Charles Higinbotham was a letter carrier who came to Elgin in 1887. He married Cynthia Kemp. In 1888, the Elgin Daily Courier recorded that Charles had J.A. Wright build a home at 712 Brook Street. When Cynthia passed away in 1902, he continued to live in the Brook Street home until his passing in 1930. Charles was president and founder of the Elgin Home Protective Association for 20 years, and when he died, his daughter, Gertrude, and her siblings inherited the home.

The house remained in the possession of the Higinbotham family until 1944 when it was sold to Henry and Carrie Leverenz.


712 Brook Street has seen at least one major alteration in its history with the alteration of the front porch. The porch first appears on the 1913 Sanborn Map. The wide overhang and low roof pitch also suggests a later style influence that is not original to the home.

The home itself retains some of its identifying characteristics of the Italianate style. Italianate homes were popular both in late 1800s as well as the Midwest region. 712 Brook Street exhibits the low-pitched roof, double front door, and 1 over 1 paned windows, all common of the style. Additionally, the small window in the top center of the front gable is another carefully executed feature.



Sources: 2002 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud