In 1892, 116 N. Porter was built for Fred H. Ackemann by Henry Jensen at a cost of $3,000. Fred was born on February 2, 1869 and immigrated to the Elgin area in November of 1887 from Winzlar, Hanover, Germany, with his brothers. He worked a few months in his brother William's dry goods store and then took a position with William Grote's real estate office, a position he would hold for decades.

In 1894, Fred and his brother, Henry F., erected the business block on Highland Avenue, which the company still bears their name. The following year, all five brothers - William D., Henry F., Fred H., August W., and Conrad F. - formed a co-partnership and opened the department store known as "Ackemann Brothers, the well-known slogan of their advertising was, "We supply the people from the cradle to the grave!"

Fred H., however, was not too active in the family business. His interests lay in his real estate partnership with Grote and Seybold Reed-Pipe Organ Company. Other positions he held include Vice President of the Courier Publishing Company, Treasurer of the Elgin National Gas & Oil Company, and he also served as a director of the Gail Borden Library.

Fred H. and Christie Deuchler of Dundee were married in 1895 and they continued living in this house until 1902 when they moved to 802 Douglas Avenue


116 N. Porter Street was built in the Eastlake style and has a variety of siding including: the first floor with clapboard; the second with hexagonal shingles; and square shingled above that. Note the parallelogram shingles in the south pediment and the wavy siding in the porch pediment. The unique sloped roof forms a strong architectural element.

Some Eastlake influences include the porch columns and details. This house has been a two-family home since 1910, though it returned back to a single family residence in the late 1980's. 116 N. Porter Street is considered Elgin's first residence in the Fox Valley to win the Chicago Painted Ladies Contest in 1991. 



Sources: 1989 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud