849 Douglas Avenue was built in 1922 by Frederick and Marie Schurmeier. Designed by architect Claude Bell, the Schurmeiers instructed Bell to design the home in the vision of the Mediterranean style houses they had seen in photographs. 

Frederick was a prominent local doctor in Elgin. In fact, he has close connections to the famed Elgin Professional Building, which he reportedly helped build with other doctors who would later occupy offices in the building. The Union League Club was established on the top floor, meant for elites in Elgin, and Dr. Schurmeier was a member. 

Dr. Schurmeier was also active in other aspects of the community including the First Evangelical Church, the Kiwanis, the Masonic Order, and the Elgin Country Club. Marie was an active socialite, commonly inviting friends and neighbors over to her home to entertain.

After nearly 60 years of ownership, the Schurmeier family sold the home in 1981.


849 Douglas Avenue is a nice example of the Mediterranean Villa influence on late Prairie style architecture. The Prairie Style is an American style conceived by Chicago architects who were known as Prairie School. Features are a low pitched, hipped roof with wide eaves; two stories with a one-story wing, lines that emphasize the horizontal appearance of the Illinois prairie use in window bands or banding between stories. The Mediterranean style features tile roofs and round topped windows and doors, often seen in the Italian manner.



Sources: 1992 Heritage Plaque Application; Gifford Park Association Booklet Audio: TextAloud