In the last decades of the 19th century George P. Lord – who would become one of Elgin’s leading philanthropists – acquired property from the Kimballs on Elgin’s west side. In 1883, Lord sold one of the lots to Rienzi Crocker, who sold the lot to Thomas and Catherine Tennant in March of 1885. Later in the same year, Tennant took out a mortgage.

Thomas Tennant was a Polish immigrant who came to Elgin in the 1870s. He worked in a number of Elgin’s well-known institutions including the milk condensing plant, the insane asylum and, in the years just before his passing, the watch factory.

The Tennants lived in the house from 1885 until 1900, when Thomas passed away. Just nine days before passing away, Thomas put the property in Catherine’s name. Unfortunately, only three years after suffering the loss of her husband, Catherine died leaving two young children to become heirs of their parent’s estate. The property stayed in the Tennant family until 1975.    


402 S. State is an example of the Gable-Ell style with some Italianate characteristics. Some features of the Gable-Ell style include the cross-gabled roof and the height of two stories. Efforts to borrow from the Italianate style include the tall narrow windows, seen in pairs, small windows in the gable peaks, vertical banding, asymmetry, and window crowns original to the home. The enclosed porch was completed at a date later than that of the original construction.



Sources: 2000 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud