633 GRAND AVENUE
The first Elgin City Directory to have a listing for 633 Grand Avenue in the 1921-22 edition. Housing construction had been halted by President Wilson in 1918 in response to WWI and the level of destruction brought by the Palm Sunday Tornado of 1920 marked two major setbacks for housing construction in Elgin.
Peter Sorenson was the home’s first owner, after waiting a number of years to take a mortgage out to build a house. Sorenson made his living as a railway cook and lived in 633 Grand Avenue for 23 years, selling it to Joseph Lauber in 1943. Lauber was a gardener for Alfred Bosworth at the time he purchased the home, selling it to Robert Schock three years later. Schock was a driver for Elgin Fruit and Produce. When he sold 633 Grand in 1951 the house was owned by another grocer, Edwin Gould, owner of Ed and Joe’s Grocery.
The Lord’s Park Neighborhood Historic Resources Survey lists 633 Grand Avenue as contributing to the historic significance of the area.
633 Grand is also a good example of the fluidity in architectural styles seen when applied to real-world applications. Many of the home’s features are examples of the Prairie style, with its simple box shape; large central hipped dormer; symmetry; height of two and a half stories; a full-width front porch; and low pitch hipped roof. Architecture styles, however, sometimes retain and use multiple architecture styles, as is the case with 633 Grand. On both the west elevation and the west portion of the façade there is a bay window. This feature is a nod to the Free Classic Queen Anne style which, while enormously popular at the end of 19th century, had largely fallen out of favor by 1920. The four porch supports stand out in contrast to the front of the porch, separating the sets of triple windows on either side of the front door.
Sources: 2002 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud