Belting House, John Replinger, Architect
Last month my daughter Fraya and I drove past the Belting house on Brownfield Road, northeast of Urbana, Illinois. We were taking the scenic route back to Urbana from St. Joseph, where we had dropped off her husband for his long Sunday run. We pulled up in front of the house, placed well back from the road. A gate blocked passage to the curved gravel driveway. I had taken a photo several years back and was hoping to get a better shot. The house seemed more visible now, less obscured by trees and brush, and I set up to shoot over the gate.
Someone working in the yard 50 yards away looked up. She noticed our snooping and my camera. “I like your house,” I called out. “My father was the architect.”
She returned our greeting, dropped her work tools, and called out to a companion. I thought of the line from the Wizard of Oz: “That’s a horse of a different color. Come on in.” Elle and Rick swung open the gate, and we were soon learning how they chose to buy the house, what brought them to Urbana, how they were using the property. In turn, I provided some background on the original owner, Natalia Belting, a history professor who studied French Colonial period. The design of Belting’s house was inspired by the Pierre Menard House near Kaskaskia in southwest Illinois, which Dad visited, probably with my mom, brothers, and me in tow.
Elle and Rick graciously took us on a tour of their house and let us take a few photos.