One of the oldest mansions in Beardstown
A house that I have always admired is at the corner of 7th Street and State Street. It is the home of Arlene Bley and her daughter Christy. George (Bill) Bley purchased the house in 1965, and they are the sixth family to reside in the house.
In the 1929 centennial edition of the Illinoian Star, the house was referred to as the first mansion in Beardstown. It was built in 1840 by Mr. J. C. Leonard when Beardstown was only 11 years old. Mr. Leonard was one of the first bankers in Beardstown, and he was also a grain and livestock dealer. In those first years of Beardstown the farm products were the big items and their produce was loaded on river boats headed for markets in St. Louis, and a smart grain dealer did very well financially. Mr. Leonard had the house built with handmade bricks and a lot of walnut paneling at a cost of $24,000.