Elgin boasts a wide variety of housing stock. Modest cottages stand next to ornate mansions, and brick flats have been built adjacent to handsome, single-family dwellings. This diversity of architecture is associated with Elgin’s unique industrial and residential growth. In the mid-nineteenth century, Elgin’s two major industries were watchmaking and dairy products. As a result, business owners, managers, and workers lived along side each other in a mix of homes that today express Elgin’s rich historical and architectural character.
Elgin Historic District
To protect our community's heritage, the Elgin City Council and other community leaders have designated four historic districts. Elgin’s first local historic district was designated in 1981 and was successfully placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
Spring / Douglas Historic District
Elgin’s second historic district became official in February 1996. Consisting mainly of homes built between 1886 and 1920, the Spring / Douglas Historic District recognizes the high level of architectural variety found in Elgin’s northeast neighborhoods. This district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.
Elgin National Watch Factory Historic District
The third historic district, Elgin National Watch Factory Historic District, was added in 1997. This area of town surrounds the location of the Elgin Watch factory and consists mostly of worker’s cottages and vernacular houses.
DC Cook / Lovell Historic District
The last historic district added to the city was in January 2007 the DC Cook / Lovell Historic District. This area of town was developed around the David C. Cook Publishing Company.
Elgin Bungalow Thematic Historic District
The City of Elgin’s first thematic historic district is the Elgin Bungalow Thematic Historic District, added in August 2015. This thematic historic district is significant as it expresses societal changes and views in the early 20th century. The district boundaries are not limited to a specific area but are city wide.
Add a District
If you are interested in creating a historic district in your neighborhood, please contact the Historic Preservation Planner at (847) 931-6004.