Tri States Public Radio Staff
Old Bailey House Restoration
Sun June 24, 2012
Macomb Teacher & Vocational Students Honored
One of the reunions held in Macomb during Heritage Days weekend centered around a 125-year old house.
The McDonough County Historic Preservation Society brought together the West Central Illinois Vocational Area Center students who rehabilitated the Old Bailey House in the early-to-mid-1980s under the direction of teacher Lloyd W. “Charlie” Miller.
The students were from the Macomb, Bushnell-Prairie City, Colchester, Hamilton, Hancock Central, Northwestern, Plymouth, and Roseville School Districts.
Plaques were given to those former students and Miller was honored during the reception, which took place at the Old Bailey House.
“He (Miller) was patient enough and had the drive -- the drive was the main thing -- to push people and get the job done,” said Curt Eddington, who worked on the house in 1983-84. “It's pretty amazing. He's a pretty amazing man.
Vocational students had built 11 houses under Miller's guidance before the Historic Preservation Society asked him about restoring the Old Bailey House. The house was donated to the group in 1982.
Miller said the house had been owned by engineer and lawyer Bill Collins, who used it as a warehouse and office.
“He had airplane parts. He had bought and stored in that house books and materials and furniture from three different old-time lawyers of Macomb,” Miller said. “The downstairs floor was just full of bookcases floor to eight foot high.”
Miller said the students worked on just about everything in and on the house with the exception of replacing the roof and painting the upper reaches outside.
Miller takes pride in what the students accomplished and in what they've become since they were in the vocational program all those years ago.
“Finding something that they can hang onto, something that they can do, it's a great feeling,” Miller said.
The Old Bailey House was built by William S. Bailey, who was the founder and first president of Union National Bank.
Today, the house is used for wedding receptions, parties, and other special events -- and it could soon receive wider recognition.
Historic Preservation Society President Randy Powell said the group will make its case to the state on Friday, June 29 for designating the Old Bailey House a National Historic Place. The presentation will be given by Preservation Society Board Member Kent Slater, who is credited with coming up with the idea for the reunion between Miller and the Old Bailey House vocational students.