The Reddick Mansion Association – Ottawa, Illinois
The Mansion and grounds are open for tours. Learn about this local gem and become a member.
The Reddick Mansion Association is responsible for the historic preservation and restoration of the Reddick Mansion by adhering to acceptable restoration practices in conformance with adaptive public use.The Association will foster the use of the Reddick Mansion for the community’s cultural, educational, social, recreational experiences and other beneficial purposes.
Born in another country, facing adversity and hardship, Reddick overcomes obstacles and excels in his life through hard work and ingenuity. At his death he shares his fortune and projects his ethic to the community.William Reddick was born in Ireland in 1812. The Reddicks were part of the early settlement of Ottawa when they arrived in 1835.
Reddick elected to a few terms of Sheriff. He was elected and served as state senator in 1846, and again in 1870. He supported Stephen Douglas and accompanied him on the platform during the first Lincoln/Douglas debate in 1858. The debate was held in Washington Park in Ottawa, Illinois, located directly across from the Mansion.
William Reddick was well known in the business community. He operated a general store in Ottawa from 1854 until 1873. He was a member of a company chartered to build a hotel, president of the Illinois Bridge Company and one of the founders of the Ottawa Glass Works.
It is obvious that during his life he pursued many opportunities. He continued to expand his land holdings. He is said to have owned large farms in several townships. It was thru these activities that he amassed a considerable fortune. He had ambition to rise higher in the political structure, perhaps as governor or United States senator. It is with this ambition in mind that he planned his home to entertain and impress his contemporaries.
Mrs. Reddick preceded William in death by 2 years – July 5, 1883. William Reddick died March 8, 1885, and their adopted daughter Elizabeth Funk Reddick died February 22, 1887. Within a span of 4 years the William Reddick family ceased to exist.
William Reddick left his house as a gift to the City of Ottawa for use as a public library and reading room. Reddick’s home became known as “Reddick’s Library” and opened to the public on September 19, 1888. It served as the public library until 1975 when a combination of endowment and revenue sharing funds enabled construction of a larger facility that could accommodate the library’s growing collections.
After Reddick’s Library relocated to its present location, the future of the Reddick house was in doubt. The Reddick Mansion Association came into being as a result of a series of public meetings and the formation of a “Save Reddick’s Committee” in the spring and summer of 1974. The Corporation itself was chartered in 1974 and its management is carried on by a Board of Directors elected by the membership.
In January 1975, a study was performed by Dr. Paul Sprague, a historical preservation and urban conservation consultant, together with William B. Dring of Bauhs and Dring Architects and Planners. The objective of their study was to make recommendations for the continued administration of the building as a viable public building. In accordance with these recommendations, the Association has engaged in various fund raising projects for the historic restoration of the property and for the purchase of furnishings and artifacts. In recent years, despite the Association’s hope to make the mansion self-sufficient, fund raising has been necessary to meet the operating expenses.
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