376 RIVER BLUFF ROAD
In 1887, when Lot C of the North Park Addition was annexed into Elgin, George Congdon already owned the parcel. Congdon was the owner of Elgin’s first shoe factory which was located on Slade Avenue near Prospect Boulevard. A native of Massachusetts, Congdon came to Illinois to work in the shoe business. First moving to Chicago, he spent time there engaging in shoe sales before the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The very next day he picked up everything and moved to Elgin, opening his shoe factory not long after. Salesrooms on South Grove Avenue, in downtown Elgin, were also part of his business and his economy efforts were heralded enough for the city to have Congdon Avenue bear his name.
The Elgin City Directory from 1897-98 lists Congdon on Slade Avenue and in 1900, at 376 Alexander. George died in 1907, and his obituary indicates that he was a member of the Silver Leaf Camp, the Modern Woodmen, and a Masonic order. He was also a member of the Progressive Research society. His wife, Elizabeth, died in 1914 from Bright’s disease. The house was sold from Elizabeth’s estate in 1915 to John Krueger and saw a number of owners succeed his ownership until the current owners.
376 River Bluff is listed in the Northeast Neighborhood Architectural Survey as contributing to the local significance. This two-story, single family home has a number of Queen Anne features, though it is not a high-style example. Built in 1898, features of the Queen Anne style include the wood clapboard exterior with decorative shingles in the gable, the asymmetry, the crossing of gable and hipped roofs and the one-over-one double-hung windows. Turned porch supports, and a full or partial-width porch common to the style is not seen here at 376 River Bluff.
Sources: 2000 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud