William and Helen Wilcox purchased a lot on Douglas Avenue from Ithiel Tower in 1881, and built 716 Douglas Avenue. A Civil War veteran, William is noted in City Directories as attorney and real estate dealer.

In 1898, Julia Taylor purchased the Douglas property for $2,500, immediately taking out a mortgage for $1,500. The Elgin City Directory for 1900 is the first to list Julia Taylor at 716 Douglas Avenue, with her son, Lucien and his wife, Bessie. Lucien was a newspaper reporter in town. When he and his wife married, the local papers wrote that they moved into 716 Douglas Avenue together.

The Elgin Daily Courier, during its annual review of construction for 1899, reported that a man named Charles Baseman remodeled a frame house for L.S. Taylor for $2,000. In 1903, Julia Taylor sold most of lot 3 to Dwight Chamberlain who built his Shingle style home at 714 Douglas Avenue a year later.

By 1905, Julia Taylor had packed her bags and gone west to California, and sold the house to James McMillan. McMillan lived there for 18 years before putting the house in his wife Josephine's name. The McMillans sold the home two years later to Harry and Lillie Richmond. The Richmond’s daughter, Elizabeth, married George Peck who became a business teacher at Elgin High School. 

Elizabeth and George officially inherited 716 Douglas in 1963. Elizabeth Peck was an active Elgin citizen as she was a 50 year member of the First Baptist Church, a member of the American Association of University Women and of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The Pecks lived at 716 Douglas for almost 40 years.


Considered a contributing structure to the National Register nomination for the Spring-Douglas Historic District, this Shingle Style home has remained in good condition. Elements of the Shingle Style seen in 716 Douglas include the cross shaped, 2 and 1/2 story frame. The upper stories are shingled, with a full-width, hipped roof porch with square wood posts and a decorative wood railing.



Sources: 2000 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud