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Fitzgerald Family Background
Fitzgerald Building Chronology
The first buildings in the 1900 block of Western Avenue were built in 1862 and included Union Hall on the second floor. This was the largest place for public gatherings in the county at the time. When the relatively new Immaculate Conception Church burned in October 1890, Mary’s descendants relate that she renovated the Hall for church services. Masses were supposedly held here while the church was rebuilt. However, the City Council Minute transcriptions say the congregation met in the old church during the rebuilding. Both accounts are probably partially correct. Mary is listed in the 1863 city directory as having a saloon, but the location is unknown. It could be here or in the 1800 block of Broadway.
In 1895, William Moran had his Cash Hardware store in this block, at number 7, under Union Hall. He would keep his store in this location until sometime between 1908 and 1916. In this same period the hall was given the Fitzgerald name. There were two rooms on the second floor that were used together by the Mattoon Elks Lodge in the late 1890s to 1911 when the Moose Lodge met on the premises according to notes in the City Council Minute transcriptions.
It is very difficult to separate which business listed in the city directories were located on which properties. The address numbers seem to change regularly. Therefore this summary covers from 1900 to 1906. In addition, this block is confusing because the eastern most land is in the original plat of Mattoon, in block 114. The rest is in Noyes Addition block 85, and this is the portion of the block still standing. The Fitzgeralds owned at least lot 1 in both blocks. On generalization that can be made is that from at least 1930 to 1996 this block is mainly furniture stores, owned by various people.
In a cursory search of the grantee/grantor records from the 1850s to 1910, the author could not locate the sale of these properties by Mary Montgomery or her descendants or all of the purchases. The family believes that she owned all of Blocks 114 and 85, however, the Lane property has a deed recorded to Lane from the Noyes family. This would indicate that he owned his lot 2 in block 85 and did not rent it from Mary Montgomery. She may have owned lot 3 in block 85, this researcher was unable to locate any records under these names for that lot.