ABOUT THE POOL HOUSE
© D. Gorton
Your hosts are D. Gorton and Jane Adams. D. is a photographer and Jane is a retired professor of anthropology and of history. We have restored several homes in the historic Arbor District, receiving the City's Historic Preservation Awards for these restorations. Jane currently serves on the Park District Board of Commissioners.
The Pool House is located on our house lot, with a dedicated entrance from the brick driveway. It is located in Carbondale's Historic Arbor District, on West Elm Street, the sweetest three-block street in Carbondale.
We believe our neighborhood is the most desirable in Carbondale. Most of the residents are professors at SIU, most have lovely flower gardens and flowering trees that welcome the spring. It is in the heart of the centrally located historic Arbor District.
The Pool House is walking distance from Southern Illinois University, Memorial Hospital, Downtown, and a full-service grocery store. It takes us 5 minutes by car to get to Murdale and Westown malls where there's a bustling Saturday farmer's market, the Neighborhood (natural foods) Coop, a greengrocer, and what we believe is the best international grocery in the country, as well as the Post Office and several banks. A few minutes drive to the east takes you to the mall and the big box stores. Ten minutes to the south and you're in the beautiful Shawnee Hills.
History of the property
In 1948, Southern Illinois University recruited Delyte Morris to build the small teachers college into a major university. That year Dr. and Mrs. J.W. Barrow built our home for their retirement in their home's back yard. Their place, the 1868 Babcock/Allyn House, housed the first president of Southern Illinois Normal University, Robert Allyn, from the University's founding in 1874 until his death in 1894.
Dr. J. W. Barrow bought the Allyn House in 1912. With his son-in-law, Dr. Leo Brown, and two other doctors, he formed the foundation of what is now Memorial Hospital in Carbondale, and Southern Illinois Healthcare with hospitals and clinics around the region. A member of SIU's first independent Board of Trustees, Leo Brown was instrumental in recruiting Delyte Morris to be president of SIU.
Lucy Mary Barrow was an avid gardener, growing beautiful flowers as well as a large vegetable garden.
When the Barrows retired their daughter Mary and son-in-law Dr. Leo Brown moved into the Allyn House. Dr. Barrow died in 1961; Lucy in 1967. That year Leo and Mary built the pool and (converting the garage) the pool house on what was then a common property. Walnut Street was widened and paved that year, and the family came home from an Alaska vacation to find most of Walnut Street's bricks piled in their side yard. Leo was an inveterate preserver of history, collecting millstones, limestone curbs and street lights from Jonesboro, and the wonderful Egyptian Bricks that, until 1968, paved Walnut Street. Much of his collection remains part of our grounds.
In 2001, after 65 years of marriage, Leo died; Mary lived 5 more years, passing at the age of 91. In 2008 we were fortunate to be able to purchase the home from their daughter and son-in-law who still live in the Allyn house.
We have worked hard to retain the historical integrity of the place, while making it fit our own lifestyle. The bones of the garden were laid down by the Barrows and the Browns, but we have built flower beds, moved fences, thinned out the trees that had threatened to become a forest, and, judiciously, planted some trees and shrubs.
A home with gardens is always a work in progress. We have loved seeing our place grow and change with the years and the seasons. We hope our guests will enjoy it also.