Martin-Boismenue House, a traditional one-story French Creole residence
built ca. 1790, is considered one of the oldest surviving residences
in Illinois. The builder utilized the French poteau sur solle (“post-on-sill”)
technique, in which squared-log outer walls rest upright on a log
sill mounted on a stone foundation. Galeries, or broad porches common
in French Creole architecture, are on the building’s north
and south sides.
The “restored” building’s first floor consists
of two sparsely finished rooms, each containing a fireplace for
heating. An enclosed staircase leads to a large attic. The half-basement,
accessible by a staircase under the south galerie, contains a third
fireplace, likely used for cooking. In 1989 the home was placed
on the National Register of Historic Places.
Visitors are guided through the building, including the attic and
cellar. Tours emphasize the history of the building and preservation
efforts, construction technique, and the Martins as a typical farm
family. The building is not accessible to persons with disabilities.