711 Brook Street was built in 1891 for Karl and Louise Schmidt. Research suggests that Karl Schmidt was a reverend or member of the clergy as he is recorded as Rev. Karl Schmidt, the builder of the property. In addition, in the basement, there is a hand painted name on the wood wall of the former coal shed that states, "1891, Rev. Schmitz." The Schmidts did not live in Elgin long as they sold the property in 1894 to Emma Friedericka Soest for her son, Christian, and his wife, Eva. Christian was a machinist at Moseley's. Moseley Manufacturing Company was where the Elgin National Watch Company's watch machines were manufactured. In 1896, Christian, Eva and their family moved to 353 Summit Street and sold the property to Benjamin and Jennie (Chapel) Getzelman. It was found that Benjamin was one of the bookkeepers for the Elgin National Bank.


711 Brook Street is of the Queen Anne style. For more than a century, its occupants have enjoyed the shade of mature trees in the yard, a wooden entryway staircase, original hardwood oak floors, interior four-panel wood doors with original hardware, wood trim throughout including inside the closets, pocket doors, solid plaster walls, high ceilings, brightly lit rooms, stained glass windows, and a covered front porch. 

It is excellent condition and contains original stained glass picture window, a stained glass stairwell window and distinctive woodwork found at the front of the house. In 1988, a two-story addition and screened in porch was built at the rear of the home along with two fireplaces. This addition is in keeping with the original architectural features with a similar roof pitch, large over-hanging eaves and siding that matches the existing in reveal, profile and material. 

In the winter of 1990, the two-story carriage house at the rear of the property had a fire. The second story was not rebuilt, however, the first floor of the carriage house was reused as a one story garage. 



Sources: 2013 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud