159 Hill Avenue was built in 1922 for James and Mary Jacobson for $3,000. During a renovation in the late 1990's, an original piece of a cabinet casing was removed and inscribed on the back were the words, "Jacobson Job." James was employed as the fireman for the Elgin Watch Factory from 1917 until his retirement in 1959. His only son, Elmer, also worked at the Watch Factory. Elmer was a 1931 graduate of the Elgin High School and began working in the Finishing department in 1938. He met Guyla Griebel, who also worked at the factory, and eventually married. The couple, and their two daughters, lived on Standish Street. James and Mary Jacobson lived at 159 Hill Avenue until 1961.

The home was then sold to Alfred and Lauretta Watermann. Alfred was the Superintendent of the City Sanitation Department. His family lived at 159 Hill Avenue for 36 years.


159 Hill Avenue is an excellent example of a Craftsman Style Bungalow. This home has several distinctive features that allow for its inclusion into this particular style including its gabled roof with a gabled front dormer; an elevated porch with tapered columns; the use of natural colors; and its original wood windows that vary from 3-over-1, 4-over-1 and 5-over-1 lights. This home was built in the Elgin Historic District where many of the homes were built prior to the 1920's. This later addition to the area makes it a unique architectural gem in Elgin's first historic district.



Sources: 1998 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud