231 Hamilton Avenue was built as a rental property by builders, John A. Kenyon and Son in 1908. John was a contractor who began a business with his brother, Albert, constructing dairy barns in the Elgin area, later dissolving that business. John and his son, Arthur, were known throughout Elgin as contractors who built many finer homes located in this area. The first occupant of 231 Hamilton was John Zengerle and then became occupied by Reverend A. F. Purkiss, a pastor at First Baptist Church. The next occupant was Reverend Merlin Shull, who was connected to the Church of the Brethren. John passed away in 1944, leaving the property to his son Arthur, who then sold it in 1952 to Reverend Shull and the General Brotherhood of the Church of the Brethren.


231 Hamilton is built in the American Foursquare typology, which became a common building type at the turn of the 20th century and into its first decades. It reflects simplicity and symmetry and was a relief from the "busy-ness" of the proceeding Victorian era. 231 Hamilton is a square, two story house with a hipped roof that features small hipped dormers on its sides and front facing gable. The second and first stories are separated by a horizontal band. The upper story is clad in shingles while the lower story is clad in narrow, horizontal siding. A hipped roof porch overs the front facade and contains simple, round supports. 

Decorative detail found on this simple house is the use of evenly spaced brackets in the front gabled roof and under the wide eaves of the hipped roof. The house is painted in a subtle color with a vibrant color used to outline the windows, horizontal banding, and cornice line of the gabled roof.



Sources: 2008 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud