453 DOUGLAS AVENUE
In the Elgin City Directory from 1878-79, a Jennie Stone and her husband Arthur N. Stone are listed at 125 Douglas Avenue. When the city’s address convention changed in 1894, 125 became 453 Douglas.
Arthur moved to Elgin with his family in the 1850s. After serving in the Civil War, he returned to Elgin and began practicing dentistry. Arthur’s brother, Charles, was a physician and his nephew, C. Alex Stone, was associated with an Elgin bank and also lived on Douglas Avenue. He died in 1927 at the age of 83, preceded in death by his wife Jennie.
After the passing of Jennie and her husband Arthur, 453 passed hands to Frank Ellis and his wife, Katie, who had purchased the home in 1924 but did not move in until 1926 when Arthur moved out to hopefully convalesce. Frank Ellis was a business teacher, and founded Ellis Business College which used to located at 101 N. Spring. When Ellis passed away in 1940 his obituary noted that he was a descendant of General Robert E. Lee.
Failing health prior to his death led him to deed the house to his daughter, Ethel, who sold 453 Douglas in 1946. Subsequently, it operated as a rental property until a single family once again bought the home in 1968.
453 Douglas Street sits within the Spring-Douglas Historic District, and is listed in the nomination form as a contributing property to the historic significance of the district. The home is a simple gable front and wing, two-story home designed with Italianate elements including the window crowns, second floor groupings of segmented arch windows, as well as its asymmetry. Sanborn Maps indicate that the porch was added after the original construction in 1897. A nod to the period in which it was built, the porch brings in Free Classic Queen Anne elements including the classic columns, the pediment above the porch roof line and the dentils.
Sources: 2002 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud