“Belleville, Illinois, Illustrated”

Published by the Reid-Fitch Publishing Company in St. Louis in 1905, the ‘Belleville Illinois Illustrated’ book is a fantastic depiction of Victorian life in Belleville.

It features text and photos of all the prominent businesses, structures, and homes in Belleville while also providing a little bit of history.

I was so excited to find not one but TWO photos of The Brick and Maple!!

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Zooming in, it’s incredible to be able to see old stained glass windows, the original porch, the horse hitching post, and how much land they owned before selling the neighboring parcel around 1919. This is also likely the personal horse and carriage of the Romeiser Family. By searching old Sanborn fire maps, we know there was a carriage house constructed with the home in 1887. According to stories from neighbors, it may have stood even up until the 1990s. It looks as if Peter Romeiser himself is sitting in the carriage! 

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The entire digital version of the book is available online and is a fun way to spend a chilly Friday morning! Check it out here!

~The Brick and Maple Family

Music Room Facelift!

Because Pinterest is really French for “You Can’t Sit Still,” I am constantly taunted by exquisite home decor pins. When I stumbled upon one of a room painted Hague blue, I just knew I had to had to HAD TO have one of my own.

I’d been toying around with the idea of redoing our computer and music room so when we de-Christmased and I was staring at an awkwardly empty bay window, I knew now was the best time.

Check out the space before:


It was perfectly functionally but a bit… boring. There was no spice, no flavor, nothing bold. I didn’t feel like I’d injected any personality into the room whatsoever.

But now? Ohhhhh NOW it is warm and pulled together and cohesive and I am SO happy I went with such a bold color.

Enjoy these after shots!

I used Sherwin William’s Showcase ultra deep base paint-and-primer in “Narragansett Navy” and updated the radiators with Rustoleum’s Hammered Copper.


Design accents came from Target (their Project 62 line is to die for! Lamp, side table, and succulent are all Project 62), TJMaxx (throw, gold photo frame, and yellow flowers) and Amazon (rug, Persian Rugs Distressed 4620; shelf, Yaheetech). All the other design elements are antiques that I’ve collected over the years. The National Geographic Magazines belong to my great-grandmother Jennie and are all from the 1950s!


I am so beyond pleased with how this turned out… I can’t stop staring!!!


Let us know in the comments below… what’s your favorite feature?!

Note: I have no affiliate relationships with any of the stores or brands mentioned in this post!

Til next time,

The Brick and Maple Family ❤️

If Walls Could Talk…

Earlier this week Husband found our first artifact of any real note! In the walls of the 3rd floor, we’ve found things like a pair of pants, an old broom handle, a single baby shoe. (Which isn’t creepy AT ALL…) But this is different and special and OLD.

Monday Hubs was crawling around with our son just poking around the house. The lower half of the wall all around the 3rd floor is wainscoting and there are little doors throughout that open onto a perimeter crawl space, just wide enough to explore.

They found this old bottle!

In doing research (mainly through this edoc from the Society of Historical Archaeology), we discovered this is an old soda bottle from the Belleville Glass Company. The A. Koob (and A.K initials on the bottom) stand for August Koob Soda Works.

Belleville Glass Company was founded (under the Belleville Glass Works umbrella) in 1882 by your Belleville big-hitters. Locals (and readers of some past posts) will recognize these names: J. Eimer, J. Fuess, F. Sunkel and E. Abend. The new firm issued 250 shares of stock at $100 each and by November 1882, the plant was churning out 14,000 bottles a day. These bottles were used for soda and beer.

By 1886, the plant would be purchased by Adolphus Busch of Anheuser-Busch fame. Our bottle bears the A. Koob engraving which points a bit to the year it was made. Now, there’s not a ton of info out there but we did find a document that states that Koob purchased the soda works from Louis Abegg in 1879 and operated it until he died in 1888.

So Koob brand soda was bottled using Belleville Glass Company bottles and this would have had to have happened sometime between 1882 (when the glass company was made) and 1888 (when the soda company was sold). Since our house was built in 1887 and we found this up on the 3rd floor, perhaps it was a refreshment for some hardworking home builder?

An exact version of this bottle sold on eBay for $31 whole dollars. We’re rolling now, y’all! Obviously we’ll never sell this but will happily display it in the home we so lovingly occupy.

Til next time,
The Brick and Maple Family ❤

Help Wanted!

Wow…! Talk about being woefully behind on my posting schedule. Life has been absolutely crazy!

My last post was about the Belleville Luminary Walk and it turned out to be a HUGE success! We had well over 500 people come and tour the house between 5-9pm, then afterwards we went to a neighbor’s house for the after party. After nonstop planning, decorating, and cleaning for what felt like weeks, we finally sunk into our beds at about midnight.

The craziness didn’t stop there, though… because we had secretly been planning a vacation for our two sons and had to be at the airport at 7am the next morning. We took a Christmas trip to Universal Studios in Florida to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. After the insanity of getting ready for the Luminary Walk, it was nice to have some family time in the Sunshine State. Our 5 days there flew by and then it was time to come home.

After our trip, life didn’t necessarily calm down. I hosted book club, we had Christmas, the next day my Grandma (Christmas Carol to our boys!) flew in from Michigan, the day she left we hosted family from Arkansas for New Year’s, and then the day they left we ended up a sick house with strep and ear infections. We are only just now recovered and back to the grind of school. Things haven’t slowed down and so that’s my excuse. Life has gotten in the way of posting.

Which brings me to my point… these two Help Wanted adverts from lady of the house Elise Romeiser. She posted for help with cooking and laundry in 1908 and then again in 1912. That’s a girl after my own heart right there.


Bees Laxative? …as sick as we were, I’d try it. I’d have tried anything.


So who’s moving in to do my laundry for $5 a week? That’s about all we could afford too, Elise!

There will be a longer update coming soon… I just had to pop in and say a quick hello! I hope your holidays were memorable and you’re living your best life in 2018!

Stay sweet,
The Brick and Maple Family ❤

3rd Annual Old Belleville Historical Luminary Walk


On Saturday, December 9th, from 5-9pm, the historic brick streets of Abend and Garfield in Belleville, Illinois, will be lit with hundreds of luminaries as this special holiday tradition takes place. The streets will be closed off from cars so that you can enjoy these beautiful homes, all lit up in their holiday splendor, from a unique perspective.

Luminaries will light the route and extend up the sidewalks of a few homes that will be open to tour. For this week’s post, I’m going to feature the museums and homes that will be open… one of which is (drum roll please!) OUR home! If you’ve ever wanted to come tour The Brick and Maple for free, this will be your chance!

This is just a quick slideshow of the homes and museums open. More information and historical importance will be available AT these locations during the tour.

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Also open is 509 Garfield Street, the Winker house, built sometime around 1876. You can follow this home’s adventure over on Instagram at @historicrevival 24312811_2061493974070319_2362765819503435222_n

Enjoy warming stations throughout, refreshments at select locations, and jolly old St. Nicholas roaming about! And for the kids, each destination has a “Hidden Lincoln” for the kids to find and get a passport stamp.

As always, remember these are our neighbors homes. If you enter a home, feel free to ask questions but please be respectful. We are just a local group of history fanatics, passionate about the stories our homes have to tell. We are HAPPY to answer your questions but ask you understand if there’s an area roped or closed off to the public.

Remember that the homes that are open will have luminaries leading up their walkway– these are the only homes that are open! 😀

A lot of hard work has gone into this event and we are so excited to see you on Saturday. Use this as a reason to enjoy ALL our quaint, adorable downtown has to offer. Restaurants, shops, and our awesome German Christmas Market at the public square. Don’t forget, the Luminary Walk is TOTALLY free! We will have donation buckets at the open houses, though, for the Belleville Historical Society. Not required by any means.

Don’t let the cold keep you away this weekend. Bundle up and come enjoy Belleville!


My next post will be alllllll about Christmas decorations. You won’t want to miss it! So hit subscribe, follow, or get sneak peeks on our Instagram, @thebrickandmaple!

Lots of love and tidings of great joy,
The Brick and Maple family


As y’all know, my husband and I have been tirelessly researching the Romeiser family for months. We want to honor this house and the family as much as possible and feel like telling their stories is the best way to do that. Unfortunately, there’s just not a lot out there and not a lot of lineage left to ask.

So, in my searches on Ancestry and beyond, I’ve decided to spread the search out to extended family members: aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. to see what I might be able to stumble upon. I started with the matriarch, Elise Hilgard Romeiser‘s, branch of the family tree.

She was born and raised here in St. Clair County and had several siblings. Her sister, Anna, married Edward Abend and lived directly next door. When comparing a portrait of Anna to one of Elise, you can absolutely see the family resemblance.



It’s simply undeniable!

