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Yesterday We Went to Town


Warning: longest post in the history of the blog… may take a while to upload! If you don’t have time to read now, please come back, I’ve put a lot of time and energy into this one! πŸ™‚

Yesterday we went to town. Let me tell you a little about “town” before I show it to you.

My parent’s farm is in a very small farming community 12 miles outside of Mt. Carmel, Illinois. For simplicity sake, my whole family is either from there or currently lives there. It’s a very small, quaint town with a population of 7,000 and sits on the western bank of the Wabash River, which separates it from Southern Indiana. It, like many other small towns, has been affected by the larger retailers moving in {or nearby} which almost always results in the starvation and eventual death of a downtown {or in their case what they refer to as “uptown”}.

My parents have, for as long as I can remember, had a vision and love for Mt. Carmel. They both grew up there, knew it in it’s “prime”, graduated from it’s high school and I imagine, for the rest of their lives will do their part to improve it, love it, and continue to have a vision to return it to the thriving community that it once was. Unfortunately, finding others with an equal vision, admiration of the past and love for a small town has proven to be the most challenging part.
Before I go on, I will clarify that the town itself is not dead, nor is it desolate. It is however, a town that has been greatly affected by the closing of plants and the closing of mines. The uptown has retailers, but the street lights that used to change from green, to yellow, to red now simply flash red. The traffic is not heavy and I would dare to guess that only every second, maybe third building is occupied. There is no Walmart in town, but there is one across the river. There is no KMart. There is no Target {although there used to be}. There is Pamida, Dollar General, Family Dollar, McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut and a few others. There is a very small handful of locally owned restaurants, unfortunately, none of which are located uptown.
Hadley’s, up until a few months ago, was the only place uptown to eat. Unfortunately, it fell victim to a fire {which totally destoryed the building adjacent it} and with no insurance there’s no hope for rebuilding or reopening it or the other 3 buildings that fell victim. My Papa {DaddyBoy’s dad} used to go to Hadley’s every morning at 6 am.




My parents own the building that houses “Blades”. The building to it’s right was another victim of the fire, and the owner didn’t have insurance. It’s sad to think that it will likely sit like that until it either falls down or someone is willing to buy it and rebuild it. My parents use the space above Blades to house their “office”. They have a real estate business, not the kind with brokers and realtors, they rent homes, duplexes and retail space.

I love to imagine what life once was like when Mt. Carmel was thriving. I also love to imagine what went on in the beautiful houses that are perfectly spread around it. Yesterday, my mother very graciously drove me around town and very patiently allowed me to get out often and snap some pictures. It’s not exactly a tedious job for her, she too, loves older homes, and this town.
Our first stop is the second piece of real estate they bought and restored. When my grandfather died my parents bought this house for my grandmother, Mimi to live in. {Mimi also reads the blog and corrected me yesterday that Brooke Shields did not come from a yard sale, she bought it when I was little, put it in the attic and forgot about it until she recently moved.} A few months ago Mimi moved out of this house into a smaller duplex that is more energy efficient and suitable for a widow.



It pains me to tell you that this house is for sale. My childhood memories of Mt. Carmel are centered around this house. Not only does it have a history with me, it has a history with our Nation. It’s one of the oldest houses in the state of Illinois and the cellar was used as part of the underground railroad.


It sits on a tree lined, brick street.


And still has many of it’s original architectural features.


Including, it’s beautiful original Walnut floors.


I have so many memories of Christmas in this house. Santa always came down that chimney you see. We would wait at the top of these narrow and steep stairs. I can hear my Aunt Kaye, “Oh girls, you aren’t going to believe who’s been here!!! And you’re not going to believe what he brought!!”


Then they would open the door and we’d run like mad to the family room and tear into our presents.

I tried to convince Mom that this needs to be their “town” house. We broke it down. We often break houses down, you know, evaluate them, what needs to be done, where the table should go, where furniture should go, what needs to be done in the kitchen. I think I’m close to convincing her to remove the for sale sign that sits in the front yard.

We went up stairs. Mimi has only recently moved out and I’ve never seen the house empty and I certaily have never seen the attic empty. You can imagine my surprise when Mom opened the door and showed me this:


There is a piece of brightly illustrated linoleum on the floor. I’ve never seen anything like it.


If they sell the house, they cannot sell this with it. If I could figure out how to get the wallpaper off in one piece I would also insist that it not be sold with the house either.


We went back downstairs and I reminisced about all the meals that my Mimi prepared on this stove. And if it wasn’t too much to request that the wallpaper and flooring not be include in the sale of this house, I would also like to request that the stove not be included either.


My mom came across a box of Mimi’s things that haven’t made their way to her new home. I was somewhat offended that she didn’t take us with her and hang us over her bed. Just so we’re clear, I’m NOT the one with the tongue out! πŸ™‚


They say twins skip a generation. In our case, they’re right. This is Papa {DaddyBoy’s dad} and my Uncle Harland. {Harry & Harland} They too are obviously twins.


At this point in our outing Morgan is screaming, “I want to leave now! I am not having any fun! My hands stink and I want to get out of here!” So we quickly took her {& Paige} to Mimi’s new house and dropped them off. She has candy bowls and cable television, we knew they’d be just fine.



Hornet stayed with us. We couldn’t do that to her.

Before I continue on with our tour… I must interrupt this post with a hilarious story. My parents built several duplexes in Mt. Carmel {Mimi is pictured here in front of hers}. I noticed one of her neighbors had some “yard ornaments”. I commented on them to mom. She went on to tell me about these tiny deer.


My parents have included in the covenants and rescrictions of the neighborhood that no tenants are allowed to display yard ornaments. When Mom saw these little deer appear before Christmas she knew something needed to be done. The tenant was in Florida over the winter so mom went over and collected the tiny deer and placed them in the tenant’s garage. Almost immediately, the neighboring tenant, who obviously didn’t see mom in action, called the police to report them stolen. It made the front page of the paper the next day. {click here for the newspaper article} Mom had to make a few phone calls and turn herself in. She called the tenant to inform them that she was the deer burglar. He thanked her for placing them in the garage and never asked “why” and so once he returned from Florida the deer made their way back to the front bed, and are still there now. Mom thought they would get the hint but apparently they didn’t.

Ok, so after “discussing” the deer we hit the road, with camera and JM in tow. Our first stop happened to be one that they own.


It was built by a tug boat captain who made his way from New Orleans {which you can tell by the architecture} up the rivers to Mt. Carmel. I love the details & the porches. To give you an idea of the “market” here in Mt. Carmel, this is a 3 bedroom house with a carport {my parents added} and it rents for $600/month.


Our next stop was another house they own, but haven’t finished restoring.


It’s an old “American Gothic” that sits above the levy of the Wabash River. If you come to town from Indiana it’s the first house you see {on your left}. It used to house 30,000 books; card catalogized, organized by subject matter and stacked on shelves floor to ceiling. My parents recently sold the entire lot of books to a book dealer. They paid $5,000 for this house and $5,000 for the books in 2005.

Mom took me inside. What I wouldn’t give to hear the stories these walls could tell!







Our next stop was another “American Gothic” that my dad used to live in. My grandparents lived in this house when I was very young, and if I recall, lived in this house until my grandfather died in 1986. I have “Christmas memories” in this house too.



My grandparents didn’t own this home, they rented it. My father never understood his father’s lack of desire to own a home. Papa rented every home they ever lived in. I attribute my father’s overcompensation of “home ownership” to his father’s absence of. My parents started buying property in Mt. Carmel the late ’80s and have only recently stopped.

We continued on to look at houses that have been beautifully restored. {My parents don’t own these.} And before we look at them I’m sad to report that for every beautifully restored home in Mt. Carmel there are 100 that are in desperate need of attention. These pictures were taken around noon, the worst time of day {in my opinion} to take pictures, please excuse the strong shadows.







These folks have recently added a garage and did a FABULOUS job matching the architecture and look of the original house.



Next door there is a beautiful Dutch Colonnial.




Most of these houses are on Cherry Street, the same brick street that Mimi’s house is on.


Every house is different and there is no lack of charm.








This is where we stopped… we were hungry and knew Mimi would start to wonder about us!

Be back soon… maybe with a farm tour! We’re headed to Evansville, IN today to take the kids to the zoo. They don’t know we’re going and I know they’ll love it! I love a surrrprise!

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  • heather
    July 9, 2009 at 7:57 am

    DARBY!!! I'm foaming at the mouth over this post. I love, love, love old houses too. The American Gothic is lovely. I'm ready to pack my bags and move to Mt. Carmel and buy your Mimi's house.

    Isn't driving around looking at old houses just the best? Have you ever been to Madison, Indiana?

  • heather
    July 9, 2009 at 8:01 am

    It's me again…your post of houses reminded me of my old blog post about houses in Old Louisville where I live!


  • Elizabeth
    July 9, 2009 at 8:04 am

    I loved the pictures of the old houses – taste of country for a city mouse.

  • Keri
    July 9, 2009 at 8:08 am

    Those houses are so gorgeous! I want to live on a street like your Mimi's house one day!

  • mom2three
    July 9, 2009 at 8:13 am

    I'm really a city girl- I live in a small city in upstate NY. Reading your blog has made me want to totally uproot my children and go live on a farm… until today when I decided that we're moving to Illinois. It looks so lovely… and I especially love that every house on the street is different. In my town there are too many "new" tracks full of McMansions that are just so…. lacking of character. and trees. when they put in a new track the trees all go. I'm signing off now to go look for a job in Mt. Carmel. (Thanks especially for letting us know the housing market prices- it's always interesting to see a home's value in a different locale.)

  • Jeanie
    July 9, 2009 at 8:21 am

    This really was a masterpiece post! Your photos are fantastic and being from the midwest originally, you took me straight back to my childhood, as well. I had some of the wallpaper I saw.

    And that linoleum? I have never ever seen anything like it. That is amazing and some smart company should re-issue that right now! I would do an entire playroom for my grandchildren based on it!

    Great post! Thank-you.

  • april
    July 9, 2009 at 8:22 am

    i've never commented before but had to this time! i found your blog through someone else's a few months ago and love it! my mom's family is from mt.carmel and one of my cousins lives on cherry st! my other cousins taught at the high school while my uncle owns a ton of farmland off of route 9 (i think that's the road!). so many good memories there! enjoy your trip!

  • Sarah's Fab Day
    July 9, 2009 at 8:22 am

    Drooling over here! I know this will sound totally lame but my heart totally soars looking at older homes. You have no idea how much I would love to live in an older home.

    I have been nixed on this by my husband more times than I can count, not to mention in AZ they're very hard to come by. Thank you so much for sharing these with us. I'm in love.

  • Dianne
    July 9, 2009 at 8:28 am

    Be still my heart! This post was amazing. I am packing my bags for Mt. Carmel.

  • The Gunters
    July 9, 2009 at 8:31 am

    That's it! I'm packing up our house and telling my husband we are moving to Mt. Carmel. We'll buy your Mimi and Papa's house and I promise we'll take excellent care of it!!

  • Devon
    July 9, 2009 at 8:36 am

    Do you think the energy comes from being around your parents? I always feel the same way once I'm comfortably hanging out with my parents–I couldn't feel more energized and ready to go. I hope my kids feel the same way about my husband and I some day because it's a true gift.

    In terms of the Dutch Colonial, as a Dutchie owner, I'm totally into stealing the letter on the chimney idea for our house.

    And, your grandmother's house is amazing and beautiful. What a great place for memories.

  • Teale
    July 9, 2009 at 8:37 am

    I love this post! You are a girl after my own heart… I love quaint little towns, looking through old photos and wondering what it was like to live back in the days when they were so lively! I think I could move into that Dutch Colonial tomorrow. If they sell that house you should definitely look into taking that linoleum back home!

  • tlm
    July 9, 2009 at 8:38 am

    Those houses are beautiful!!! I have dreams of living a more simple life in a small town in an old house. Southern Illinois is too cold, though!

  • Jessica {lovely jubbly london}
    July 9, 2009 at 8:39 am

    I want to move to Cherry Street! I love all the old homes and charming brick street. Is the community spirit as wonderful as I imagine it?

  • Laura Matthews
    July 9, 2009 at 8:43 am

    Lovely…totally lovely. Thanks for sharing!

  • Rachel
    July 9, 2009 at 8:48 am

    My family is from IN & it pains me that I grew up in TX (seriously, what were my parents thinking when they moved here). Needless to say, we only visited a couple of times during my childhood, but I remember them so vividly. Recently I returned for my grandfather's funeral, and wow, did I miss out on beautiful architecture and God's green pastures. Ahhh!! This post is so refreshing. Thank you for sharing!

    BUT, if you don't want your Mimi's house to sell, you may not want to take such WONDERFUL pictures of it!!!

    Might I add, I grew up in a town of 4-8k(it grew while we were there)…and Mt. Carmel seems so much more charming & friendly.

    .the longer the post, the longer the comment. πŸ™‚

  • Lauren
    July 9, 2009 at 8:51 am

    What a sweet place and story. My parents are from an even smaller town in northern OK that is actually dying. The population was in the thousands when they were kids and it is now down to 200. I'm often tempted of buying one of the run down farmhouses and restoring it so that my future children will know what joys come with a small humble community.

  • Carrie
    July 9, 2009 at 8:53 am

    Wow! That makes me want to pack up and move to Illinois! If only my house here, in AL, would sell….

  • inthetweeds
    July 9, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Thank you SO much for sharing this stroll down memory lane. I desperately want to move to a small town like this and renovate an old home…this was a fun taste of what that'd be like. Your parents own some truly lovely places! What fun memories for you and your kiddos!

  • blessdtwice
    July 9, 2009 at 9:01 am

    some movie producer should see this post and film a movie in Mt. Carmel…what a beautiful town! I love those beautiful homes!!!

    Seeing as I live in a brady bunch spilt level with ZERO character, I am completely drooling…

  • Laina
    July 9, 2009 at 9:02 am

    so beautiful! I'm like you. I want to be transported back in time and see what life would have been like on a street lined with brick.
    Makes me kind of hate the cookie cutter neighborhoods in my city.

  • kathy
    July 9, 2009 at 9:03 am

    You have such a remarkable family. :o)

  • Susan
    July 9, 2009 at 9:05 am

    I love those houses!!!! You make me want to move!

  • autumnhh
    July 9, 2009 at 9:12 am

    Wonderful post. I am familiar with the area since I grew up in Western KY outside of Madisonville and close to Paducah. We got our news from Evansville and I often heard of Mt Carmel. Now I live in Western NC and my parents now live close to your neck of the woods. They moved this past year from Western Ky to a small town in LA (lower alabama) Enterprise.

    So sad about these wonderful older homes. My husband and I have bought and renovated an older home so we know about the charm and sometimes headaches. I know people have their reasons (health, $ and time) but I don't understand how some can live in a new house in a development where they all look alike when there are so many beautiful homes available that just need some TLC!

  • Natalie
    July 9, 2009 at 9:12 am

    what a wonderful post. the whole story seems so fairy tale and so…..RICH. i just kept thinking RICH when i read it…rich heritage, rich memories, rich with character…

    as other commenters have said…im drooling!

