Villa Kathrine, 532 Gardner Expressway, Quincy, Adams County, IL
2016 Charles E. Peterson Prize, Entry
Significance: Villa Kathrine was built in 1900 for W. George Metz, the son of a weathy Quincy, Illinois, businessman. Metz hired Quincy architect George Behrensmeyer to design a home based on Mediterranean villas he had seen in his travels. The exterior in particular is modeled after the Villa ben Ahben in Morocco. Behrensmeyer achieved the house's distinctive style using local materials and labor. The millwork incorporates Classical and Romanesque detailing in the interior. Metz lived in the Villa alone with his dog, Bingo, and would host elaborate parties on the roof terrace for his friends and family when he wasn't traveling. In 1912, Metz sold the house, and it remained vacant for many years and had numerous owners. Quincy businessman Archibald Behrens, acting for the Quincy and Western Illinois Railway, took ownership and planned to use the property for a railroad yard. However, in 1917 the rail project failed and the house was rented out to tenants and fell into decay. After 1928, the house stood empty for nearly a decade.
In 1978, the "Friends of the Castle" was formed as a support group to further restore the Villa Kathrine. The City of Quincy, the Federal Highway Administration, the Illinois Department of Transportation, and the Quincy Park District developed a program for the Villa as a tourist center. Waterkotte Construction completed the first phase of this restoration in 1986, which included restoration of the exterior, the construction of public restrooms, a driveway, and a parking lot. Bergman Nurseries replanted the grounds in 1987, selecting shrubs of near-Eastern origin. In 1993, the Illinois Department of Transportation funded an exterior renovation, and the reworking of mechanical and electrical systems. The interior was also returned to its original plan and appearance, including the reconstruction of the interior reflecting pool. The furnishings and artifacts were obtained in 2010, and an endowment fund was established in 2011 for future restoration and maintenance. As of 2016, the Tourist Information Center For Quincy, Illinois, is located in Villa Kathrine. It is still maintained by "Friends of the Castle" and is operated by a group of volunteers.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: N2205
Survey number: HABS IL-338
Building/structure dates: 1900 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1939 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: after 1951 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1976 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1986 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1993 Subsequent Work
National Register of Historic Places NRIS Number: 78001110