54-56 N. Liberty Street was built for and designed by David E. Postle in 1903. Postle partnered with Gilbert M. Turnbull and William C. Jones in the 1890s. Their local designs included many of the workers flats found in the Elgin Historic District, which filled the need for rental housing during Elgin's 19th century industry boom. They soon became Elgin's busiest architects designing a vast variety of types of architecture including homes, multi-family units, schools, commercial buildings, government buildings, churches and factories. One of Postle's most notable designs was the Lords Park Pavilion located in Lords Park built in 1898. In 1901, Postle designed the David C. Cook publishing house in the Classical Revival style. The building contains a large portico with two sprawling wings that housed over 300 employees. At the peak of his career in Elgin, he designed this home for himself in the Prairie Style.

At that time, he partnered with his brother, Oliver H. in Chicago. Their offices were located in the Marquette Building located on Dearborn Street in Chicago. While in Chicago, Postle designed the Pattington Apartments in 1902, which were considered the first luxury apartment complex on the north side of the city. In the early 1920s, Postle moved to Los Angeles with his family and began an architectural firm with his son, David E. Postle, Jr.

David E. Postle, Sr. had a long, successful career and is noted as an innovative architect at the turn of the century. Postle, Sr. passed away in 1939 at the age of 76. His sons, David E. Postle, Jr. and George R. Postle continued to lead the firm into the 1940s. 


Originally built as a duplex, 54-56 N. Liberty Street is a two story building designed in the Prairie Style. Some characteristics of this style include the exaggerated horizontal lines, low pitched hipped roofs with broad, expansive eaves, solid construction and minimal use of decoration. 



Sources: 1990 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud