164 Plum Street was built by Reuben Tuck in 1890. Reuben was one of Elgin's pioneers who bought Block 33, bounded by Douglas Avenue, North Division Street (now Jefferson Avenue), Spring Street and Plum Street in 1869. Plum Street may have gotten its name from the fruit or may have gotten its name from Carl Plum, a surveyor and civil engineer that was engaged in the practice for more than fourteen years before being appointed the Civil Engineer for the City of Elgin. Tuck continued to divide Block 33 and built 164 Plum Street right before selling it to William Winchester that same year for $1,250. 

William Winchester was a physician and brother of Dr. Edgar Winchester of Elgin. He was a native of Canada, coming to Elgin in 1854. He was married to Helen Stone, daughter of Charles Stone and sister of Dr. A. N. Stone. William and Helen had three children together. Dr. Winchester had an office in various places in Elgin. He enjoyed his house for only a short time as he died on November 20, 1893. Following his death, his wife sold the house for $1,300 and went to live with their daughter, Clara, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The home was sold to Charles Shoemaker. Shoemaker sold the house in 1901 to George Schaller, son of Victoria Schaller, who lived at 272 Division Street, today's St. Joseph Church Rectory. Under Schaller's ownership, the house was a rental. William Shannon bought the house in 1906 and it stayed in possession of the Shannon family for the next thirty-eight years. 


164 Plum Street is considered a contributing property in the Spring-Douglas Historic District. 164 Plum Street is a gable front worker's cottage with a L-shaped facing entry. Porch supports are simple, round columns with round newel posts with ball-shaped caps. Overall, the detail of the home is simple and easy type for local builders to construct. Aluminum siding was installed in the 1970s but was removed during a recent restoration. 



Sources: 2008 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud