570 E. Chicago Street was built in 1891 for William A. Gabriel, native of Connecticut being born there in 1858. When he was 30 years old, he relocated to Springfield, Illinois to work at the Illinois Watch Company, He remained there for three years until transferring to work as a mechanical engineer at the Elgin National Watch Factory. There, he was responsible for many innovative design changes to the watch machinery and quickly became the head of the Drafting and Design Department. 

He and his wife, Emma, and their three daughters, Bessie, Gertrude, and Elsie, lived in the house for two years before moving four blocks away on DuPage Street. They rented the home to high profile tenants including Harry Barnes, who ran for mayor in 1915 touting prohibition and lost. Later, he became the president of the Elgin Packing Company. 

The Gabriel Family returned to 570 E. Chicago Street in 1905 using one of the upstairs bedrooms as William's office. It even had a skylight! The family resided there until William's death in 1947. At that time, he was recently retired as the Director of the Watch Factory. 


570 E. Chicago Street is an excellent example of the hipped sub-type of the Stick Style, which was popular from the 1860s through the 1890s. The style often has decorative detailing with mult-textured wall surfaces, exposed structural members, harking back to Medieval half-timbered dwellings, as well as patterned wall shingles. This home exhibits decorative textures on the exterior wall surfaces with bell skirting defining the second floor from the first floor, and details at the doors, windows and cornices. The home has wide trim bands and smaller trim pieces wrapping around the entire house.

The second floor porch has turned columns and a decorative, spindled frieze, however, the first floor porch was altered some time after the 1950s. Originally, the front porch was a full width porch covering the entire front facade. The foundation is made of coursed masonry with beaded joints.

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Sources: 1986 Heritage Plaque Application; 1999 Gifford Park Association Booklet; Elgin Architectural and Historical Survey 2008; Audio: TextAloud