Heald House

 

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Darius Heald and his daughters entertained many visitors in the front parlor.

When the O’Fallon Community Foundation was formed in 1998, they adopted the preservation of the Darius Heald House in Fort Zumwalt Park as their first project. Foundation members worked with the Board of Aldermen and City staff to restore this historic home, which is now available for all to enjoy.

Heald House is open for visitors on most Sundays during the months of April through September.

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Darius Heald, son of Nathan and Rebekah Heald, is perched on the wagon in front of Stony Point, the home he built in the mid-1880s.

If your group or organization would like to use Heald House for a meeting or special occasion, or if you wish to arrange a group tour, contact Marsha Seymour at the City of O'Fallon Parks and Recreation Department at 636 379-5502.

The Heald House Story

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Darius Heald, 1822-1904

Darius Heald was born in Jacob Zumwalt's homestead fort on Jauary 27, 1822.  His parents, Nathan and Rebekah Heald, had purchased the property from Jacob Zumwalt for $1000 in 1817.  Nathan and Rebekah's three daughters all died before the age of twenty-two but their only son, Darius, lived in the old Zumwalt cabin for most of his life.

In 1884 at the age of 62, Darius built an imposing brick home near the old homestead Fort which he named "Stony Point."  Laurent Torno Jr., a local architect renowned for historic preservation, described the original house as "German-Italianate-Victorian."  The home is a big farmhouse, "basically German in its severity," says Torno.  Although the Healds were not German immigrants, many builders and craftsmen in the area were.

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Rebekah Wells Heald, Fort Dearborn survivor and wife of Nathan Heald.

The house has a hipped roof, similar to other 19th century brick buildings in downtown O'Fallon.  In photos of the original house, the Italian influence could be seen in the details of the supporting columns of the porch and the railing on the balcony.  When it was finished in the 1880's, the house must have seemed like a palace to Darius Heald, compared to the log cabin he'd lived in for 62 years.

Torno noted some unusual features of the house such as the graining, or painting of the interior woodwork to resemble more expensive wood.  Secondly, the Healds burned coal instead of wood in their fireplaces.  German immigrants, who came from an area where wood was very precious, thought wood burning was wasteful. 

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The Heald Home, nearly destroyed by tornado in 1915.

Darius Heald passed away in 1904 at the age of eighty-three. In 1915, the upper story of the house was destroyed by a tornado.  The family began the rebuilding process by gathering bricks blown into the yard and when it was repaired, the house stood about 12 inches shorter than when it was first built.  Darius' descendants sold the property in 1916 and over the years, it had a number of owners.  Eventually the house fell into disrepair until the City of O'Fallon and the O'Fallon Community Foundation restored it in 2001.  You can learn more about the entire Heald Family by visiting the Reading Room.

Portions of the above were taken from the brochure, "The Darius Heald Home," City of O'Fallon.

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Heald House, renovated in 2001.