When the Elgin National Watch Factory opened along the east bank of the Fox River, employees needed somewhere to live, as well as work. As housing popped up in the areas immediately surrounding the factory, neighborhoods developed alongside the homes.

In 1888, George Bowen annexed his own Bowen Heights Addition to Elgin. Bowen came to Elgin following the Great Chicago Fire and was mayor for one year, helping to set up the Elgin Board of Trade and the Elgin Electric Light Company.

In 1902, Mary, Helen and Lena Schranck bought property in the Bowen Heights Addition and shortly thereafter a building permit was issued for Arlington Avenue. The three Schranck half-sisters, two of whom worked for the watch factory, lived at 470 Arlington Avenue. Their brother, Karl, who worked at the watch factory, lived nearby at 425 Raymond Street.

In 1911, Mary Schranck deeded the house to Helen when she married Raymond Mead, an employee of the township assessor’s office who later worked for the Home National Bank. The two lived together under joint ownership of the home until 1962 when Helen became sole owner after Raymond passed away in 1960. Helen passed away 6 years later in 1966 and the house changed ownership.


470 Arlington is a fine example of the Dutch Colonial Revival style.  Built in 1902 with a rectangular shaped floor plan and two stories tall and exhibits a front-facing gambrel roof. 470 Arlington features a Palladian styled window on the second floor, a full-width front porch with Tuscan columns and oriel windows on the north side. Alterations have been made over the years, but as the Elgin National Watch District: A Summary and Inventory notes, this home continues contributing to the history of the district, those changes are not irreversible and retains an overall good condition rating.



Sources: 1999 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud