Elgin History Museum





I was recently introduced to The Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) (Link to the website in comments below) from an email the Gifford Park Association sent to its members. This email also featured the A. B. Hinsdell House at 443 East Chicago Street that was included in the HABS survey. This is one of the oldest homes in the Elgin Historic District being built around 1845.

A. B. Hinsdell began his years in Elgin Township as a farmer. In the 1850s he bought wagons and he and son Oliver hauled building supplies and grain from Chicago to Elgin. He was a leading force in the establishment of Elgin Academy and Hinsdell Street was named for him. At some point in the 20th century the house was converted to the Restville House Convalescent home. In 1966 it was brought back to a single-family home. The most unique feature of the home is a spectacular unsupported circular staircase along the curved wall in the square entry hall. This greets you as you enter the front door. There is an elegant carved frieze on the stringer that follows the curved stairs.

This home was on the Historic Elgin House Tour in 1985 and 1996.
See the booklet page from 1985.
See the booklet page from 1996.
There is a majestic oak tree on the east lawn that is approximately 500 years old. Perhaps that tree, already mature and attractive, is the reason Hinsdell chose this spot for his home.

SOURCES: Many thanks to Dan Miller for providing this info! Housewalk booklet pages from gpaelgin.org. Color photo from historicelgin.com