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Statewide Endangered

2012 Ten Most Endangered Historic Places 












Bruch-Guertler House

101 Blair Ave., Alton
(Madison County)


Built in 1854 of limestone quarried from the property, the Bruch-Guertler house is a fine example of craftsmanship, local industry, and immigration and settlement patterns. Bringing his craft from Germany, Ignatz Bruch arrived in Alton in the early 1850s and quickly established himself as a stone mason. His work can still be found in many buildings and roads in the city of Alton and elsewhere. Bruch established his masonry business in this home and became part of the thriving local limestone industry. The Gothic Revival house employs several remarkable stylistic elements, including pointed window surrounds, which enhance its distinction. The house remained in the family until 1969; it has since suffered a decline. This early limestone house has deteriorated in the hands of current owner and has received several citations from the city. It is hoped that the Bruch-Guertler house, considered a local architectural treasure – not only of Alton, but of the state of Illinois – can be sold or conveyed to a new owner.

The Bruch-Guertler house is one of the most historically significant buildings in an area of early settlement that is rich in history. It represents the importance of the indigenous Illinois limestone industry and demonstrates the artisanship of the era’s resident craftsmen. Bruch utilized the construction of his home and office to demonstrate his skill and advertise his business. He was an integral part of the community, participating in the construction of much of the infrastructure and many buildings in southwestern Illinois. In 1855, Bruch was awarded the stone contract for the noteworthy limestone cathedral in Alton, Saints Peter and Paul, which was the diocesan seat and is still an active church.

The house sits at the base of the limestone bluff from which Bruch quarried the building stone. The prominent facades are carefully worked of dressed stone and are particularly distinguished by the lintels set in a pointed arch over the windows and door. The Bruch-Guertler house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. In 1983, when it was listed on the Illinois Register of Historic Places, the chairman remarked that the state felt the house was second only to Lincoln’s home in importance to the state of Illinois.

After Bruch died, his widow married Peter Guertler, and the house remained in the family for many generations. In 1969 it was purchased by The Bruch Foundation, a non-profit organization established to maintain the house and open it to the community. Sold in the early 1980s, and again in the 1990s, its current owner has left it vacant and neglected its maintenance, resulting in multiple citations from the city. Situated within the Middletown Historic District, the Bruch-Guertler house is beloved by the community and considered a treasured landmark. It is hoped a new owner could provide better stewardship for the house.

What You Can Do


For more information on the property, contact:


Terry Sharp, President
Alton Area Landmarks Association
Box 232

Alton, IL 62002



Additional Links


The Telegraph (Alton)
April 25, 2012

April 24, 2012







Landmarks Illinois
Suite 1315
53 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604 
tel. 312-922-1742 
fax 312-922-8112



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