In 1865, Johnathan Force bought property from Lansing Brayman’s estate, naming it “Johnathan Force’s Addition to Elgin.” He set about cultivating and planting the land to create a large nursery which supplied fresh fruits and vegetables to Elgin’s citizens – specializing in raspberries and strawberries. 

Over time, Force sold off different lots and pieces of land.  In 1922, Alexander McTavish purchased block 1, lot 5 of the Johnathan Force addition.  McTavish had actually arrived in Elgin in 1912, but rented homes in the area before purchasing the land a taking out a building permit for 650 Park Street.

In 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, McTavish could not keep up on his payments of $10,000 for the house and Elgin Loan and Homestead enacted a bill of foreclosure upon the property until he could get his finances straightened out.

In 1935, a certificate of redemption was issued and the house once again belonged to McTavish.  It stayed in his possession until 1962, after which it went through a number of different renters and owners


The home at 650 Park is an example of the Prairie style.  It exhibits a rectangular floor plan with a hipped roof.  The upper two-thirds of the house is stucco with the lower portions made up of brick.  Character defining features include the tall windows with 3-over-1 lites and grouped in sets of three, and the widely overhanging eaves, and the emphasis on the horizontal.  The small portico porch is less common than the full-width porch often seen on the Prairie style, but includes the square columns as many porches of this style include.



Sources: 1998 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud