650 PARK STREET
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