The pealing of church bells drew dozens of Elgin's citizens to "Holy Hill" on Sunday mornings; a name given Center Street, where nearly a dozen churches of all faiths were built.  Some of them are First Methodist, Episcopal Church of The Redeemer, and St. John’s Lutheran.  

Elgin's founder, James T. Gifford, envisioned Center Street as Elgin's retail "center," but men bolder and more daring built their mills and businesses beside the Fox River to harness that free power source.

Elgin's oldest cultural icon, the Gail Borden Public Library, was housed in a former mansion on N. Spring Street, donated by Borden's stepsons for that specific purpose.  Today, the former library serves up a different form of culture as a restaurant and banquet hall.

City Hall was built in 1892 when William Grote was Mayor, just down the street from the library.  Grote paid for the clock that sat atop City Hall.  Grote's clock was damaged in the 1920 tornado that ripped through Elgin and it had to be discarded.

Fire Station #1 was adjacent to City Hall on the north.  Today, a horse of a different color--the automobile--occupies the site of the old City Hall and Fire Station: a multi-level parking garage.