Sylvanus Wilcox purchased the land in which the house resides in 1855, but the home of 52 Crighton Avenue is not listed until Directories from 1860. Wilcox was the eldest son of Elijah Wilcox who came to Elgin from New York State in 1842. Sylvanus was born in 1818 and attended West Point, later forced to leave due to health issues. In 1840, he married Jan Mallory. By 1846, he had studied law and was admitted to the bar. Elected as a circuit judge in 1867, and re-elected in 1873, he had a hand in bringing the Watch Factory to Elgin in 1866.

Sylvanus was not the only notable Wilcox family member as his great-grandfather was a Revolutionary War hero and his brother, John Schuler Wilcox, was a Civil War hero serving with the 52nd Illinois Infantry. Additionally, on a more local level, Sylvanus’ father Elijah was an early trustee of Elgin Academy, serving for 11 years beginning in 1843, and also served a four year term as an Illinois State Senator in 1846.

In 1870, the house was sold to Jessie Creighton.


52 Crighton is a nice example of a simple Greek Revival style, with a low-pitched front gabled roof, a wide band of trim at the cornice line, although it lacks the columns and front porch many higher styles showcase. Research indicates that the brick the house is made out of likely came from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with the high quality pressed nature and the cream color. 

An octagon shaped addition for the kitchen was added about 1890 in the same color of yellow brick. The second addition is a louvered-window porch added in the 1960s.



Sources: 2000 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud