731 N. SPRING STREET
In the annual review of construction for 1905 in the Elgin Daily News, a C. G. Shoemaker was noted to build on Spring Street at the cost of $3,700. When Charles passed in 1921, his obituary wrote of a man who was well known in both Elgin’s civic and business circles. Before being elected the Elgin Merchant’s Association’s president in 1920, he had gone into business with James Meehan to open a clothing store at 56-58 S. Grove Avenue.
At one point or another, Shoemaker was also a director of Elgin Loan and Homestead, a member of the Elgin Association of Commerce, and a Shriner. He belonged to numerous fraternal organizations and was a member of the Universalist Church.
In 1916, the Shoemakers sold their home after 11 years of ownership to Henry Ackemann, one of the owners of Ackemann’s Department store. In 1922, the Ackemann’s sold 731 N. Spring to Herbert Muntz, president of Elgin Storage and Transfer Company. From 1952 to 1958, the home was owned by Richard Whitlock, who then sold it to Richard Huddleston.
The home was designed by William Wright Abell, a famous Elgin Architect, in the Colonial Revival style. Key elements of the style are the hipped roof lines, use of shingles on the upper story and narrow clapboard below. A unique feature of the home is a projection from the square front façade, which starts at the second floor and rises upward and is topped with a pyramidal roof and contains a decorative round-topped window. To complete the transition, the square porch supports are repeated above the porch roof, giving the allusion of a second floor balcony.
In the nomination form for the National Register of Historic Places for the Spring Douglas Historic District, 731 N. Spring Street is listed as contributing to the history of the area.
Sources: 2001 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud