Restoring Ingersoll's Birthplace


This house has been restored three times since Ingersoll's death. It was purchased by the Ingersoll family in 1920 and has never since been used as a residence.

In 1921, it was restored by a distinguished committee whose members included Thomas Edison, Luther Burbank, Edgar Lee Masters, Carrie Chapman Catt, and others. Two thousand people attended the dedication on August 11, 1921.

Thereafter the house served Dresden for several years as a community center and public library.

After several years the operating committee ran out of funds. The house fell into disrepair until it was restored again by atheist leader Joseph Lewis in 1954.

At the second dedication on August 14, 1954, Lewis read a statement by Thomas Alva Edison: "I think that Ingersoll had all the attributes of a perfect man, and in my opinion no finer personality ever existed."

The house operated as an Ingersoll museum into the mid-1960's. Then funds ran out again. The musuem collection was scattered and the house began to detiorate.

The birthplace came very close to being demolished, and was briefly owned by the Village of Dresden.

In 1987 it was acquired by the Robert Green Ingersoll Memorial Committee. At that time the present restoration began.


Aging Back Porch

Back porch prior to restoration.
Falling Lamp

A falling lamp prior to restoration.
Aging Upstairs

Upstairs prior to restoration.
Aging Room

The Kitchen prior to restoration. The room gets its name from the dry sink (between door and window) which was removed during restoration work.
Restoration

Restoration of current Local History room. Note exposed original framing members.
Restoration

Restoration of upstairs front room (now the Period Room).
Restoration

Restoration of current Village Historian's office. The stub chimney supported on wooden struts would have ventilated a wood stove or other self- contained heat source.