  • kerisullivan
    July 9, 2009 at 9:15 am

    One of my all time favorite posts. While I missed your precious references to hornet, the pictures more than made up for it. Keep the blogs coming. I read about 15 of them and yours is by far my favorite!

  • Dona
    July 9, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Hey- if you don't mind, dig up that street your mimi lives on and bring it home- those brick would be perfect for my driveway. I am thinking that if you start now, you could finish up by the time you get ready to leave- no breaks, the weather is nice there!

  • kate
    July 9, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Wow, Darby! These houses are gorgeous! First off, I think it is simply fabulous, the dedication your parents have to Mt. Carmel. I love the brick lined streets, reminds me of parts of Washington DC, where I was born, raised and happily moving back to at the end of the month, especially parts like Georgetown and Old Town Virginia, but with more space.
    I could pace neighborhoods for hours looking at houses (i get that from my mom)!
    I love old houses (oh and that linoleum too)!

  • Lynn
    July 9, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Evansville?! You guys are only about an hour and a half from where I live! Is your parents' farm that close? I love that house they own and restored… if I had a reason to move to IL I would totally move and rent it from them! I love old houses.. there is a street in Louisville that I would love to just walk up & down and take pictures of the houses but I always thought people would think I was a creepy stalker or something. But maybe not? ANyway, have fun at the zoo!

  • Leigh Scott
    July 9, 2009 at 9:37 am

    I've been enjoying (ok..stalking) your blog for a few months now and it's about time I comment. What a charming town, and those handsome homes (that tudor or gothic I will take any day!) Kudos to your parents for preserving those buildings. I've had a love for old homes my whole life and ache to live in one (if only they were as cheap where I live (Charleston) as the ones in Mt.Carmel) Love your blog, my husband and I have enjoyed several of your recipes and you've inspired me to dust off my sewing machine!

  • Diane
    July 9, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Thanks so much for posting this! What eye candy! I love older homes. They have such character.

  • MyLittleHappyPlace
    July 9, 2009 at 9:43 am

    I'm so enchanted with this precious little town. For some reason, looking at all these amazing old homes makes me sad. This is what America is to me…

    On another note: I meant to email you and Erika regarding the AT article, and the evening just plum got away from me. Please tell her congratulations for me.

    alison g. (brazil)

  • momof3munchkins
    July 9, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Beautiful pictures! I wish there were more houses like that around our town! So glad your parents are trying to restore some of them.

  • alston
    July 9, 2009 at 9:45 am

    love these houses — makes me want to move to mt. carmel! and the deer story is hilarious…i've been seeing lots of pink flamingos lately around here…

  • Amanda
    July 9, 2009 at 9:56 am

    The Zoo in nearby Ft.Wayne is to die for – we took the kids 2 weeks ago. Loved the tour, very much like Glen Ellyn, I grew-up in a hundred plus Victorian on Main Street…the houses there have lots of history and are all centered around the downtown village, the lake and the train tracks that divide the town in two – my parents worked tirelessly (w/ 2 young kids no less) to restore/enhance many of the original details, paint job, etc…it is actually featured in 2 such coffee table books. Anyway, poinnt being that many historic/original homes there are being torn down and in their place – gignatic, million plus are homes are being built – tacky and sad. There is a big group and movement through the Historical Society to preserve their homes/landscapes, etc…it has divided the town…growth is not always so good! PS – I amsure your peeps would cut you a deal on Mimi's…you could have your own Mt.Carmel "summer house", ha!!

  • Abby
    July 9, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Darby, what a charming town! They don't need a PCA pastor do they?! (My husband recently graduated from Covenant Seminary and is looking) I think it is always so sad when these little downtown areas fail. Imagine if College Street failed! (the University helps prevent that, of course) The chain stores are so convenient and inexpensive, but it does kind of rob us of the character and charm and individuality of a place. Even Auburn now is so so different and more commercial looking than it was when I started in '95.

    But good for your parents! These homes are absolutely lovely. Thanks for putting up so many pictures! If we're ever over that way, I'm going to insist that we jump of the interstate and take a tour!

  • Angel
    July 9, 2009 at 10:23 am

    I love this post! That looks like the kind of small town I wold love to live in. I wish more people could see the beauty as you see it, and take better care of those untidy homes you mentioned. So sad about the fires uptown and the buildings that may just sit there.

    Can't wait to see your tour of the farm. I just posted my uncle's farm we visited over the week-end.

  • Cherish Stockdale
    July 9, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Oh my goodness I think I need to move!

  • Laura
    July 9, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Beautiful photos! It's funny…the way you feel about some of those old charming homes is how I feel about some of the older homes in Dothan. Both sets of grandparents had the most interesting homes, and they hold such wonderful memories. I wish I had taken photos of them in my childhood! My mom's parents house (that they built) even had a bookshelf that slid into the wall to reveal another room! πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing and inspiring memories.

  • Anonymous
    July 9, 2009 at 10:28 am

    i SERIOUSLY love your blog. i wish you had time to update three times a day!

