558 DIVISION STREET
James Baker bought lot 5 of John Webb’s Subdivision in 1882 and started building. Baker, a carpenter by trade, was listed as residing at the address of 418 Pearl Street from 1882 until 1885 Elgin City Directories. In 1885, Baker sold the property to Thomas Matters. When the city’s addressing system changed in 1894, 418 Pearl Street became 558 Division.
Thomas Matters was a well digger who started his own business called Matters Tubular Wells Company. It seems that business was good for Matters, who moved into a large brick home at 636 Park Street in 1902. Matters moved out of 558 Division in 1899, however, after his wife passed away. In turn, he warranted the house to Melvin Jocelyn, a cashier at the Elgin National Bank, officially took possession in 1901. Melvin’s daughter Helen was an English teacher at the original Elgin High School. 558 Division stayed in the Jocelyn family until 1957.
558 Division Street sits within the Elgin Historic District, and is listed in the nomination form as a contributing property. The home is an example of both the Italianate and Queen Anne styles, exhibiting characteristics from each. Some Italianate details include the low pitch roof, the wide, front facing gable, the bay windows – the east side bay with brackets in the eave line – and a balance of windows aiding the symmetry. Queen Anne features include the small diagonally paned windows in the roof gables, the side gable cross section to the front gable, the partial wrap around porch with recessed front door and vertical banding.
Sources: 2002 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud