By Zachary Daum
Standing since 1862, the house at 213 East Church St. is now being demolished. The house is best remembered as the home of the founder of “The Herald,” Carl Montag. The house was also known to be the only home in Mascoutah with a “mansard” roof. The mansard roof is a roof many large, older homes of the time period sported, but this was the only house in Mascoutah with this style.
Purchased by Mascoutah business, BailCo. Properties, the building was also once a nursing home. An employee of BailCo. said that the property was in disrepair and could no longer be salvaged, so that tearing it down was their only option. No one had resided in the house for many years and without the upkeep needed to sustain it, it could no longer be affordably repaired.
The house was built by Louis Carl Montag, who settled in Mascoutah in 1855. He was from Bavaria. Known at the time as a carpenter and lumberyard owner, his son Carl Montag later took ownership of the house. Carl Montag, founder of The Herald quit school at an early age to become an apprentice at the print shop of the former local newspaper, “Mascoutah Enterprise.” Later he worked at newspapers in Chicago, Cleveland and New York City, before returning to his hometown. After purchasing the “Lebanon Illinois Herald” in 1884, he moved it to Mascoutah in 1885 where it has been to this day.
Carl Montag was a member of International Typographical Union over 50 years and was the president of Union 443 until his death. He also held city positions as Justice of the Peace, Postmaster of Mascoutah, City Clerk, City Treasurer and was even elected Mayor of Mascoutah in 1913. He died in 1933.
Mascoutah Resident Marilyn Welch said that she remembers some of the history of the house and spoke a little about what happened to it after Carl Montag died. “I can remember when the family died, that one daughter lived there still. My mom was born in 1897 so she was a little bit older than my mom. And so I stayed in the family until then, until she died. Then it became a nursing home. It was going to be going up for auction and people wanted to know about it. One person whose name came up is Josh Peterson. He owns some property and he also buys property and restores them. He said to me, ‘I’ve been in it and I wouldn’t take it if they give it to me.’ There’s so much work to be done. So I guess it was in really, really bad condition. It’s just a matter of fact that no one ever took care of it.”
When it became a nursing home the rear of the house received a large addition to expand it for the incoming residents. It then went through many hands before falling into disrepair and reached the state it is in today. At the time of publication a portion of the house was still standing but will soon be fully demolished. It is currently undecided as to what will go in its place.