  • Becky
    July 9, 2009 at 10:29 am

    i wish jealous began to describe the feeling i'm having. but it doesn't. and mimi's house…FOR SALE??? i just don't even want to think about it. it is seriously too much.

  • Chris and Deb
    July 9, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Darby…I found your blog several months ago…….and this is the first time I have commented. I love it and always look forward to your posts!! They are always so enchanting….you are such a great writer….and take such amazing photos! I grew up in a small town in the midwest and absolutely loved this post! Could be any small town in the midwest….made me think of the family homes that I used to enter and all of the shops that once were…thanks for sharing Mt. Carmel and all of your talent! Beautiful!

  • J
    July 9, 2009 at 10:46 am

    great, Great, GREAT post! I think this may be my favorite post you've ever done! T and I have a love affair with older homes. We LOVE to walk through older neighborhoods and dream and imagine. Kudos to your parents for their restoration work!!! T and I will take the tudor…my fav. style! πŸ™‚ Thanks for taking the time to share! LOVED it!

  • Megan
    July 9, 2009 at 10:56 am

    What a beautiful town! Your new camera is loving you!

  • The Di Vito's
    July 9, 2009 at 11:00 am

    These homes are BEAUTIFUL. I want to move there NOW!!! What a great post, thanks for the tour!!!

  • the sweet life with olives
    July 9, 2009 at 11:04 am

    I didn't find the post long in the least! Love the pics, those lovely old homes, and knowing more about your family history and passion for all things family and home oriented! But what I love most… that article???!!! Stolen deer and bird bath, value yet unknown, too funny! You got to love small towns!

  • Amanda @ Serenity Now
    July 9, 2009 at 11:09 am

    I LOVED this post. Your Mimi's old house is absolutely adorable. I love the old linoleum and wall paper–to die for. The whole street is just fabulous!!!

  • AllisonM
    July 9, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Darby! What a delightful post! I don't usually comment, but I adore everything about your blog…including your sweet spirit. These houses are to DIE for! Thanks for such a great pictoral tour..i ALMOST feel like i'm there! Have a wonderful, blessed time with your family!

  • trekmom
    July 9, 2009 at 11:18 am

    I have never posted before, but read your blog all the time. With working full time and 4 kids, I don't get as much time on the computer as I would like.
    Anyway, just wanted to tell you that I live in Jasper Indiana, about an hour and a half from Mt Carmel. We took our kids to the Evansville Zoo last Friday. The kids all had a good time there. Watch out for the peacocks – they roam free and one "chased" my 8 year old because he was holding some crackers. Once he dropped them, the peacock left him alone and ate the crackers. It had to be so funny to watch, but the other kids were all freaking out about the peacock getting so close to them! Loved all the pictures of the houses!!

  • Love Being a Nonny
    July 9, 2009 at 11:20 am

    I want that linoleum floor. And the wallpaper. Oh. My. All those older homes. LOVED this post!!

  • Meredith
    July 9, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Love this post! That is actually one of my dreams to buy and renovate an old home (unfortunately it is not my husband's dream, but I am going to keep working on him :-)) My husband's family is from Perry County, Indiana (not far from Evansville). We love going up there to visit…rolling hills and farms…it is just so peaceful!

  • Shabby Mama
    July 9, 2009 at 11:56 am

    AMAZING..thank you for sharing!

  • Amanda
    July 9, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Love the old houses! My great-grandpa had an old house in southern GA that is now a bed and breakfast (https://maxwellhousega.com/) I JUST found that it has this website and noticed they have some of my great-grandpa's medical ledgers and journals on display and I WANT THEM (and the house). They just don't make houses like they used to.

  • The Nebrigs
    July 9, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    wonderful post!!! you are a girl after my own heart!! read every bit, loved it all!!!

  • Tara
    July 9, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    One of my favorite things to do…look at houses, and I just got a tour of homes on my lunch break at work! πŸ™‚

    Great photos!

  • Robyn
    July 9, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Darby, I just recently started following your blog. I love old houses. I'm with you…they just "can't" sell your MiMi's house.It's just priceless. They don't make them like that anymore.I love it! Keep it in the family!

  • Mary Feagley
    July 9, 2009 at 12:31 pm


    My family originally came from Mt. Carmel, and I live in Evansville…so I am very familiar with everything you talked about. If you are in town again and would like to see some awesome houses here…I'd meet you anytime!

  • Tiffany
    July 9, 2009 at 12:33 pm


  • Susan
    July 9, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    love your blog, love this post! thank you for sharing. What a wonderful life and beautiful memories.

  • Ashley
    July 9, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Oh, darby-girl! I enjoyed reading! So glad Erika got married there so I got to see what the "farm" is all about! Are you ever going to want to come back? πŸ™‚ When you do, I'd sure like to see you! I enjoyed every picture and the stories behind every one. I may have to upgrade to cable Internet though-this DSL mess isn't cutting it with all those pictures! πŸ™‚ Loved it! Glad y'all are having fun!

  • morethanthestarsinthesky
    July 9, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Love all the beautiful homes. I am so glad you shared these. I your Mimi's house on the Historical register in town? That is so neat the story it has. Looking forward to the farm pics.

    Amanda in Alabama

  • CC
    July 9, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    What a wonderful post……Thanks, Darby……what a great tour….sorta reminds me of where I grew up!

    Enjoy the zoo!

  • Melanie
    July 9, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Mt. Carmel is my hometown! We were just there last week! I saw you at Parkview with Erin and I was going to say Hello, but I had an 8 year old son that was having a little bit of an attitude problem that morning! πŸ™‚ I went to talk to him and when I came back, you all were gone. At one time, I had my aunt, my great-aunt, my grandma and my great-grandparents living on Cherry Street. My sister lives in the next block up from your Mimi's house. My great-grandparent's house is the large, gold brick house across the street from the house in the last picture you took. It too has been sold and I'm not sure I would want to go in and see what they have done to it. I like remembering it the way it was. Did your Mom show you the building that used to be Parkview Christian Church and is now a house? I would LOVE to see how they have renovated that. Enough rambling…..We took the kids to the Evansville Zoo last week and they loved it. The new part is really nice. Enjoy!

  • Elizabeth Sloan
    July 9, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Wow, what beautiful architecture! Your Mimi's street is almost too pretty to be real…it looks like a movie set! Thanks for taking us on a tour of such a lovely little town.

  • Shannon
    July 9, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    These pictures are absolutely gorgeous!

    I've been reading your blog for a while, but never commented. Your posts make me smile every day, and I love the pictures of your precious children.

  • Karen
    July 9, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    My grandparents live in Evansville and I was just there with my 1 and 2 year old. My 75 year old grandfather took us to the zoo while we were there too! Have fun!

  • Tara
    July 9, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    I love this town…I'm ready to move there, but I think my southern bones could not take the cold winters. I laughed at your Mimi correcting you on the Brooke Shields toy…when I saw those pictures I thought you had a really great yard sell find if that toy was in such great condition. I'm curious about what other treasures she had hidden away in her attic.

  • Rachel
    July 9, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    What beautiful posts from Indiana–the pics, your family, the memories–all of it!! As a wife of an architect- driving down historic streets and dreaming of what we would do to each house has become part of our life too (our little guys have even picked up on it)! My family grew up in a charming small town like Mt. Carmel and it too is sadly in need of some TLC. This post made me a little homesick. Your photography is amazing–can't wait to see more.

  • Jackie
    July 9, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Thanks for this piece of Americana!

  • Susie
    July 9, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    I love finding old sets of stairs…makes you wonder where they went!

  • The Harris Family
    July 9, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    Girl, you're gonna kill me! Hahaha, I don't have time right now but I want to want to want to! I'll be back!

  • Kelly and Kelly
    July 9, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    I'm loving all these houses! We live in an old house that we renovated in a neighborhood full of them and I love it here.

  • Christie
    July 9, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Beautiful pictures of beautiful houses!

  • deyoungsters
    July 9, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    So beautiful! I love old houses and small towns, too. I can't decide which of the houses you photographed is my favorite… thanks for showing us Mt. Carmel!

  • Katy
    July 9, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    Finally coming out of lurking mode. I love your blog! Enjoyed looking at your pictures!! I didn't realize your parents lived so close to Indiana. I live on the southside of Indianapolis.

  • spearsbm
    July 9, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    Hi, Darby! I've been stalking (ummm…I mean "reading") your blog for a very long time, but don't post much. Just wanted to say I loved, loved, loved this post. There's nothing like small town charm!

    I grew up in Henderson, KY (right across the bridge from Evansville) and am actually here right now visiting my family. We just took the kids to Mesker Zoo on Tuesday!! Hope you all had fun, and it's too bad we weren't there on the same day. I would have loved to meet your precious family! πŸ™‚


  • Rachel
    July 9, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    I'm from Henderson, KY (across the river from Evansville) and I now live in Birmingham. I think I am going to talk to my husband about moving! I loved the pictures of those houses; that is my dream and you just don't see anything like that around here. There is nothing like the character and charm of an older home.

  • katydid
    July 9, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    What a fabulous tour…I've always been told that people from the midwest were so lovely…now I see that is equally true of their homes! I wish I could plunk a few of these in my backyard, decorate them and sneak away to play house in them! Enjoy the rest of your visit. And thanks for sharing.

  • Jill
    July 9, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Darby, I'm another one coming out of lurkdom . . . I absolutely loved your renovation/redecorating posts and I've come back to them often, but this tops them all . . . I live north of Chicago and I'm seriously considering a trip downstate to see this town! I've had Sears catalog homes on the mind lately and I wonder if there are any in Mt. Carmel? Anyway, thanks for a fabulous post!

  • KaitlynRae
    July 9, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    What lovely homes! I only live a couple hours from Mt. Carmel. I've always only passed by on the highway. Thanks you for sharing! Next time I might just have to take some time and go through town.

  • Melissa Wagner
    July 9, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    What a great post!!! I loved seeing the gorgeous homes of Mt. Carmel. Driving down the brick lined streets has always been a favorite of mine. Next time you come to Evansville, give me a call! We'll meet you … and Mackenzie and I will probably take off with John Martin!

  • painted.
    July 10, 2009 at 4:03 am

    These houses are amazing!!!!

