688 HARTWELL AVENUE
688 Hartwell Avenue was built in 1939 for Lawrence and Elizabeth Leon Wagner. Lawrence was born in 1907 in Illinois, however, lived in Elgin most of his life. His wife, Elizabeth, was born in Hampshire in 1907 and also was an Elgin resident for most of her life. Elizabeth worked for David C. Cook's Publishing for many years. Lawrence passed away at the age of 67 in 1974, leaving the home to Elizabeth. She remained at 688 Hartwell until 1995.
688 Hartwell Avenue is a Gordon-Van Tine mail-order home of the Henley model. The Gordon-Van Tine Company Catalog states that this home, "gives you the comfort, convenience and fine appearance of the Henley at a price to compare with it. The attractive front porch and the shingled walls set off by the blinds on the front window, give this home a charm all its own. The front porch can easily be screened in to make a summer living room."
Mail-order homes were popular between 1915 through the 1940s as they appealed to the working middle-class. They were affordable, quick to build and functional with some unique, attractive characteristics.
Sources: 2008 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud