Dr. Eells House symbolizes history, 181 years later

In 1833, Dr. Richard Eells built a home overlooking the Mississippi River and the slave territory of Missouri.

Dr. Eells was an abolitionist originally from Connecticut who established his house as both a stop on the Underground Railroad and a symbol of America's new direction towards equality.

The Friends of the Dr. Richard Eells House organization held an open house Sunday, allowing people to recognize what the house stands for so many years later.

"People could come here in Quincy and know that there was help. So they could continue on toward freedom," said Mettazee Morris, a board member of the preservation group.

It's scary to think there was a time when this home could have vanished from the abolition storyline altogether.

"We bought it in 1992, and before it had been abandoned for almost 30 years. It was really falling in upon itself," said organization president John Cornell.

"We've come a long way now with restoring it back to what it was like back in the 1800's," Morris added.

The Friends of the Dr. Richard Eells House have preserved every bit of history within the walls. That history comes to life the moment you step inside the door.

"Really the key thing here is that this was a very volatile and active time in American political culture and our history during the pre-Civil War era, and it's just a great piece of American history. It's great for Quincy, but it's a great U.S. history site," Cornell said.

Without Dr. Eells and this home, America's narrative would be different. That's why it holds such a special significance, especially in the month of February.

"I think it's really important for us to recognize Black History Month, but not just in February. There are a lot of things that African Americans have done to contribute to what we enjoy in this country and I think it's really important to acknowledge that in February but also year-round,"

Fortunately, more than 180 years after it was built, this house still has a home, in Quincy and in the history books.

If you'd like to see the Dr. Richard Eells house, it's open April through November, every Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m.

You can also arrange for private tours and special group accommodations.