| Click on image titles for larger views. || |
Gate Lodge is one of the last buildings owned by the family of the early leadership of Madison, Jersey, and Greene Counties in southern Illinois. It also remains a symbol of the upper class that dominated the development of this area and became associated with St. Louis industrial leaders. Unlike the simple buildings in Elsah made of local random stones, Gate Lodge is built of coursed cut stone with cut stone along the eaves and for the lintels and sills.
Gate Lodge was an entrance (built in 1894) for the original estate, Notch Cliffe. Notch Cliffe was built in 1872 by Lucy Ames, the daughter of James Semple, the founder of Elsah. Notch Cliffe burned in 1911. After Principia College acquired the land in 1930, Gate Lodge was used as a dwelling until 1993, when there was a major flood in the area and it was decided not to occupy the building as a dwelling again.
In 1827, James Mason purchased land in what would be called southern Jersey County. Native people were forced to leave Illinois. According to the Elsah History Newsletter, in 1852 James Semple purchased a portion of the land called lower Elsah from "a group of property owners including William H. Allen, Addison Green, and assorted smaller landholders.