In July of 1892, Knott Heir’s Subdivision was recorded with Kane County and 401 Jefferson was built on lot 1 within this new subdivision. Daniel F. Dumser, of the real estate company Dumser + Brothers first purchased the property. Daniel was a constable and alderman of Elgin’s 2nd ward.

Roughly a year later, in 1893, William H. Secombe purchased the lot and began making improvements upon the land. He and his son, Herbert built the house together for a cost of $1,500 in 1893. In the 1894-95 Elgin City Directory, the occupations of William and Herbert are listed as oil dealer and carpenter, respectively.

By 1911, it appears Herbert had married and moved to 1001 Cedar, leaving William and his mother, Adeline, with the house to themselves. The two then lived together at 401 Jefferson Street until William’s death in 1928. Adeline, now widowed, sold the home to Rosemonde S. and William Bowne in 1933.

The next few years, in the latter end of the 1930s, saw a number of people by and quickly sell the home. The next owner to live for a substantial period of time at 401 Jefferson was Anna E. Landwer, who purchased the house in 1939 and lived there until 1962, when she passed away. Her daughter, Lorelle, then inherited the home and kept the familial lineage at this address until 1977.


401 Jefferson Avenue is part of the Gable-Front family, a vernacular, folk style inspired by the Gothic Revival homes at the turn of 19th century.  An example of a one-and-one-half story home, with cross-gable and modest Queen Anne detailing seen with the decorative singled sidings and semi-rounded front porch entrance.



Sources: 1988 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud