Historic Elgin House Tour

September 10 & 11, 2022

108 N. Channing

Homeowner: Aaron Priebe

Architectural Notes

108 N. Channing is an excellent example of a Gable-Ell architectural classification. Although simplistic in design, the home has high integrity as it contains much of its original features including the paired windows at the second floor, the south elevation bay window, clapboard siding, decorative crown molding above the windows and doors and original trim. Historically, the home had a wraparound porch on the front and south sides. Though there is an addition there now, it is a good example of constructing an addition to a house in a historic district while retaining the historic nature of the house. The home has an extensive grade change from Channing Street to the west towards the alley. This provided a unique landscaping challenge that created a thoughtfully designed rear yard.

Aaron Priebe grew up in Elgin, but left when he was 25 and moved out of state. He returned to Illinois several years ago, and bought this house in his home town in October of 2021.

A software engineer, he has worked from home for the last 6 years, so the COVID restrictions did not mean much of a change for him. He chose this house for its layout and beautifully landscaped yard. He is especially delighted with the rear servants’ stairway.

Hinsdell’s Addition to Elgin was platted in 1881. It consists of only one block, bounded on the north by North Street, on the west by Gifford, on the south by Division, and on the east by Channing. Hinsdell Place runs north to south in the middle of the block.  In 1883 Swedish immigrants Charles and Hannah Sandberg took out a mortgage to build a house on the north part of lots 6 and 7 of block 1 of Hinsdell’s Addition. In the 1884-85 edition of the Elgin City Directory, Sandberg is listed at 60 N. Channing Street, and when Elgin completed its fourth and final address numbering change in 1894, 60 N. Channing became 108 N. Channing.

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Amazingly, the house remained in the Sandberg family until 1944, owned by their daughter Cora and her husband after her parents died. Charles Sandberg worked for the Illinois Condensing Company, a company owned by the famed Borden family.  Sandberg worked at the Borden Condensing Company for 43 years before retiring. The Sandbergs were founding members of Bethlehem Swedish Lutheran church. Charles and Hannah had four children who all worked at the Elgin Watch Factory: Maud Hultberg and Harold P. Sandberg of Rockford, and Cora Sandberg and LeRoy J. Sandberg, both of Elgin. Hannah died in 1912.  Leroy and Cora Sandberg moved in with their sister Maud in Rockford, Illinois after Charles died in 1916.  Charles’ sisters Ada and Josie lived at 432 Park Street. The Sandberg family retained their ownership of the home until Maude sold it to Clarence F. Crafts in 1919.

The following year, Crafts married Charles Sandberg’s daughter, Cora, a talented musician. Clarence went to Elgin High School and later worked as foreman of the adjusting department at Elgin National Watch Company, and was a member of the Masonic and Elks Lodges. The Crafts shared their home with daughters Barbara and Joan.

In 1944, the Crafts passed the house on to William M. Grier, who, according the City Directories, used it for rental income. Occupants included Edson and Martha Chapman, Shirley and Robert Hardt, a school principal; Marilyn J.  and Thomas and Atkins, a supervisor at the telephone company; Robert L. and Jewel Wasmond, employed at Little Angels Nursing Home; Ruby Belson, a secretary at Albert Zimbler & Company; Yvonne and D. Robert Eaton, manager at Ernie’s Redwood Inn.

Barbara and Vincent E.  and DiBattista, a construction worker, bought the house in 1976, and sold it in 1979 to James M. Manning.

Edward C. Porrett, an electric circuit designer for Motorola bought it in 1982. He married Holly, a loan processor for Koenig and Strey, in 1986. After living there for nine years, they sold it in 1993 to Douglas and Sally O. Seyfarth, who sold to Robert J. Goff in 2001.

“The diamond-shaped window in the staircase features a rare glue-chip glass pane.”

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