Identifying documents for this Sears kit home mark the original cost of construction at $2,100. The first residents of 421 Oak Street were David V. Cope and Alvina H. Cope.

David was a buffer at the Electric Appliance Factory. He was born and raised in Elgin by his widowed mother, Clara. Clara came to Elgin by way of Pennsylvania with her father. David’s wife, Alvina, sometimes spelled as Elvina in different Census years, worked as a salesperson in a local retail department store.

Records are slim, but by 1940 it appears the couple no longer lived in the home and had moved to Dundee Avenue.


421 Oak Street is an excellent example of a Tudor Revival which also happens to be a Sears catalogue home of “The Mitchell” style. Sears homes were exceedingly popular in the early decades of the 20th century as materials were cheaper to prefabricate as well as ship longer distances.  This Tudor Revival styling of a kit home, as they were known since Sears was not the only retailer to sell such homes, is comparatively uncommon compared to the popular Craftsman Bungalow kit homes which can be seen all over Elgin and other cities across the United States.

Identifying features of the Tudor Revival style seen here include the steeply pitched roof with multiple gables, an asymmetrical floor plan, the prominent brick chimney, the full brick wall exterior, and the geometric double hung windows.



Sources: 1999 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud