401 W. Jackson Always Inn Postcard

401 W. Jackson Always Inn postcard.jpg


401 W. Jackson Always Inn Postcard


This postcard, published circa 1910, shows the Cyrus Durfee House, 401 W. Jackson, during the years it was a hotel. Cyrus Durfee built his "mansion" in 1867. The Woodstock Sentinel extolled it as "One of the largest, most convenient, and best arranged residences in the county...lately furnished and occupied. It is located on the south side of Jackson street, on as fine a building spot as the town affords. The main building is thirty-six feet square and two stories high. On the south side is a wing, eighteen by thirty-six feet, also two-stories high, adjoining which is a wood house, eighteen by twenty-four feet. The cellar under the main building contains a cistern, ice room and a large refrigerator. In the building are fifteen rooms, exclusive of closets, all large and well lighted. On the first floor is a bath room, fitted up in the most convenient manner. Communication between the refrigerator in the cellar and the pantry above is made by means of a dumb waiter. Forty feet above ground, on the building, is an observatory, which gives a fine view of the town and surroundings. ...The plans and design were furnished by Mr. Van Osdell, architect, of Chicago...The cost of the building is not less than $7,000."

Cyrus Durfee was a physician who practiced in Woodstock until 1874, then his name appears in the Chicago business directories until his death in 1901.

The house became the Always Inn sometime between 1903, When Thomas and Gertrude Shackell were married, and when this postcard was printed. The hotel was first known as Always Inn, but the name was listed as Hotel Hillcrest in the 1914 city directory. The Shackell’s ran the hotel until their deaths in 1950. He died on February 28 and she died March 13. It was still a hotel in 1960 (called The Crest), but was vacant for most of the 1960s. The house was divided into apartments around 1968.

Note the spelling ALLWAYS Inn on the concrete step near the sidewalk



Online Purchase


ca 1910


CE Wheelock, “401 W. Jackson Always Inn Postcard,” Woodstock Public Library Archives, accessed May 18, 2024, https://woodstockpubliclibraryarchives.omeka.net/items/show/1367.


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