Born in Germany in 1859, August Scheele moved to Elgin when he was 13 years old. To help establish his family in the community, August worked on several farms during the summer months and by 18 he entered a general merchant firm of Grote & Ettner. There he learned the basics in retail and by 1883, he purchased Grote & Ettner's grocery business. By 1889, he was known as "The Most Complete and Sanitary Grocery Store in the Middle West."

On March 27, 1902, August and Martha sold the property for $9,000 to Fred Ackemann. Ackemann was also an immigrant from Germany. He worked for prominent Elginite, William Grote, for many years until in 1893, he partnered with several of his brothers in the construction of a large business block known as "The Big Store." They were most famous for their advertisement, "We Supply the People from the Cradle to the Grave," and it certainly was not misleading for they supplied dry goods, shoes, linens, carpeting, pianos, organs, furniture, and a family's undertaking interests. Ackemann and his wife Christie (Deuchler) of Dundee, Illinois, lived in the house, along with 4 children, for 20 years.


Built in 1894 for August and Martha Scheele, this asymmetrical, three-story home typifies the Queen Anne style - Free-Classic sub-type. Located in what is considered Elgin's "Gold Coast," the building exhibits visually contrasting elements including its prominent southern and eastern gables that hug the three-story turret and curved porch. Primarily reflective of late Queen Anne architecture is the use of clapboard siding on the first floor and shingles on the second floor and the noteworthy curved glass windows on all three floors of the turret. Details that classify it under the Free-Classic sub-type include its use of Ionic capitals, a Palladian window, and the projecting cross gables. 



Sources: 2015 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud