632 CENTER STREET
632 Center Street was built for George and Jessie Montgomery in 1909 for $2,500. George was employed with the Illinois Watch Case Company, which was located on Dundee Avenue. The Illinois Watch Case Company was started by the Eppenstein brothers and made cases that were sold to the Elgin National Watch Company, but was not part of the Watch Company itself. Cases were sold in gold, gold filled, or gold plated and some were silver or silver plated. Decoration on the cases was done by hand or by machine. The Illinois Watch Case Company also made cases for lighters and ladies' vanity cases. George came to Elgin with the company and soon became its superintendent, retiring in 1927. George was also a highly skilled gardener, making is home at 632 Center Street a showplace.
Prior to building 632 Center Street, the Montgomerys lived at 565 Center Street for a number of years. George passed away in 1945 leaving Jessie the home. She remained in the house until 1960 when the property was sold to Elmer Steinmann.
632 Center Street is a one-story, stuccoed bungalow with a hipped roof containing several hipped roof dormers. A full width front porch has arched openings. Windows are in various sizes and are set alone or in pairs. Multi-paned windows are seen in the front facade of the house, but it is not known if they are original to it. The house lacks the distinguishing open rafters of the Craftsman style, but is considered a Craftsman Bungalow by way of its hipped roof and single story. An addition was made to the south facade of the house, the garage was built in 1964.
Sources: 2005 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud