Belleville couple renovates home into Victorian time capsule | Home & Garden

More than 160 years after its construction, James and Maureen Morris have restored their Belleville home to its original Victorian splendor.

Walking into the Morrises’ home feels like stepping back in time. Fires crackle in wood-burning fireplaces. At the top of each hour, a 10-foot grandfather clock chimes in the foyer.

The couple managed to turn their space into a picture of Victorian living. Other than a TV in the upstairs den, all of the Morrises’ furniture are age appropriate to when the house was built.

The Morrises knew they wanted a historical home when they began looking for property 20 years ago. Their current house brims with history. Belleville businessman Thomas Alva Throp built the house in 1859. The house’s original windows and pine floors still remain. A cistern rests in the attic that once provided the house’s bathroom with running water — a rare commodity before the Civil War.

Despite their devotion to history, the Morrises are not historians by trade.

“Sometimes, people ask if I teach at a university,” Maureen says. “When I tell them what I did before I retired, they don’t believe it.”

Maureen was as a fingerprint specialist at the Illinois Bureau of Identification. Before that, she worked three years on death row at the largest male maximum security prison in Illinois. James, also now retired, was an industrial electrician.