Archer House

We can drive 60 miles per hour on US 40 today. But when the National Road was new in the late 1830s, the fastest traffic might cover 60 miles in a day, and only if you traveled by stagecoach. Conestoga wagons could count on covering only about 15 miles in a day. So inns appeared every 10 to 15 miles along major 1800s roads to provide travelers with food and lodging.

Many old inns still stand along the National Road, and among them is the Archer Inn in Marshall, Illinois. William Archer, a contemporary and friend of Abraham Lincoln, not only founded Marshall but built this inn. It was completed in in 1841. Old Abe even stayed here a time or two. The building was a hotel for a very long time before becoming an elder care facility, a dinner theater, and finally a bed and breakfast. But now it’s vacant.

History, Photography, Preservation, Road Trips

Captured: The Archer House

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6 thoughts on “Captured: The Archer House

  1. Your posts about Marshall make me wish I had explored the place more when I used to have to go down there. The main thing I remember from those trips is that the drive from Paris to Marshall on route 1 is beautiful in the Fall. Did you ever read Mark Twain’s account of a stagecoach trip from Kansas to Nevada? It was an express stagecoach in 1861. The trip was 1700 miles in 20 days. That was considered very fast at the time.

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    • Wow, 85 miles per day! Blistering speed!

      I’ve never driven that segment of Route 1. I’ve been on it near Chrisman, where my stepson’s dad’s family is from, and that’s about it. I see several old alignments, some abandoned, on Google Maps; perhaps 1 is worth a road trip someday.

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  2. Janice says:

    I grew up in Clark County and student taught in Marshall. I’m sorry to hear the Archer House is empty again. Hopefully someone will purchase it someday. Does Illinois have a Preservation/Endangered list?

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    • I believe Landmarks Illinois keeps an endangered list, and that the Archer House has been on it before, but isn’t at the moment. I’m not sure how long the B&B that was in here has been closed, and whether the owner is at least keeping the place minimally maintained. But it’s sure a shame to see the building not being used.

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  3. Ward Fogelsanger says:

    I hope the Archer House is preserved. My home town Casey through fire or dumbness has lost some of their best buildings. The Lyric Theatre and Ohio Oil Company building were lost to fire.m The really magnificent 1907 city hall on north central was torn down and replaced with a one story metal building that while modern and cheaper to maintain is certainly underwhelming. It was built during the oil boom of the early 1900’s.

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