Residence of John N. Miller
108 North Cedar Street
Constructed around 1859, this was originally the residence of DeKalb County Sherriff and pioneer John N. Miller who operated a foundry next door to the south. By 1879, the home had been acquired by attorney and DeKalb County Clerk of Courts, John W. Baxter. Baxter was a staunch Prohibitionist and was known to stand in front of local saloons to convince patrons from entering. Baxter’s stance on alcohol was something he had in common with carriage maker and town benefactor Charles Eckhart.
However, when it came to business, John W. Baxter backed a competitor of the Eckhart Carriage Company. He served as the first President of the Zimmerman Manufacturing Company when it incorporated around 1890, as the company shifted towards making buggies and eventually automobiles. The Baxters also had an extended family connection to the Eckharts through the their son George. By 1904, the Baxter family had converted the barn for 108 North Cedar Street, located directly to the east along 6th Street, as their new residence under the guidance of George who studied engineering at Purdue University. George Baxter had a brief career with Ford Motor Company, established an auto garage at the southwest corner of 5th and Main Streets around 1920, and had married Jessie Boland. The future Mrs. George Baxter was the niece of Frank Eckhart by marriage, and her grandfather Michael, was the Superintendent of the Eckhart Carriage Company. Between the two homes, the Baxters had called the corner of 6th and Cedar Streets home for over a century. The last of the family occupied 211 East 6th Street until the late 1980s.