In 1816, Emory Peter Rogers (b.1795, d. 1859) came from Massachusetts and settled on five acres west of the Kaskaskia-Cahokia Trail - in the area now known as Waterloo. He named this area Peterstown.
Rogers, known as the "Merchant Prince," operated a brickyard, a carding mill, a cider mill, carriage factory, grist mills, a rope factory and a quarry. In addition, he operated a general store and created a large commercial business - which had markets in Saint Louis, Missouri and New Orleans, Louisiana. He even owned a steamboat, the India, which traveled up and down the Mississippi River.
Just to the south of Peterstown, was an area that the French called La Bellefontaine or translated to "the beautiful spring." Captain James Moore, his family, Revolutionary War soldiers, along with their families arrived to the site in the spring of 1782. Patrick Henry, Governor of Virginia, issued land grants as payment to those that served in the Revolutionary War. This is when James Moore decided to cal La Bellefontaine home. This was the first-permanent American settlement in the Northwest Territory.
A creek which runs through present-day Waterloo once divided the two rivaling settlements of Bellefontaine and Peterstown. An old legend says that in 1818, an Irishman by the name of Charles Carroll moved to the are. To the astonishment of the settlers of Peterstown and Bellefontaine, Carroll built his house on one side of the creek and his barn on the other. He said "Begorra, I'll give ye's both your Waterloo."
Waterloo was laid out as a village in 1818 by Daniel Cook and George Forquer. This is also the same year that Illinois became a state, December 3rd, 1818. Prior to 1818, this area was part of Virginia.
Constructed from the early 1800s to 1830, Peterstown House was built as a stagecoach stop and today it stands as a testament of time and as a tribute to the rich and vibrant history of Waterloo.
The structure housed a tavern, general store and second-floor ballroom, which doubled as the inn.
The building transformed from a stagecoach stop to a boarding house around the turn of the 20th century. The boarding house had three apartment units. By 1973, the house was scheduled for demolition, but, was spared when Alfred Mueller and other citizens of Waterloo formed the Peterstown Heritage Society. They purchased the historic structure and saved it from the wrecking ball. The museum opened to the public in 1973 and took years of painstaking work to restore the building.
In late 2019, another historical restoration began. The first phase started in August 2019 with a sidewalk replacement and revamping the rear stone porch floor. Vinyl siding (which was put on in the early to mid 1990s) was replaced in December 2019. The restoration has brought the structure to near-original appearance.