspired blend of the historical and the modern convenience by families with a passion for preservation of a rich piece of Effingham, Illinois history and all you need to do is set your own price and move in.  The property is ready for anything; with a bathroom for every bedroom and then some, it could be a bed and breakfast, apartments, an office building, or your new/old fabulous home.  P. S.  Christmas is going to be GREAT this year!! 

HISTORY:  Please don't miss the complete history in the "FILES" section, which includes an outline of the history of this property, photographs of the home - inside and out - over a century old, cabinet cards/picture postcards, photos of previous owners, and other memories that the previous owners have spent decades compiling.  Because this home was a School of Photography in the very early 1900's, there are many photos of the property.  On the walls in the mansion are framed copies of dozens of photos of the property, photos of members of the original Austin family who built the home, multiple photos of the school of photography days, and photos and a caricature of Lewis Bissell, the owner and president of the Illinois College of Photography, that will stay with the house for the new owner.  

PHOTOS:  There are so many pictures that we had to organize the photos in a way that would not be overwhelming.  We've separated the rooms by floors and have icons to represent each group of photos.  Please, take the time to look through them.  Personally, I saw the photos before I visited the house and thought it could never look as good as these photos.  Now, I can honestly tell you, the home itself is much more beautiful than these pictures can show.


We Are Also Selling




Ending 8PM on WED. NOV. 6

See the photos and bid by click 


Real estate property tax information is under the "Files" section tab.  Please click on that link to view the Effingham County Real Estate Tax bill for 2012.

NEW INFO:  We have been asked several questions about the process for payment of the real estate.  The complete terms are under the tab at the top marked "TERMS".  But, basically, the winning bidder would be emailed a contract to print, sign and return by fax or email (or in person) by noon the next day and also provide a $25,000 earnest money deposit that will be held in escrow of the closing agent until closing.  Closing would be within 30 days and be just like any other closing.  2013 taxes would be paid by the Seller up until the date of closing (which would be almost all of 2013).  The process is really just like a traditional brokerage transaction except for the process of the Buyer being able to set their own price.

NEW INFO:  We have been asked about the utilities, unfortunately, we don't have a clear cut answer for that because this is not your usual home and there are so many variables, but will pass on what we do know:  All of the bedrooms are zoned individually for heat and cooling (the house was set up to be a B&B).  Also, entire floors can be closed off.  The current sellers had a small family and never ran it as a B&B.  They kept most of if closed off so any utility amounts I quote will be low.  However, the owners previous to the current Sellers have said their average utility bill when they ran it as a B&B for all 3 floors was $669.00 per month - that was almost 10 years ago.  Since there is no way to know how many rooms or entire floors the new owners will use or close off - we are not able to quote utility amounts the new owners can expect.  We are certainly not wanting to be vague, but we just do not have the utility information.  I just received the following from the Sellers this morning, Nov. 3:

"Right now the combined heating and cooling Ameren bill averages about $250/month.  We run AC in the Summer, in addition to Winter heating. We maintain heating and cooling year round,  to properly preserve and maintain the sprinkler/piping and woodwork."