|Photos by Jessi LaRue|
The story follows the Easterly family, who just moved to DeKalb into the "queer old Keane house." The grand home once belonged to A.Q. Keane, "whom the world knew as the inventor of an important automobile part."
An inventor's home, indeed!"Queer was hardly the word for it," the book flap reads. "The house was unbelievable, with its fantastic red glass tower, hidden staircases, and the initial 'K' which appeared like a ghostly symbol on every object, from the picture frame that held the portrait of a fierce, brooding man, to the very shrubbery in the garden."
The story follows the family attempting to solve some odd mysteries surrounding the house. Some specific DeKalb nods include a "DeKalb" pennant in an image and references to Prince's Castle, the former ice cream shop, Kishwaukee River, and "old Lincoln Highway."
The family's first impressions of the house:
"It's red and pink," Ellen giggled.
"It has a necklace of red and blue glass around the porch," Mother laughed.
|A color photo of the mansion in the 1950s, provided by Steve Bigolin.|
|The depiction of the "K" house on the book cover.|
|Photo from an auction at the Haish mansion in 1955, showing the "animal" porch pillars. Image courtesy of Joiner History Room, DeKalb County Archives.|
|The posts and portrait as portrayed in the book.|
|The Jacob Haish portrait that once hung in his mansion, now on display at NIU's Founders Memorial Library.|
"Anne found lovely summer sky and clouds painted on the ceiling of her bedroom. The chandeliers downstairs were shaped like grotesque animals; the two bathtubs were large fish; the colored tile floor of the octagonal library had words imprinted here and there and a large K in the center; the newel posts of the broad stairs looked exactly like heavy dark sugar bowls with lids."
|The interior of the Haish mansion captured by photographer Roger Alexander in 1961, shortly before the house was demolished.|
|A staircase as portrayed in the book.|
|The K House's parlor as illustrated in the book.|