  • Hannah Fields
    July 10, 2009 at 6:01 am

    darby,while i was reading your blog Grace saw the pics of one of these houses and said," hey, thats mary poppins house!" too sweet. the houses are beautiful. i wish i could find some of that wallpaper too.

  • abby jenkins
    July 10, 2009 at 6:38 am

    Wow! What beautiful treasures all those old houses are. Makes me want to move! Thanks for sharing.

  • Kathy
    July 10, 2009 at 7:04 am

    Love the pictures! I have the same camera you have and am still learning all the bells and whistles. Do you use a photo editing program, or are your shots straight out of the camera?

  • sashyjane
    July 10, 2009 at 7:10 am

    This made me a little teary eyed. Houses like your Mimi's that are so full of memories are so hard to let go. Also, the quiet downtowns that were once busy are heartbreaking and all too familiar today.

    Thank you for sharing this!

  • lindsay
    July 10, 2009 at 7:42 am

    These photos are awesome, thanks for sharing! I love how each house has such character. I grew up in Findlay, Ohio and there are some beautiful homes there as well. Wish homes like this weren't so hard to find here in Florida!

  • Joel and Lee-Anne
    July 10, 2009 at 8:12 am

    Darby – I must confess that the best part about your LOOOONG post was the fact that I had the time to read it…ALL!! After the week we have had, it was nice to sit down – the house quiet – and read your post and daydream about how nice a quaint little town would be. Thanks for taking the time to share your pics and story with us….you are getting quite good with your new camera!! Much love!!

  • rachel blazer
    July 10, 2009 at 8:24 am

    i have no idea how i ended up on your blog, but i really enjoyed reading it & drooling over your pictures! i want to move to mt. carmel now & be best friends with your parents- what a wonderful collection of homes.

  • beki
    July 10, 2009 at 9:38 am

    I'm ready to pack up and move!

  • Britt
    July 10, 2009 at 10:04 am

    What a beautiful town! I love the little Gothic house your parents bought and would love to see what they do with it in the renovation!

  • Erin...
    July 10, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Darby- Just amazing. I read your blog daily and it is my new favorite!!! These old houses bring tears to my eyes- and yes, now I want to move! $600 rent??? That is unbelieveable. Send more pics, we love 'em!

  • Jessica
    July 10, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    wow! i loved this post. thanks for taking the time to write about your memories of your parents' town….i loved it all.

  • our family
    July 10, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Darby, what a wonderful post!! Love, love, love all the old houses. My dream is to one day live in an old house similar to one of those on a street that looks like your Mimi's. Glad you are able to spend this wonderful, quality time with your family. Enjoying all the updates!!

  • Laura Zarrin
    July 10, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    You're making me want to live there and buy that house! I adore old houses. Thanks for sharing.

  • Laura Zarrin
    July 10, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    You're making me want to live there and buy that house! I adore old houses. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jennifer
    July 10, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Love this post! Mt. Caramel sounds wonderful and I think you need to buy your Mimi's house for your own vacation place! We have amazing old homes around here (including a stop or two on the Underground Railroad) and I love nothing more than driving around and looking at them — I think we've discussed that already! πŸ™‚

    So glad you're having fun with your family…please keep the fabulous updates coming!

  • fric and frac
    July 10, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Oh I love all of the old houses you featured! My parents grew up in Evansville, IN and we spent so much time there visiting my grandparents growing up! Evansville had a Put-Put course-which was awesome! The houses in Mt. Carmel look very similar to the homes in Evansville and Newburgh! Close friends of ours lived on the river in Newburgh and their cellars were part of the underground railroad too! I love that your parents are so involved in saving the architecture!

  • Shireen
    July 10, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    Hey, girl,
    Looks like I've made #100 on your comments!! πŸ˜‰ Wow…I read every word, sweet friend. God truly has given you and your parents a beautiful appreciation for good architecture. You have such a beautiful passion for life, Darby. I feel like God is growing me in this area, just recently, b/c I'm finally 'getting out of the way' to let Him. πŸ™‚ I'm thankful.
    Great post!!

  • Jenny and Jon
    July 10, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    I'm new to your blog…….my sister in law blogs also and told me about your blog as she stumbled upon it looking for a hair bow tutorial and some recipes…..we live in South East Florida and have a son around the age of yours…we're originally from NW Ohio so know the midwestern charm you are blogging about…we've been in OH 10 days and are loving it too for an extended 4th holiday. Enjoy your vacation and safe travels home, your blog is inspiring…….I'm a working attorney mom but I aspire to cook and craft like you do:)

  • hurdlereb
    July 11, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Seriously, I would buy ANY of those homes…especially the $5,000 one πŸ™‚

  • Bell
    July 11, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Love the houses you shared with us.

    My in-laws used to live in Evansville and we would take our children to that zoo. Once I remember going and it seemed like most of the animals were gone or out of commission or something. It was so odd. But we saw this huge rat scampering around this place abandoned by it's regular animal occupant. We called it The Rat Pavilion and that is what I always think of if someone mentions the Evansville Zoo. The Rat Pavilion. Hope the critters were all there for you that day.

  • Kendall Boggs
    July 11, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Hey Darbs! I have been accused of copying you…yep! Went through Eufala yesterday and posted pics of houses on FB. Jordan called me today and said "mom. now i know who you are trying to be like! I said "who"? She said, "Darby posted homes on her blog like you did on FB" in all honesty I had not read your blog since Wed.! I just told her that great minds think alike!!! at any rate, loved looking at these!!!

  • meredith
    July 12, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    I want to live there!!! I love it!!


  • Mandy
    July 13, 2009 at 6:17 am

    Great pictures…so glad ya'll having good, relaxing family time. I love the old houses and of course the pictures of the children! My parents live in a house that I grew up in that was built at the turn of the century that I just love. Can't figure out how to make my ranch style home in Mt. Pleasant have the same feel…I will get there one day! Have fun and keep posting! Mandy

  • The Schlipf Family
    July 14, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    I just came across your blog a couple of weeks ago from my friends blog in Auburn. I grew up in DuQuoin. We would play Mt. Carmel in high school football. There is something so special about small towns. You have captured so many memories! I just LOVE that wallpaper!!!!

  • GraceK
    July 17, 2009 at 4:56 am

    I think that Mt. Carmel must be the most beautiful town in America! I fell in love with every house you posted a photo of. Thank you for the wonderful histories, too, that accompanied them. I know that post took a lot of effort but it was a joy to read!

  • Angela in WA
    July 18, 2009 at 7:14 am

    Hi Darby,
    I often stop by via your sister's blog, but I must say, reading about your life in AL makes me homesick! I'm a southern gal having moved to the pacific northwest (moved from Tallahassee) and well… it's just not the same. This reminds me of the town my husband's family grew up in, Albertville, AL. We were just there and so much has changed over the year's. It literally bring tears to my eyes! Wonderful post as always and enjoy the time and memories with your family.

  • Mimi » Urban Grace Interiors {the blog}
    December 15, 2009 at 9:54 am

    […] memories of this house… especially Christmas memories.Β  My sister recently wrote a wonderful post on this home and others in town that my parents have spent countless hours […]

  • Emily
    December 15, 2009 at 10:26 am

    I love this posting….Looovvveee it! This is the type of thing I go hunting for in blogs. It is because of postings like this that I even started a blog! I gasped so loudly when I saw the brick lined street my dog jumped! From the beautifully painted brick to the fabulous arches in your Mimi’s home to the amazing illustrated linoleum and wallpaper (both should be reproduced today!) to the American Gothic style homes and the other grand estates you have pictures of in this post, I am blown away. Thank you so much for this… It is so funny (funny ironic, not funny haha)- I was driving with my husband the other day as we usually do and I thought to myself – i love this town – and then I thought – wow, there are so many towns in this country I would love that I will never know about. Now I know one more, Mt. Carmel, Illinois. Thank you, thank you.

  • Laurie
    December 17, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    good heavens Darby -that is all so beautiful – and yes – if you get some of that wallpaper peeled off – I’ll take some too please!!!!!!!

  • kate
    January 11, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Oh those amazing homes literally took my breath away. Can I live in all of them? Just stumbled onto your blog today and have only seen this post. Shall now go and read the rest of it. Good to find you!

  • kay*
    January 13, 2010 at 12:20 am

    oh wow. just wow. these homes are so amazing! the history, the detail, the architecture. these are exactly the things i’m going to look into when i buy my first home. hopefully i’ll be able to lovingly restore it to its former glory.

    these houses are just gorgeous.

  • Debbie Deckard
    January 26, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    My son, who now lives in NY, just called and said “Mom, I found a blog with your house on it”! We live next to the Gothic home and have been here for 2 years. The house was originally not for sale; we wrote the owner and said if she was ever interested in selling to please let us know. Well, a few months later we saw her and she asked if we wanted to buy a house! We have done a lot of work both inside and out to “make it ours” and we love it here. As far as we can tell it was built in 1815. My husband and I appreciate the history of our home and intend to take very good care of it for future generations to enjoy. (I know your parents and they are a wonderful couple)

  • Michelle
    February 17, 2011 at 11:46 am

    love, Love, LOVE your post!!! I could look at houses like this forever!! I think it is fantastic that your parents appreciate and value the period homes and all their charms! Thanks for a great read plus the eye candy!!!

  • Margarita
    February 17, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    What a lovely post! This is my first time in our page. I “met” your sister (her page) yesterday night and have read her post since until I got to the one that sends to your page on your grandma’s house!! What a lovely house!! the flooooors!!! and the floor on the attic!! can’t believe it! Never seen something like that floor where you girls played. Again, what a lovely house really…. and the street.. Have just adored it!!
    I am writing you from far… Montevideo, Uruguay. And I love all the old good stuff. I will have to look up on a map where that town is. I went to Moline, Illinois many, many years ago while I was working for John Deere. love your family pictures. You know what? My grandma had frames equal to the one where your Dad is with his brother. Never could get a hold of those after the pictures were distributed between family members. Beautifuuul old frames. You never get to see those. Congratulations on your beautiful family. I better go now. Please do write when you have a sec.
    It was wonderful visiting this post! thanks, Peggy

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