In searching for information on Anna, I found the most exciting photo yet. The owner of the photo (the person who uploaded it to Ancestry) knows nothing about the photo besides the caption and the identity of the youngest person in the photo. Check it out:

Abend family reunion 1903 - EWA small child in white front rowThe caption is “Family Reunion Abend, Easter 1908.” Now, could this mean Abend family reunion? Or family reunion ON Abend? Given the fact that the sisters were neighbors and close, I fully believe that this is an extended family photo and that it includes at least two Romeiser daughters… and everyone showing off their Easter Eggs! 😀

In 1908, Roland would have already passed away and (at this point), Petranella was already institutionalized. (Wondering what I’m referencing? Read about their stories here and here!) The eldest son, Theodore, was already out of the house. That leaves Emma Romeiser, Corona (we’ve yet to tell you her story!), and two younger sons Edwin and Alvin.

Now, this is purely speculation given that the only identity we’re sure of is that of young Edward Abend Jr (seated on the lap of the girl in the white dress. He would have been three.), I truly feel in my heart that we are looking at a photo of Anna, their third sister Emilie, and Elise, Emma, and Corona, and that they are all standing in the yard of either The Brick and Maple, or the Abend house next door.


I believe Emma is far right, almost next to her mother wearing black (could she still be in mourning over Roland and Petra?)… and perhaps Corona is the one behind her looking directly at the camera. In 1908, Emma would have been 28, Corona 21, Elise 59, and Anna 71. Could Edwin (aged 24) be standing next to Corona (wearing the hat)? Is it possible that the youngest Romeiser, Alvin (aged 15), is seated on the far left? It may be a stretch… but maybe it’s not.

The 1910 census lists Emilie as a resident of the house as well, so it stands to reason that she could have lived here in 1908 and simply stepped out with the rest of her family to snap this photo on Easter. Could Peter Romeiser be the photographer? Perhaps we’ll never know. But for now, I’m feeling like maybe someday we’ll find more hints about life here at The Brick and Maple over a century ago.

Til next time!
The Brick and Maple Family

Bringing the Stairs to Life

Prepare yourselves for about 7,000 pictures of our staircase… We are REALLY thrilled with how it turned out and I find myself just standing and staring at the beautiful wood that’s come back to life.

Here are a few shots of what it looked like before. Over the last 130 years, these floors have been painted, carpeted, and beat up. Not all of the treads are original but things like the landing are. The landing was in the worst shape as you can see in this second photo… carpet glue, paint, dirt, and years of wear-and-tear left it in dire need of some TLC.

Hubs took to woodwork like a fish to water. I swear, I don’t know how he just knows how to do stuff… but he does. First, as in every project we do, we made it safe. When it doubt, there’s ALWAYS lead in the paint… so we went the long, circuitous route of encapsulating ALL the paint on the stairs first, just to be safe. The last thing we’d ever want is to just take to sanding and then have lead paint dust particles floating in the air for forever. This step easily added a week to the project because it involved applying the goop, scraping the goop, properly disposing of the goop, cleaning said goop- a lot- and then letting it all dry.

Once it was dry, THAT’S when the sanding started. They started out like this:

Husband sanded and sanded and sanded. He would get up, sand for a few hours, work until midnight, and do it all again the next day…. but those floors.

Then they looked like THIS… so we got to testing stains and settled on Minwax’s Red Oak.

I stained the treads, painted the risers, AND did research. A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a photo of a home built in the same time frame as ours. It was of their staircase and for a hot second I thought it WAS our house. I got REALLY excited… and then less excited when I realized it wasn’t. However, it had this stunning Newel post lamp that got me wanting one. I took to eBay and found the most beautiful antique French art nouveau piece. The price was right and it was on my doorstep three days later.

The art nouveau distinction leads me to believe it is 1900-1930s time frame The wiring was all original. It still worked but I was concerned with fire safety so I made an off handed comment about how it would just be decorative. Husband (remember when I called him the smartest person in the world?) was like, “Uh, why? I’ll just rewire it.” It was a very Elle-Woods-Gets-Into-Harvard moment when I said “You can DO THAT?” and he cocked his head to the side and was all “What? Like it’s hard?”
So he just went ahead and re-wired the darn thing. He even managed to keep the original switch. So now we have this beautiful, almost-period-specific piece of ART in our entryway. It is so, so beautiful. Now you can see why I can’t stop staring!

Now when my family gets here tomorrow for the holiday, they’ll be able to truly enjoy such a grand entryway staircase. ❤

To wrap up, here are some side-by-sides!

Enjoy your holiday. Be blessed, be thankful. We’ll talk soon!
The Brick and Maple