254 LINCOLN AVENUE
From 1915 until 1959, Fred L. and Mary Ackmann lived at 254 Lincoln Avenue. A January 1916 Elgin Daily News article notes that the year before, a "F.L. Ackmann" had built a new property on Lincoln Avenue for $4500. Also in 1916, the Ackmann's celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in their new house. Fred was active in Elgin where he was a member of St. Paul's Evangelical Church and owned a carpentry and woodworking business which he operated out of his own home, much to the dismay of his neighbors. In the early 1950's, his neighbors filed a lawsuit against him claiming that Ackmann's carpentry shop decreased their property values. The case made it all the way up to the Illinois Supreme Court where Ackmann's appeals were denied and he ultimately had to cease operation and store his lumber elsewhere.
Fred and Mary lived in the home together until his passing in 1959, when the will stated the house be turned over to his grandson, Fred J. Ackmann. Fred was a Navy veteran of WWII and a mechanical engineer by training. Also avidly involved in the Elgin community outside of his professional life, he worked as a building inspector for the City of Elgin and later was promoted to head of the Inspection Bureau, retiring after 20 years of civil service. Fred J. did not live at 254 Lincoln, instead he rented the home for the 37 years for additional income.
254 Lincoln Avenue is an American Foursqaure, considered a contributing structure to the historic significance of the area. The American Foursquare is a subtype of the Prairie style with its low pitch roof with wide eaves, symmetry, one story porch and an emphasis on horizontal lines.
Architectural characteristics of this style seen in 254 Lincoln Avenue specifically include its symmetrical, simple box shape standing at two and a half stories tall. The low hipped roof and overhanging eaves are also indicative of the American Foursquare along with the off-center front entryway, full front porch with bracketed supports and double hung sash windows.
Sources: 2006 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud