943 BELLEVUE AVENUE
The Elgin City Directory for 1925-26 has no one listed at 943 Bellevue, by the next issue in 1927-28, Elmer Fierke is listed at that address as the owner. Records indicate that the garage was built first, before the house. Dorothy, Elmer’s daughter, and her two sisters, one brother, mother and father all lived in the house together.
Important to note for the history of this house is also how it was constructed. In the early 1900s kit homes were especially popular across the United States. 943 Bellevue is a kit home from the company Gordon-Van Time, this being model number 512.
Originally, the driveway had two separate concrete strips, but during an interview with Dorothy for the original plaque application she mentioned that when her and her sisters began driving, their father had to repair the grass strip so often that he ended up getting the whole driveway paved as one.
Elmer Fierke lived alone in the house after his wife’s passing in 1966. He died six years later in 1972 and the house was sold.
943 Bellevue Avenue is a fine example of a Craftsman Bungalow. The 1 ½ stories, hipped roof with front facing gable, wide overhanging eaves with brackets typify the style. This particular home is also one of Elgin’s many kit homes, being of the Gordon-Van Tine home, no. 512. Mail order homes hit peak popularity in the early part of the 20th century, as the Arts and Crafts movement soared across the country. While this home is of a different brand, Elgin is filled with a variety of Sears and other kit style homes.
Sources: 1999 Heritage Plaque Application; Audio: TextAloud