631 CENTER STREET
In 1908, William and Lenna Briggs built a two-story house for $2,700 at 631 Center. William was employed by the Cook Publishing Company which had recently opened its facility on River Street and North Grove Avenue.
D. C. Cook produced largely faith based materials and shipped out to places across the country. The rise of the business and factory marked a high rate of production for Elgin’s economy and proved rather successful for its namesake, David C. Cook. Currently, there is a nationally recognized historic district that bears his name, making the Briggs’ connection to the publishing company a noteworthy piece of this home’s past.
The Briggs sold the home in 1910. The next owners of 631 Center Street lived there for the 43 years, until 1953, and few owners have come through in the years since.
631 Center is of the American foursquare typology, with a number of Prairie style elements. The Prairie style was largely dominated by Frank Lloyd Wright and featured architectural elements acknowledging the horizontality of the Midwestern landscape. Some common features of the Prairie style seen here include the low pitched, pyramidal roof; a hipped dormer; a band of horizontal windows and a full-width front porch.
Sources: 1998 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud