In 1887, a building permit was issued to John Schultz for a two story frame dwelling on Leonard Street. No permit was found for a one story cottage, as seen in the photos of 18 Leonard above, however. The documentation that has been found associated with the lot that 18 Leonard sits on, only amounts to the paperwork for its purchase by Gustav Schuring.

Schuring was a German immigrant who came to Elgin in the early 1880's. The house on Leonard came to be the place where he and his wife, Friederike (Holtz) Schuring, made their family, raising six children in the small home. Gustav made his money working at Wolf Brothers Flour and Feed Company.

In October of 1911, Gustav and his wife celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, at the house of their son, Fred, in East Dundee with 100 friends. When Gustav died in 1922, he had 25 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren, and was preceded in death by his wife who passed away in 1915.

In 1907, Gustav Schuring deeded his home at 18 Leonard Street to his youngest daughters, Emma and Rose. The two stayed in the family home until 1957.


18 Leonard Street is a Gable-Front Cottage. The Gable-Front family was extremely popular in the late 19th, early 20th centuries given its affordability for the working class. Touches of many styles can usually be seen on these homes, generally characterized by multiple influences rather than one individual style type. 

Here, at 18 Leonard Street, we can see Greek Revival elements such as the columns and front-facing gable invoking the pediments of Ancient Greek temples. The banding at the eave line as well as the triple window arrangement on the south elevation, and the decoration above the 2-over-2 windows are also indicative of the Greek Revival style. Additionally, the front-gabled layout of 18 Leonard is also sometimes called a shotgun style. Essentially a hall-and-parlor side-gabled folk home started being turned on its side to accommodate smaller lots in urban areas.



Sources: 2003 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud