670 LILLIE STREET
In May of 1892, Thomas Webb of Mt. Carroll, Illinois was one of many who settled a lawsuit with the administrator of Jonathan Force’s estate after his death for property in the J. Force Heir’s Addition of Elgin.
It is unclear when Webb built the house on lot 10, now known as 670 Lillie Street. However, the 1897-98 Elgin City Directory is the first to list Thomas as the owner of the property. Over the next few years, 670 Lillie saw a number of renters and residents, but by 1903 one of the more famed occupants of the home moved in: Davey Walker.
The 1999 plaque application then tells a wonderfully entertaining story of Walker:
David, “Davey,” Walker was an Elgin Police Officer and custodian of Lord’s Park. Walker trained the bears in the Park, Jack and Juno, to perform simple tricks for visitors of the Lord’s Park Zoo. Well-known and well-liked in the community, when residents found out he couldn’t afford to visit his native Scotland, many decided to raise money for a “David Walker Travel Fund” by way of a benefit and festival complete with carnival rides and desserts. It was here that City Council was tasked with manning the soda booth, but when Mayor Price showed up inebriated, the tone took a different turn. The Mayor took offense at any who would not purchase a soda from his booth, escalating to the point of throwing bottles at patrons. Quickly escorted out of the event, out of sight and out of mind, a reporter from Courier who had seen it all transpire wrote an article about the Mayor that landed on the next day’s front page. Angry at the bad press, the Mayor immediately marched down the Courier’s offices and punched the first report he saw as an act of revenge. The only problem being the reporter that the Mayor punched was not the author of the piece, and was not even a reporter at the paper, simply a visiting real estate broker.
In 1908, Webb officially sold the house to Fred Traub. Traub was the owner of the eponymous Traub’s Bakery in town. He too, however, rented out the home and continued to occupy his residence at 625 Lillie Street.
Traub sold 670 Lillie eleven years later in 1919 to William Parker. The home stayed in possession of the Parker family the next 69 years, until 1988.
The house at 670 Lillie Street is listed in the Lord’s Park Neighborhood Historic Resources Survey as significant to the history of the neighborhood. Additionally, it is an irregular shaped, two-story frame, Queen Anne style house with a hipped roof with an intersecting cross gable and a dominant front-facing gabled dormer. The home also has an asymmetrical floor plan with a full-width front porch that includes turned porch supports. Other features characteristic of this style include: the corner tower, the bay window on the east façade, ornamental shingles and a stained glass transom.
Sources: 1999 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud