ELGIN TOWER BUILDING
Clanging street cars, whinnying horses, and a sea of faces criss-crossed this intersection of River Street/ S. Grove Avenue, Douglas Avenue, and E. Chicago Street throughout the day in downtown Elgin. Named for its horse-watering trough and later for numerous public fountains, Fountain Square was the center of trade, banking, and culture, not just for Elgin but for upper Kane County.
The original Home Bank Building on the Square served as a natural link to the Watch Factory at the far south end of S. Grove Avenue. Its workers frequentedthe stores, theaters, and groceries lining S. Grove Avenue and were especially busy on Factory paydays. So strong was the link, that stores stayed open late one night a week for shoppers.
Toward the end of the national building boom in the mid 1920s, the tallest building in Elgin rose. It replaced the bank, housing it at street level and used its dozen upper floors for offices. The Elgin Tower Building opened in 1929; in late October that year, the stock market crashed.
The boldness of Art Deco design is seen in the stepped-back facade, zigzag detail and abundant other detail on the exterior. Inside, the offices encircle a center core and provide spectacular views of a city that endured, despite the economic hardships of the Depression. Step inside to see the original elevator and to read the plaque that marks its historic significance to Elgin, or perhaps you might want to rent an office?