321 Division Street was built in 1889 for John Newman, previously a widower, and his new wife Laura Borden, who had divorced a son of Gail Borden. John was born in England and then settled in Elgin in 1863 as a merchant. By 1876, he established the Springbrook Creamery located about 6 miles southwest of Elgin. His interests in creameries expanded until he owned and controlled more than 50 factories in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. John was also one of the founders of the Elgin Board of Trade and was its Board President from 1894-1911.


321 Division is an excellent example of the Queen Anne style and was considered the finest home in Elgin at that time with a cost of $25,000. The home consists of three stories with cream colored pressed brick and sandstone detailing topped with a slate roof and a galvanized iron cornice. Queen Anne features include the high roof, polygonal turret, prominent chimney with modeled brick, a full scale spindled veranda and the use of stone and brick material. The original home featured 14 rooms, 7 fireplaces and more than 30 stained glass windows and 13 different types of wood. In 1973, the building was heavily vandalized but since then the exterior has had a sensitive remodeling, and retains the original expressive roof forms, a typical Queen Anne porch, and a porte cochere.



Sources: 1986 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud