Elgin History Museum





Happy Friday! Who likes brick houses? 703 Raymond Street is a beauty. This home is associated with Paul Kemler Sr., a prominent resident of Elgin’s history. In 1889, he built an extravagant home with the masonry work completed by Jacob Lind & Sons, and total construction costs of $4,200.

Born in Germany, Kemler moved to Chicago in 1856 and worked as a tanner. By 1861, he had responded to Lincoln’s first call for troops and volunteered for the Civil War in the 24th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, serving under General Grant’s command. By the end of the decade, he had not only survived the war but became a patrolman on the Chicago police force. After four years on patrol, he moved to Elgin and ran the Washington Hotel. Extremely active in local civil societies and politics, Kemler eventually had everything from an Odd Fellow lodge named after him to serving as a city alderman in Elgin marking his legacy.

This home was awarded a house plaque in 1988, but since is located outside of the National Watch Historic District, it was also awarded “Landmark” status by the Elgin Heritage Commission in 2009. Check out the other Landmark Buildings in Elgin.

Information and pictures pulled from historicelgin.com, the 2009 application for Landmark status, and “There Used to Be-Vol 3” by Steve Stroud