The 1880s and early 1890s were years of tremendous growth for the City of Elgin. The Covey brothers, Merrels and Herbet, were in the construction business and built many houses in the area north of Kimball Street and west of Dundee Avenue. One such home was at 268 Seneca Avenue, built for Minnie Schoonhoven in 1892 after she divorced her husband and moved out on her own. By 1895, Minnie remarried to Samuel Parks, an employee of the Elgin Watch Factory.

Various people lived in the house, which became occupied by many renters as Minnie Parks (nee Schoonhoven) lived with her husband in 458 Prospect. She eventually lost the home in 1932 to a foreclosure proceeding, and the home at 268 Seneca became bank-owned by Elgin Loan and Homestead.

Carl and Hazel Fay Beck bought the property at 268 Seneca and sold to Emma Hintt and Mabel Hansen in August of 1946 where they remained until selling to Early Johnson in 1977. It has since been purchased by new owners and restored as the painted lady you see today.


268 Seneca is a fine example of a Free Classic Queen Anne with relatively modest detailing. Features exhibited on this home significant to the style include: decorative spindle work on the porch supports and wood deck; an projecting window on the front façade displays ornamental details; a prominent front gable roof with an asymmetrical floor plan; and wood clapboard siding.  Additionally, the ornamental decoration in the gable above the front porch is indicative of the Free Classic Queen Anne style.



Sources: 1993 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud