364 Division Street was built in 1887 for Alfred B. Church, who was a real estate sub-divider with William Grote and the Vice President of the Home Savings Bank. Alfred and his brother Samuel, were stepsons of Gail Borden, who became famous after establishing a local plant in Elgin for canning milk. The brothers donated a downtown building to Elgin Township for use as a library, with the stipulation that it be named the Gail Borden Public Library. Elgin's current library, now in a new location, still carries this name. Alfred went on to marry Mary E. Peterson, the daughter of John B. Peterson and Oracy J. Willard (a lineal descendant of Samuel Whiting of Lynn, Massachusetts).

364 Division Street saw several owners at the turn of the century, but was eventually sold to the O'Connor family. Lawrence and his wife, Mildred, lived in the second floor apartment with their three daughters while his brother, William, and his wife, Marion, lived in the apartment on the third floor with their family. The O'Connors operated a funeral home on the first floor and eventually sold the home in 1984, ending the 46 year ownership by the family.


364 Division is a massive masonry structure that represents a blending of Eastlake, Romanesque and Chateauesque detailing. The building has expressive roof forms, large, ornate chimneys, a three story rectangular bay, cornice detailing and circular arched windows adjacent to the porch. A few Eastlake touches appear in the porch columns and spindlework and also on the second floor porch details.

The home was converted into a funeral parlor in 1940, but has not been altered substantially from its original look. 



Sources: 1987 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud