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363-365 Prairie Street
363-365 Prarie Street
363-365 Prarie Street
Photo provided Courtesy of the Elgin Area Historical Society, #1992.2.1916 ? Stone Cottage
James Talcott Gifford is considered to be the founder of Elgin. He purposefully located the city between Galena and Chicago, a prominent trade route in 1835. He named the town after a Scottish hymn that he enjoyed. The location of his original log cabin is no longer standing but marked with a bronze plaque on Prairie Street between Chapel and Villa and his second home at 277 Prairie Street was also torn down. His third and final home has fared much better over the last 160 years.

Built by Mr. Kiltz in 1849, the home features sixteen rooms, limestone ionic columns, quoins, window caps, and sills. The mansard roof was added by his daughter, Caroline Davidson, who inherited the house after his death in 1850.

The Gifford-Davidson family was one the most prominent families in Elgin during the second half of the 19th century. Every year they hosted parties, tea, and church gatherings on the spacious lawn. The annual 'Strawberry Festable' became the party of the social season.

Historic Register
While this property is within the boundaries of the Elgin Historic District, it was listed individually on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. The building is currently four rental units.

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