700 Forest Avenue was built in 1885 for James W. and Melvina (Faulkner) Whitaker. Whitaker's profession was noted as a machinist. The property was once an orchard on Jonathan Force's land. Force was a prominent Elginite who made his living as a mechanic and a carpenter, having moved here in 1843. Force sold the property to Whitaker in 1885 for $600. Later that year, Whitaker built the existing home for $1,200. The Whitakers did not live in the home very long as they sold the property to Theodore F. and Susan Swan in 1889.

Theodore was a prominent Elginite who opened a grocery store in 1867. By 1880, he began selling dry goods and shoes. Swan was also noted as the first Elgin merchant to install a railway system to send money from any part of the store to the cashier. His son, Theodore I. Swan took over the business when his father passed away in 1923.

The Swans rented the property to Jacob & Ann Trittenbach. The Trittenbachs had a daughter, Rosie, who married Conrad Lohbauer. Rosie continued to live with her parent's and husband at 700 Forest Avenue until her parent's and her husband's deaths. As a recent widow, Rosie bought the property from Theodore F. and his wife in 1920. She owned the home until she passed in 1960. Her daughter-in-law, Helen, inherited the home until she sold the property in 1983. 


700 Forest Avenue is a two story, wood framed, upright and wing structure. This home is typical of the working and middle class residences of the late 19th century and is considered a contributing, historic structure. The home has seen minor alterations since it was built in 1885.



Sources: 2005 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud