In an application to the National Register of Historic Places from 1974 regarding the West Bluff Historic District, which included Randolph, Moss and High streets, this was written about the property:
Edward S. Easton Residence
1125 West Main
Edward Easton was one of Peoria’s wealthiest citizens, active in grain dealing, transportation, and real estate. He took a major role in the organization of the Peoria Board of Trade and served as its president in 1877. The house is now a mortuary.
Architectural and Historical; Significance
Converse Manor, originally known as Hillcrest Mansion, was built in 1880 by Edward S. Easton and his wife, Sarah, as their primary residence.
Edward Easton made his fortune in the grain distilling business. He and Sarah were prominent, well-known citizens of Peoria who entertained often.
The home was designed by a Swedish architect, and built in the Victorian style with Second Empire elements, most notably the mansard roofline, which extends from the top level of the house to down around the upper-story windows.
The building cost more than $30,000, in an era when most grand homes were constructed for $5,000 to $10,000.
The home incorporates European architectural elements the Eastons admired during their extensive travels abroad, including floor tiles from England, ceiling fresco paintings (which were unfortunately painted over long ago) and delicate adornments using ebony, marble and etched glass.
The original ballroom chandelier now hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Presidents Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt are rumored to have been guests here.
In the time since the Eastons called Hillcrest Mansion home, the building changed hands many times and stood empty for decades, falling into a state of disrepair.
In the 1960s, its owners were finally granted permission to raze the building – thankfully a project that would fall through three times.
In 1997, Converse bought the manor and began the process of restoring this local treasure back to its former glory.