164 LINCOLN AVENUE
In 1915, a man named Joseph Fordrescher deeded the easterly 60 feet of lot 11 to his prospective son-in-law, Herman Bohnenstengel. Herman and Hazel Fordrescher then moved into 164 Lincoln Avenue, living there together until 1924. For a time, Herman owned his own music store on Chicago Street in downtown Elgin. After marrying Hazel, Herman began following in his father-in-law's footsteps, working under him in the men's clothing business. In 1937, Herman bought the family business and began operating it as Herman's Store for Men on South Grove Avenue. In 1955, after retiring from the men's clothing business, Herman worked for an investment company until his death in 1964.
Hazel and Herman's stay in 164 Lincoln did not last as long as their business ties to the community, selling the house to John and Margaret Kelly in 1924. John and Margaret only lived in the home together for two short years, however, as John passed away in 1926. Margaret remarried to Alfred Hurtig, a Watch Factory employee and the two lived in the house until 1942.
From 1942 until 1960 Virginia Bilisoly, an employee at Elgin's popular department store, Joseph Spiess, lived in the home. When Virginia went to sell the property in 1960, it took only 30 days for it to sell to Don and Beverly Russell who owned and cared for 164 Lincoln for 17 years until 1977.
164 Lincoln Avenue is an excellent example of Prairie Style architecture and is considered by the nomination form for the Spring-Douglas Historic District as contributing to the historic significance of the area. The Prairie style was largely popularized by Frank Lloyd Wright and featured architectural elements acknowledging the horizontality of the Midwest's landscape. Some common features of the Prairie style seen here in 164 Lincoln include the low pitched roof with wide eave overhangs; a hipped former with a horizontal band of windows; a full width, deep front porch; and the stucco exterior material. Additionally, the horizontal wood bands and wood window surrounds are also indicative of this style.
Sources: 2004 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud