423 WALNUT AVENUE
423 Walnut Avenue was built in 1903 for Max and Marie Leverenz for $2,700. Max was employed at the Elgin National Watch Company at the time when the home was built. Around 1910, Max opened up a grocery and meat market located at 120 E. Chicago Street. Soon thereafter, his family moved above his store and sold the property to William M. and Margaret Murray in 1914.
423 Walnut Avenue is one of Elgin's unique, concrete block homes and is a reminder of the days when the city was a leader in using this type of construction material. With the increase fear of house fires and the abundance of crushed stone and sand in this area, concrete blocks were cheap to make (13 cents a block), allowed for buildings to be built quicker and most importantly, this type of construction was very attractive for its fire-proof qualities. 423 Walnut Avenue eludes a sense of permanence with its castle-like features. It borrows elements from the Romanesque Revival Style with its dormers that are pushed all the way to the outer face of the primary facade.
Sources: 2009 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud