440 RAYMOND STREET
In 1924, George Andresen purchased an old dump site which covered 4 acres in between Wellington Avenue, Raymond Street, National Street and Bent Street. It took two months, a steam shovel, and six teams of horses to fill in the dump and get it ready for Andresen’s project of turning that land into a subdivision for the city. When the first house was completed in 1925, 21 lots were ready for residents to build new homes and expand the city.
Andresen built 440 Raymond in 1925 in the George Andresen Subdivision according to annual construction reviews reported in the Elgin Daily Courier. By 1926, Andresen sold 440 to Alfred Demien who worked for the Chicago, Aurora, and Elgin Railway. Demien was one of millions of Americans deeply hurt by the Great Depression after the 1929 stock market crash and saw his house foreclosed up by Elgin Loan and Homestead.
Elgin Loan and Homestead owned the 440 property until 1939 when they sold the home to Arthur Jacobson, owner of National Model Bakery located near the Watch Factory. Arthur’s widow sold the home in 1969, a few years after he had passed away.
Between 1969 and the early 2000s, the home went through a number of subsequent foreclosure proceedings. The Neighborhood Housing Services of Elgin purchased and rehabilitated the home in 2002.
440 Raymond is an example of the Prairie style. The Elgin National Watch Historic District: A Summary and Inventory lists 440 Raymond as a contributing structure to the historic importance of the neighborhood. The Prairie style was largely popularized by Frank Lloyd Wright and featured architectural elements acknowledging the horizontality of the Midwest landscape. Characterizing features seen here including the low-pitched hipped roof, wide overhanging eaves, large square porch supports on the partial-width porch, and details emphasizing horizontal lines including the band running under all the windows on the second floor.
Sources: 2002 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud