260 Gifford Place's history started when the lot of land was first purchased by Caroline, the daughter of James T. Gifford. In 1853, Samuel E. Gregory and his wife Mary bought the land for $70. The Gregory family held onto the land for 17 years until they sold it to William and Sophie Rundquist, who began building on the property.  

The house at 260 Gifford first shows up on the city directories in 1871, suggesting that William and Sophie built the property in 1870. After residing in the new home for three years, the Rundquist family sold the home to Myron and Mary Elliot. William Rundquist and Myron Elliott were both employees of the watch factory where Elliott was a foreman in the motion room from 1866 to 1879. After Elliott's death, the house was turned back over and re-sold to William Rundquist. Shortly thereafter, Charles Lehman purchased 260 Gifford and lived there for the next 33 years, from 1880 to 1913. Lehman worked in the main spring department, where he served as their foreman.

Frank D. and Josephine Wilcox then purchased the home from the Lehman family, living at 260 from 1913 to 1917. Frank Wilcox worked in the jewel department, the escape department and was a job master of the pallet stone at the Elgin Watch Factory. When William T. and Rose Naughton bought the house from the Wilcox's in 1917, they were the first family to not have a connection to the Watch Factory, working as a driller for C. H. Woodruff & Company. By 1923, the home was back in the hands of a Watch Factory employee in the family of Charles and Louisa Smith.


This Second Empire style home is considered a contributing property to the Elgin National Watch Historic District. 260 Gifford exhibits some of the common features of the Second Empire style with, most notably, the mansard style roof; its square floor-plan with symmetrical facade; decorative arched top dormer windows; and the dentils and decorative eave brackets that sit under the roof line on the facade and other elevations.



Sources: 2004 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud