Galesburg is a town rich with history. Amy Tropp ’98, a double major in history and education, is doing her best to preserve that history by buying and renovating historic homes in the area, three of which are listed on Airbnb.
The project began when she bought the Custer carriage house in 2014. Built in 1923, the property was the carriage house for the home of Omer Custer, an Illinois state treasurer and president of Purington Brick Factory. Later Tropp bought what she calls the “Prairie House,” the home of the vice president of the Purington Brick Factory in 1914. She also bought the “Galesburg Great House” on East Losey in late 2021. This home was built in 1857 by Silas and Cordelia Chambers Willard, who purchased the land from Hiram Kellogg, the first president of Knox College. Silas was instrumental in bringing the CB&Q Railroad to Galesburg, directly resulting in a boom in Galesburg’s economic and population growth.
Tropp grew up near Galesburg and was familiar with the iconic homes around town. As a youth, she took long walks to explore Galesburg and its historic homes. The affordability of the homes convinced her to invest in some of Galesburg’s history.
“This is not about my personal comfort. This is about what I want to add to this community,” Tropp said. “I have lived here through the pandemic. I grew up here. My family goes back several generations.”
Today Tropp works remotely as a business intelligence analyst for UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, California. She says that Knox broadened her perspective. Making a positive impact on the community is important to her.
“If you infuse a little energy into the community, things can change.”