714 DOUGLAS AVENUE
In May of 1904, Julia S. Taylor sold lot 3 of Towner’s Subdivisionof Lovell’s Addition to Dwight A. Chamberlain for $1250. Chamberlain was an Insurance Agent for the Rockford Insurance company which occupied offices in the Elgin National Bank Building. His first official listing as the owner in an Elgin City Directory comes in 1905. Chamberlain built his home on the property for a cost of $4,000, living across the way at 711 Douglas Avenue until it was completed; he sold 711 for $3,000.
Records suggest Chamberlain was married twice, once to Cora L. Orth whom he had two children with and later to Alice. In 1915, the Chamberlains took out a loan against their home for #3,500. Shortly after that, they sold 714 Douglas for $6,500 therefore simultaneously pay off the loan as well.
Daniel R. Branen and his family then purchased the home. Daniel died shortly after the sale, leaving the home to his wife and children. On November 1, 1928, Edward E. Ekvall purchased the home for $7,250 living there with his wife for 11 years. Ekvall then sold 714 to Dr. Nathan Perry Collins and his wife, Florence on September 18, 1939.
The house was then owned by the Collins family for the next 44 years, occupied by Nathan P. and Florence Collins until 1983.
The house at 714 Douglas Avenue is a fine example of a gambrel roof Shingle style home. While gambrel roof, shingle style homes often exhibit a cross gable, this example showcases a front-facing gambrel with a hipped roof cross section. Hipped dormers are also present on the side elevations. 714 Douglas has an irregular shaped floorplan with a two story frame and a full-width porch with dual gables on the porch. An arched frieze with decorative railings is also present alongside the shingled posts and singled exterior elevation.
Sources: 1995 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud