Calmer House Gallery was established within Jolietís East Side National Register Historic District in a late 19th century structure where contemporary artistic visions were shown in a traditional aesthetic setting. Our goal was to provide a venue for both established and emerging members of the photographic arts community. From December 2006 to February 2013 the gallery hosted showings for 29 different artists. Four directors of the artist-run cooperative each presented one show a year; visiting fine art photographers were selected by the board from recommendations by the gallery director.
The Calmer House Gallery was housed in Calmer House at 352 Union Street in Joliet, Illinois, on the main floor off of Grant Street. Calmer House was built in 1880 for $20,000 by Michael Calmer, who owned Calmer Dry Goods store in Joliet, was a City Treasurer and Vice President of a bank. The house is Italianate, pressed red brick with over 20 rooms. The grand sitting room, the kitchen/dining room, the garden level living room, and the master bedroom are each approximately 30 by 20 feet. The oak tree near the corner of Grant and Union is the largest in Joliet.
Calmer House was turned into 7 apartments and eventually 11 units. In 1979 Thomas and Susan Roach purchased the house from the owner for $500. It had been abandoned for two years and was condemned. The Roaches moved into the basement apartment in January of 1981. They were forced to move upstairs into the unfinished main floor after eye-level flood waters washed through the garden level in June.
The house is now finished with the exception of the front entry room. Calmer House is listed on the National Register of historic homes and has been featured in the Herald News and the Chicago Tribune.
The Calmer House Gallery closed its doors to the public in 2013 after presenting photography from 29 amazing artists.