600 E. Chicago Street was built in 1892 for George B. Richardson, who moved to Elgin in 1889 to take the position of General Superintendent of the David C. Cook Publishing Company, which had moved to Elgin in 1882. In 1900, George purchased Elgin's first privately owned automobile, a Waverly Electric. And like his car, the house was well-known around town. 

Richardson was a Vermont native and moved to Illinois in the late 1870s. He apprenticed in the printer's trade in Peru, Illinois and eventually became part owner of the Woodstock Sentinel Newspaper and owner of the Clinton Public Newspaper. He was also a publishing manager in Boston, New York and Chicago.

In his heyday, George Richardson was famous for his New Year's Eve parties, although as an employee of the David C. Cook Publishing Company, you can imagine there was never any liquor served to guests ringing in the new year. 


In 1892, Richardson commissioned local architectural firm, Turnbull & Postle to design his new home at 600 E. Chicago Street. John Fluck, local turn of the century Elgin contractor was hired for the masonry work whereas T. F. Mackey, was hired for the carpentry. The cost was $6,500. Designed in the Shingle style, this house has varied roof forms, different types of siding material, which are emphasized by the imaginative color scheme, and a prominent tower. The peak of the tower was called a witch's cap. The stone balustrade, which surrounds the front porch, is of rose granite accented with rose grouting. 



Sources: 1986 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud