Today the Patrick Haley Mansion is occupied as a private event facility – again a place for festive celebrations. Having restored the unique craftsmanship and replaced many of the original fixtures, the Patrick C. Haley Mansion has recaptured the ambiance of the turn of the century that so many of us still enjoy to this day and will continue to enjoy into the future.
The History of Patrick C. Haley
It’s castle-like structure is engaging and enchanting
Patrick Columbus Haley was born on the festive holiday St. Patrick, March 17, 1849, a native of Saranac, New York, his family moved to Will County in 1852. He received his law degree from the University of Michigan in 1871, and began his practice in Joliet the following year. Patrick C. Haley became a successful attorney representing the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern; the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, Michigan Central Railroads, and the Sanitary District of Chicago.
In addition to achieving an enviable reputation as a lawyer Patrick C. Haley gained recognition as a progressive politician. As a steadfast supporter of the Democratic Party, he served many elective offices including Mayor of Joliet, City Attorney, Ward Alderman, Chairman of the Will County Democratic Central Committee and Democratic Candidate for Congress.
Patrick C. Haley was known professionally and socially as a cordial, expressive and good-hearted man. These genial qualities were reflected in his personal life. Patrick C. Haley won the heart of Mary Anastasia Darcy, the daughter of a successful cattle buyer and real estate owner, whose family were prominent citizens and early settlers of Joliet.
The young couple were married on December 1, 1875. Their devotion to each other and commitment to their family was evident. After fifteen years of marriage and the parents of six children, with three more to follow, Patrick and Mary Haley agreed it was time to build a large residence on their property at the corner of Center and Marion Streets. Patrick and Mary were proud of their land in St. Patricks neighborhood located west of the Des Plaines River and West of the city’s business center.
Prestigious families were known to build homes along Center Street on the bluff overlooking the city of Joliet. Haley contracted architect Frank Shaver Allen to design their dream mansion.
Frank Shaver Allen (1860-1930) was a nationally known Architect and Egyptologist, having contributed objects discovered during excavations in Egypt to many American museums. He is locally famous for designing Joliet Central High School, Christ Episcopal Church in downtown Joliet, and the Barber Building, to name a few. He was a genius who made spectacular use of locally quarried limestone.
Construction began in 1891 and the mansion was completed two years later. Family history states that the illustrious three-story residence, complete with a distinguished tower and extensive porches, depleted one quarry of its’ stone. To honor their Irish heritage, Gaelic insignias had been cut in stone on the front porch facing Center Street.
Although admiring the exterior of the 8,600 square foot castle-like structure is engaging, it is even more enchanting to be invited inside to marvel at its intriguing interior. The Haley’s entertained to a great capacity in the spacious rooms and parlors adorned with lavish furniture, hand-crafted embellishments and elaborate fireplaces. The intricate detailing on the woodwork which consists of solid mahogany, cherry and oak, added splendor. During its initial heyday, famous guests included politicians, city founders, explorers and newspaper publishers. But perhaps no event at its time could have been as ceremonious as the marriage of Patrick and Mary Haley’s daughter, Angela, to Harry Keeley on November 29, 1917.
After Patrick C. Haley’s death on February 2, 1928, just two months following his amiable wife’s death, the mansion was occupied by three of their unmarried daughters. Margaret, Madeline and Genevieve did not imitate their parents’ flair for entertaining and the mansion was no longer renowned for its social significance.