155 S. Gifford was constructed between 1873-1875 for Increase Child Bosworth. Increase was born in  Saratoga County, New York and at the age of 24, moved to the then unincorporated city of Chicago where he joined his brother in business. By age 26, he had established a merchandising business in Dundee, Illinois. In 1866, at the age of 54, Increase moved to Elgin where he resided and engaged in merchandising until his death in 1888. Most notably, he became president of the First National Bank; one of the founders of the Chicago & Northwestern, the Chicago & Pacific and Fox Valley Railroads; trustee of the Northern Illinois Hospital for the Insane; the trustee of Chicago University, the Elgin Academy and the Baptist Theological Seminary; and an alderman from 1874-1875. This home was also home to Increase's son, Henry I. Bosworth, who held various positions at the First National Bank including vice president. Henry was also the City's treasurer in 1887, 1891 and 1892.


155 S. Gifford is an expressive and detailed example of the late Italianate style with Gothic (steep gabled roof) and Second Empire (mansard roof and garret dormer window topping the two story bays) influences. The characterized elements which define the Italianate style on this home are the paired brackets along the cornice; projecting gable with its high pitched roof; long, slender windows with a full round sash; and triangular and arched window hoods. This home is listed as a significant structure in the Elgin Historic District.



Sources: 2000 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud