Mary Russell purchased the house in the Home Addition of Elgin for $2,300 in the early 1880s. Previous sales of the lot mark the sale price at roughly $400, which is too small of an amount to conclude a house was then on the property.

Mary and J. M. Russell are first listed in the Elgin City Directory as having moved into the home with their three children in 1882. J. M. was a carpenter in town, and later was listed in Elgin City Directories as a salesman.

J. M. Russell’s brothers lived with the Russell family for a time at 223 Henry Street, with both listed as working for the Elgin Watch Factory, an economic staple in the community.


223 Henry Street is a nice example of a Gable-Front folk home with Italianate features. The basic front-gabled façade is common to the Folk family which was popular in the late 1800s but exhibited features less ornate and thus less expensive. Many homes within the Gable-Front family derive stylistic tendencies from the Greek Revival movement, which can be seek in the pedimented entryway with classical columns. Often, however, Italianates will have decorative or bracketed entry supports, too.

Features that are common to the Italianate style include the narrow, rectangular windows with decorative hoods, and the boxed bay window with decorative panels.



Sources: 1992 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud