1038 BELLEVUE AVENUE
Elgin's far north end developed out of farm lands owned by Seymour, Boag, McBride, Tefft, and Lovell. The area became filled in with houses at a more leisurely pace than the areas immediately surrounding the original plat of the town. Richard Botsford, a well known Elgin attorney, in partnership with William Grote and David Sherwood, bought a piece of property annexed o the city, and named "R. N. Botsford's Addition" in 1891. It was bounded on the north and south by Congdon and Cooper Avenues and on the east by Dundee Avenue. The west boundary was Grote and Church's 2nd Addition.
Lot 5, block 5 of Botsford's Addion laid vacant for over 55 years. The estate of William Grote, in 1921, included the lot which 1038 Bellevue now occupies. By January of 1946, Elgin builder, Arthur Levine, was issued a certificate of occupancy for the new home he just built. In 1947 Wallace and Marian Archer bought the property but promptly sold it to Karl and Elvera Sommermeyer.
Karl was a patent attorney for McGraw Electric, makers of the famous Toastmaster toaster. By 1962, the Sommermeyers sold the home to Mrs. Beth Ferguson, a physical education teacher at Elgin High School.
1038 Bellevue Avenue is a one-and-a-half-story gable front and wing, minimal traditional style home. It is clad in skintled brick to give the building a unique texture. Skintled brick was originated by Chicago architects who saw the potential of using Common Brick as an artistic element. Common bricks were mainly used for their strength and fire resistance and were not deemed high quality because of their variation in color. This type of brick was later used for its artistic value by setting them roughly at different angles, projecting and recessing them beyond the wall line.
The simplicity of the house and its similarity to other of the post-World War II era suggests a working man's house, made available to people of modest means and with materials which became more plentiful following the end of the war.
Sources: 1996 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud