In June of 1893, George Schmidt purchased lots 5 and 6 of the McClure's Linden Addition. In 1901, he had borrowed $1,000 for the property, likely to build his house on lot 6, later known as 258 Hamilton Avenue. In the 1900 Elgin City Directory, Schmidt is listed at 217 Mountain Street, by the 1903 Directory, he is shown at 258 Hamilton.

Schmidt was a German immigrant and son of Caspar Schmidt who founded Elgin Butter Tub Company in 1892. Because of Elgin's dominance in the dairy industry, it also found footholds in many other associated businesses. The Elgin Butter Tub Company made the wooden tubs which were packed with butter and sold to grocers. After a strike at a rival manufacturer left many workers without jobs, they formed the Elgin Cooperative Butter Tub Company and elected Caspar Schmidt as its president in 1896. The butter tubs came in various sizes and were known as "Schmidtubs." Demand for Schmidtubs gradually decreased with the last one made in 1945.

When Caspar passed away in 1914, George took his place and ran the company for 24 years until his own passing in 1938. George's wife, Anna, continued to live in the home at 258 Hamilton for another 10 years before selling it in 1948. 

In 1955, the Magowan family bought the home. Donald Magowan was the district engineer for the State Department of Public Works and Buildings, Division of Highways.  


258 Hamilton is an example of the Free Classic Queen Anne style. Free Classic detail is found in late Queen Anne's in the late 1800s, early 1900s. It demonstrates the gradual move away from highly ornate Queen Anne's of the height of the Victorian era. Free Classic elements seen on 258 Hamilton are the tapered square porch supports, Palladian window in the roof gable, the decorative shingles in the gables and the asymmetry. The narrow, horizontal wall cladding appears to be original and wraps around the home.



Sources: 2003 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud