123 South 3rd Street (View on map)
Image credit: St. Charles Public Library
One of the many hotels that existed in St. Charles from the 1830s to 1910, the Howard House Hotel is one of the few that remains relatively intact. The north section, built in the 1840s by Joel Witherell, served as the original hotel. Two years later, Leonard and David Howard bought the building, raised its roof and added the south section. A pillared wrap-around porch trimmed the combination Federal and Greek Revival style building.
During its heyday, the hotel played host to holiday parties and military balls. It served as housing for members of the 8th Illinois Cavalry during the time the soldiers were in training at Camp Kane. Mrs. Lincoln stayed here for a time following the assasination of her husband in April, 1865. Under the alias of "Mrs. May," she often frequented the Howard home in search of spiritual guidance from Mrs. Caroline Howard.
Although the Howard House Hotel served as a hotel for many years, it has changed ownership many times and has served several other purposes as well.
The building owner, Creative Assistance Development, Inc., renovated the apartments in 2005. At that time, the signature porch, long missing from the building, was restored. After the renovations, the City of St. Charles granted the old hotel building landmark status.
For additional photographs see:
Then and Now
Reflections of St. Charles p 92
Celebrating History p 40