Then and Now
March 31, 1998
by Tom McGehee
The landmark residence of Joshus Kennedy, Jr. arrived by 1857 to occupy the south east corner of Government and South Dearborn Streets. Kennedy had prospered in the grocery trade as a principal in the firm of Kennedy, Nevill, and Jones on North Commerce Street.
Kennedy had married well. Mary Emanuel Kennedy was the daughter of Jonathan Emanuel whose fortune came early on in the cotton trade. The elegant Emanuel home on the corner of Government and Joachim streets was one of the finest in the south.
Kennedy did not have long to enjoy his new home. He was one of too many casualties of the Civil War. His widow eventually remarried and traded her home for her sister's interest in the Emanuel house in 1878.
Virginia Mitchell occupied 607 Government Street until her death in 1909. Her son John had built next door in 1892 and in this view his porch makes an interesting contrast to the grand portico to the west.
After Mrs. Mitchell's death the property was acquired by the Seaman's Bethel and later became a post of the American Legion in whose hands it remains. The house to the east was razed for a gasoline station which never materialized. Only a small fraction of the cast iron fence which once surrounded the corner has survived.
Credit: USA Archives, Blake McNeely Collection