Thomas Parkman Cushing Lane came to Mattoon in 1857, aged 30, at the request of Ebenezer Noyes. Noyes had known the Lane family in Massachusetts. Lane was a Massachusetts native and graduate of Harvard University in 1851 where he studied law and Greek. Noyes wanted him to handle the sales of their land. He was Mattoon’s first practicing attorney. He would be a leader in governing and leading Mattoon for about 40 years. He planted the trees along Western Avenue with his daughter, Nannie. He is credited with also bringing the first dandelion seeds to Coles County. His first home was where Bennett School is today, and his later home was a farm where Lane Acres is currently. He served on the City Council, gave the lot at 2200 Western Avenue for the Unitarian Church, and built the building at 1908-10 Western Avenue in 1895. He was in the famous Chicago fire and came home with pneumonia. On Feb. 28, 1897, he passed away. A large collection of his and his descendants personal papers are in the collection of the Coles County Historical Society.
The history of this building is difficult to ascertain because of the changes in store numbers. Therefore, this summary will include 1908 through 1912. The only land transaction for Lane to purchase this land in the grantee/grantor records was on May 4, 1885 (might be a mistake, most entries on this page are for 1895). This record is a quit-claim deed from Ebenezer Noyes, son Rufus. It states that Rufus gives up all interest in the property at lot 2, block 85 as conveyed by Ebenezer Noyes to Lane on August 1, 1882. This was never previously recorded in the courthouse. It is unclear why Rufus would have to give up interest when Ebenezer lived until 1899. If the date is 1895, it might be explained that Lane wanted nothing to interfere with the building of this stately structure or to cloud the ownership. The land was passed to Lane’s daughter Nannie North in his will.
The first possible mention of a business in this location is in 1895. It is stated that L. O. Darnell had a dry goods store at 17 Western Avenue. It is almost impossible to determine if that is this location or not. The 1924 Sanborn Insurance map shows the building only accommodating two addresses. It appears that in the early days, 1912 was the number for the west half of this building. Then sometime in the 1930s this part was designated 1910. Note the upper ornament has been removed sometime after the 1950s