This home is associated with Paul Kemler Sr., a prominent resident of Elgin’s history. In 1887, four years after the death of his wife, Wilhelmina, Paul purchased a vacant lot in the Grote and Waldron subdivision. By 1889, he built an extravagant home with the masonry work  completed by Jacob Lind & Sons, and total construction costs of $4,200.

Born in Germany, Kemler moved to Chicago in 1856 and worked as a tanner. By 1861, he had responded to Lincoln’s first call for troops and volunteered for the Civil War in the 24th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, serving under General Grant’s command. By the end of the decade, he had not only survived the war but became a patrolman on the Chicago police force. After four years on patrol, he moved to Elgin and ran the Washington Hotel. Extremely active in local civil societies and politics, Kemler eventually had everything from an Odd Fellow lodge named after him to serving as a city alderman in Elgin marking his legacy.


703 Raymond Street is a nice example of the Queen Anne style, free classic sub-type. Some character-defining features include the asymmetrical floor plan with hipped roof and cross gables. Brick is a less common exterior material and seen in only 5% of Queen Anne style homes. The side porch has wood trim along its roof edge and the front facing porch gable.

Records indicate that at one time there was a barn located on the property, which Paul Kemler likely used to board his horses, often employing their services as means of transportation. 



Sources: 1988 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud