316 West Seventh Street
The only house in Pecatonica with a mansard roof stands back from the street at 316 West 7th Street.
The home was (probably) built in 1876 by John Harrenstein. In May of that year, he married Frances Salisbury, whose father was a nurseryman and the first mayor of Pecatonica.
The front steps lead to a double etched glass paned doorway with ornate corner braces. Upon entering through these doors, the curved staircase is on the left and the entrance to the living room is to the right. The ceilings have elaborate plaster carvings defining the center with an original chandelier. The front bay window has inside shutters with detailed woodwork, with a granite fireplace in the parlor.
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In 1883, the house was sold to Mr. Wright. He and his son, Ralph lived in the house until they died. Mrs. Wright died when Ralph was a young boy, so Mr. Wright worked hard to raise him properly. Ralph became an excellent piano player in his spare time while working as a mail carrier for a living. Rumor has it that Ralph would entertain young people on the piano; he also gave piano lessons.
In 1938, Ralph married Ethel Davis after a 19-year courtship. After the marriage, Ralph tried to keep the yard and house as a showcase, however Ethel had too many pets. In later years, she even kept chickens in the house. After Ralph died in 1961, Ethel remained in the house until her death in 1971.
Don Armato bought the house in 1971 after it had been vacant for a while. They added a family room on the southwest corner with a fireplace. Since the Armato family, there have been 2 other families since Dave and Debbie purchased the home in 2004.