The Martin-Boismenue House is an excellent example of the architectural style known as French Creole. Few buildings of vertical timber construction remain, making the house one of the oldest structures of its kind in Illinois. It is believed that Canadian-born Pierre Martin built the house as early as 1790. The Boismenue family were later owner-occupants.
Considered a typical Creole dwelling, two rooms are found on the first floor: the largest room, the parlor, or salle, was the multipurpose living area, while the sleeping room, or chambre, was a more private space. The broad open porches, or galeries, on the front and back of the house are a common feature of Creole design. They provided additional living space and served to protect the timber and stone walls from the elements. Though small, the building was home to domestics and the owner's extended family.
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Local preservationists discovered the Martin-Boismenue house when the owner began demolition. Later additions had completely encapsulated the vertical timber, two-room house and modern siding had obscured the log construction.
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The house contains a stone cooking fireplace situated in a half basement, or souterrain, a rarity among similar structures that may reflect the prosperity of the owners. The basement
likely functioned as a work space and living quarters as well.