American Woman's League Building


The American Woman’s (AWL) League Chapter House in Andover was designed by a St. Louis architectural firm. It was built in 1911-1912 at a cost of $1,200, fully paid by U.S. publisher Edwin S. Lewis of St. Louis. The building materials used was natural woods, stucco and brick. The dominant horizontal character of the chapter houses reflected the contemporary architectural qualities of the "prairie style" which had recently evolved out of the Chicago school of architects led by Frank Lloyd Wright. The building materials and interior details exemplified the ideals of the arts and crafts movement taking place in America at that time.

The American Woman’s League was a political and social organization created to promote feminist causes, particularly the women’s suffrage movement. A chapter could be formed if there were enough members in proportion to the community’s population. Lewis would build a chapter house if a chapter obtained a lot for it. The members of this chapter house were generally poor people who strained all their resources to come in on the ground floor.

The AWL building became the hub of social life during the next few years; and, later was used by the Andover American Legion and Auxiliary as a meeting house, the Andover School District as part of its school buildings, and as a private residence. In 1981, this building was added to the National Registry of Historic Places. In 1986, a fire caused extensive damage to the then private residence. Shortly after the blaze, the Andover Historical Society purchased the building and had it restored to look as close to the original as it could be made. It is used as a meeting house for the Historical Society and to display historical items. The building is located on Locust St., across the street from the west side of the Andover Lake Park, and is open during Andover’s Festival the first weekend in June, and for group tours by calling: 309 476-8228, 309 845-0168, or 309 521-8659.

Listing Details

Locust St. & 5th Ave., Andover, Illinois, 61233