20 N. Crystal Street once housed the Illinois Hydraulic Stone and Construction Company. The Illinois Hydraulic Stone and Construction Company was founded in 1906 by Carl J. Seagren, William Kallasch, Stanely White and Harry Leach. Some of the notable projects that the Illinois Hydraulic Stone and Construction Company were a part of include the Laura Davidson Sears Academy of Fine Arts (210 Academy Place) and the Larkin Center (1212 Larkin Avenue).

In the company’s infancy, it manufactured concrete blocks compressed by hydraulic pressure, however, this was phased out of the company’s business plan starting in 1913 when they began to focus their attention on road paving as their primary business. As the company progressed, they began a commercial, industrial and institutional building program. When the company grew large enough, they had the building at 20 N Crystal Street built in 1928. When the founders retired in 1947, the company was turned over to several employees who had the company name changed to the Illinois Hydraulic Construction Company. They occupied the site until moving to South Elgin in 1980.


20 N. Crystal Street is considered a Vernacular Commercial style structure with minimalistic details. The raised, central parapet capped with limestone coping, the recessed brick detailing found directly below the raised, central parapet, limestone sills and cream colored brick covering only the east elevation are its only architectural features that give the building depth and uniqueness. The building, overall, has seen minimal alterations except for the removal of three windows found at its north elevation and one window at its south elevation. 


Sources: Illinois Hydraulic Construction Company; Audio: TextAloud