219 W. HIGHLAND AVENUE
219 W. Highland Avenue is another of Elgin's six remaining cobblestone structures. It was built in 1853 as the stables for the Waverly House Hotel, which was located just to the east at the corner of State St and Highland Ave.
William Kimball built the 3-story Waverly House in 1852-53 to take advantage of the new rail traffic on the west side. First-class accommodations attached travelers and its 100-person-capacity ballroom was the site of many grand balls and parties. By 1880, however, the Waverly was in decline and it closed in 1881.
It was subsequently converted to a city court and jail, a condensed milk factory, a bottling plant and a malted milk factory before being torn down in 1917. Who would have guessed that this humble stable would outlive the grand hotel by 100 years or more? It is truly a historic treasure.
219 W. Highland Avenue is considered a secondary building with Federal style characteristics such its prominent segmental arched door and window openings, and the quoining found at the building’s corners.
Similar to 302 W. Chicago Street, the building’s masonry is made up of cobblestones that are embedded in lime mortar. This was a common building construction at the time the Erie Canal was finished in 1825. The stones used were rounded in shape due to the deposits left by glaciers. Although this is a common building construction in New York, many took that tradition to the Midwest.
Sources: Near West Neighbors Association; Audio: TextAloud