The Mansion of Golconda has been a hotel since the mid 1920’s. The Gilbert House has been an important gem in the history of Golconda since it was constructed in 1896. It was a refuge for locals flooded out in 1937. Most recently the mansion had a two decade run as a successful B&B and fine-dining restaurant.
The Riverview Mansion Hotel will continue this long tradition of success in providing service to the local community and visitors. Significantly it will attract new visitors to the town, as well as offer additional local amenities. Southern Illinois is known for wine production and the mansion’s location in the Shawnee Forest and along the Ohio River make its location right where the traveler wants to be.
John Gilbert- Original Mansion Occupant
from:History of Massac County by O.J. Page
Mr. Gilbert was born in Golconda, Pope county, Illinois, October 13, 1833, the son of John Gilbert, Sr., an emigrant from Pennsylvania. Mrs. Gilbert, the mother, was Miss Cornelia Bucklin, formerly of Rhode Island.
John Gilbert, Jr., attended the early common schools. In 1874 he entered the bank as a bookkeeper with W.P. Sloan & Co., bankers. In 1877 the firm Sloan & Gilbert and in 1889 Mr. Gilbert purchased the interest of Mr. Sloan, the firm again changing to John Gilbert, Jr. & Co. In 1897 the firm of John Gilbert, Jr., & Co. and the Pope County State Bank were consolidated. Mr. Gilbert is today the president and manager.
Miss Edmonie Kidd became Mr. Gilbert's first wife and died in 1891. He later married Miss Lucy Morse, his present wife. The children are Raymond, Ethel and John.
Fraternally Mr. Gilbert is an Odd Fellow, Knight of Honor, Knight of Pythias and Modern Woodman. Politically he is intensely republican and is the present chairman of the county central committee, rolling up the largest majority for the whole ticket Nov. 6, 1900, ever given his party in the county. He served one term on the county board and has been mayor of Golconda for ten consecutive terms, an honor almost unprecedented. Socially Mr. Gilbert is highly esteemed, and in business he is a success.
More on the Gilbert Family Mansion
The late John Gilbert, Sr., who made his mark as a banker, merchant and the operator of river steamboats in Golconda, Illinois and Evansville, Indiana, ordered the Mansion built in 1894 for his son, John Gilbert Jr., and his family. Later a mayor of Golconda, John Jr. played an important role in commerce in the town in the early years of the 20th Century.
The massive brick structure occupied a prime spot on "Silk Stocking Row", the choice waterfront residential area in Golconda, and no expense was spared to make the Riverview Mansion a showplace.
A tour of the Mansion offers some interesting glimpses of the workmanship that went into the construction of the house. With six spacious rooms on each floor, separated by 18-inch thick masonry walls, there are nearly 8,000 square feet under its gabled slate roof. A few of the original curved pressed glass windows remain, the wavy distortion adding to their gleaming charm.
An original stained glass window can be viewed on the staircase landing between the first and second floor, and there are six tiled fireplaces; three on the first floor and three upstairs.
The woodwork, an especially attractive and well preserved feature, is a prime example of the carpenters' art. The level of detail in the wood moldings rival the White House in Washington, DC. Even with the power tools available today, the intricate detailing would cost a fortune to duplicate. The beautiful arched hand carved piece in the front hall has a Library of Congress patent plate on the lower left edge - the craftsman was understandably proud of his design. Sliding "pocket doors" separate the main floor rooms, and can be closed for privacy, or just to display the sheen of the magnificent polished wood.