Home of Mrs. Walter Best

Updated: Sep 12, 2021


514 S Main St Hillsboro Illinois

514 South Main Street

Hillsboro, Illinois


Mrs. Best’s home was built in 1958 by the late Bertha Root Kinkead. Mrs. Best’s cousin. This lovely brick home is built on the site of the old William Brewer home, a Hillsboro landmark for many years. Many of the furnishings are heirlooms from the families of Mrs. Best and Mrs. Kinkead.


Beginning at the entranceway, the corner whatnot was owned by Mrs. Best’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Taylor Phipps of Coffeen. The love seat and chair are also family pieces. The handsome, green glass lustre on the chest was acquired by Mrs. Best.


Moving on to the living room, the small walnut bench near the steps was brought from Connecticut many years ago by Mrs. Kinkead's ancestors. The magnificent 12' x 20' rug in the living room was hand made in China. It is said that a family of six persons will work a lifetime to produce such a rug. There is a similar rug in the dining room and several smaller Oriental rugs throughout the house.


On your left as you enter the living room, note the blue and white upholstered tete-a-tete seat from Mrs. Best's family. It is thought to be 175 years old. Over the fireplace is a sampler worked in 1833 by an ancestor of Mrs. Kinkead. The tall brass lamp with glass shade was acquired by Mrs. Best from the home of Mr. Good, the first manager of the old Coffeen mine. The brass candlesticks were brought from Connecticut by Mrs. Kinkead's father, Edward Root. The beautiful needlepoint upholstery on furniture throughout the house was made by both Mrs. Best and Mrs. Kinkead.


As you leave the living room, the family room is on your left. This interesting room was originally a patio between the two wings of the house. Later, it was enclosed and roofed. The windows were removed and shelves installed at that time. At the far end of the room is an unusual platform rocker from the Phipps family. As you leave the room, note on your left the ''beehive'' clock and, on your right, a white birch table made for Mrs. Taylor Phipps when she was a bride in 1894. Walter Best's mother, Mrs. Louis Best of Bunker Hill, started housekeeping in 1880 with the two chairs on either side of the table.


There are several interesting items on the marble shelf in the hallway, including a hand painted urn and a cross brought to Mrs. Best from Ethiopia by her granddaughter, Kathryn Bard. The bow-front china cabinet was acquired by Mrs.

Best many years ago. Many of the contents are family heirlooms.


In the hallway between the bedrooms, the antique table and chair are family pieces.


The relatively simple furniture in the dining room allows attention to focus on the beautiful rug. The decorative pieces on the sideboard were purchased abroad by Mrs. Kinkead.


In the kitchen, the two walnut drop leaf tables are antique, as are many of the dishes on display. The walnut whatnot on the wail was brought from Connecticut many years ago, as was the mirrored piece on the wall in the utility room.


In the 1970's the Historical Society had home tour each year. This article is from a hand out visitors received when they toured this home.

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Jeff Dunn

Vice President

Historical Society of

Montgomery County

Advisory Board

Illinois State

Historical Society