820 PROSPECT BOULEVARD
820 Prospect Boulevard was built in 1925 for Timothy and Marie Bensema. The property was sold to the Bensema’s for $8,000 in 1924. Timothy Bensema was a buyer for Swan’s Department Store, which was located at 51 S. Spring St., a building that was renovated in 2012 for the ArtSpace Lofts.
The Bensemas maintained ownership of the house for several years until the home was sold in 1928 to George and Jean Thompson. Thompson was an Elgin police court magistrate and justice of the peace. The Thompsons then sold it to George and Elanor Abraham in 1936. Abraham, president of Elgin Home Dairy, lived there until 1939, when he and his wife then moved to a newly-built home at 303 Slade Ave.
The home was then owned by several owners until James and Lois Nolan bought the home in 1953. The Nolans occupied the home until 1976 when it was then sold to Sherman Hospital Association with intentions of demolition to make room for a proposed expansion. The hospital, fortunately, did not demolish this building but held onto the property for 35 years and rented it to various occupants. By 2009, Sherman Hospital moved to the new campus on Randall Road.
820 Prospect Boulevard was built in the Dutch Colonial Revival style. Some of the elements of the house include the distinctive side-facing gambrel roof with continuous front and back shed dormers, symmetrical front façade, elliptical arched entry portico with classically designed columns, a centered front entry door with a fan light above and sidelights to either side, as well as a 1-story, south-facing sun-room.
Sources: 2015 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud