The earliest Sanborn Map to show 441 Lawrence Avenue is 1913, but that is only because Elgin’s Sanborn recordings did not travel far enough west before that year. The home first appears in Elgin City Directory in 1898. 

Ralph Rowe moved from 330 Lawrence Avenue to 441 Lawrence after the building was complete. Rowe was born in New York state in the early 1860s and moved to Illinois. His first wife was an Illinois native, Almira Lucretia Rowe (nee Bridges), until she passed away in 1905. Ralph’s second wife, Lina Rowe (nee Dierschow) was born in Germany and passed away in 1926. The Rowe family, which included Ralph’s nine children, in fact did not own the home at 441 Lawrence but were renters.

In 1882, Finla and Fannie McClure – known for the Elgin Landmarked McClure Mansion – purchased the land that 441 would later reside for $1,200. After the Rowe family moved out and no longer rented, the first buyer to own the home after the McClures was Lucy Weld. Weld bought the home for $5,000, a stark increase from the $1,200 originally paid for the land and showcases the prosperity of Elgin’s thriving housing market at the time.


441 Lawrence is a nice example of a very simple Greek Revival style home. Characteristics include the front-gabled form and pedimented door and windows. More complex forms of this style include cornice ornamentation with wide band trim, and a porch or portico with Doric columns.



Sources: 1998 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud