Historic Elgin House Tour

September 10 & 11, 2022

24 Rugby Pl.

Homeowner: Larry Turner & Fran Morgan

Architectural Notes

24 Rugby Place is an excellent example of the 2nd Empire style which imitated the latest French “building” fashions. The distinctive roof, named after 17th century French architect, Francois Mansart, was used extensively during Napoleon’s reign. The mansard roof also known as a dual-ditched hipped roof, on this home contains several gable-front dormers which allows more light into the space creating a possible third floor. The roof is also adorned with paired scroll brackets which were carried over by the previous popular style, Italianate. It cost $3,000 to construct and was built by builder, John A. Wright who also built 15 Rugby Place. The home is considered a significant structure to the Elgin Historic District.

24 Rugby has been around the block, starting as a large showy single-family home, transitioning to a multi-unit building and, thankfully, back to its original configuration. This is true of many of Elgin’s larger homes, mainly due to economic stresses and lack of zoning codes.

For example, during the early 1920s, returning military personnel increased the need for housing, then the Great Depression forced owners to rent out part of their homes in order to pay mortgages.

Owners Fran Morgan and Larry Turner moved into this, their first home together, in 2018 delighted to find an 1890 home with central air, and modern electric, heating and plumbing. They appreciate the previous careful deconversion and restoration, noting that the previous owner took the trouble to find doors, hardware and light fixtures compatible with the original architecture. The house has original gorgeous woodwork and a staircase with an eye-catching newel post, which incidentally matches the one across the street at 15 Rugby Place. Though the four-bedroom home may seem large for two people, it is perfect, since each person has a home office, and each cat can have its own bedroom! The dachshund simply hangs out wherever the people are. Fran works as a sales force integrator, doing customer training and quality control. Larry recently founded his own private equity company.

Like its neighbor across the street and the house at 108 N. Channing, 24 Rugby remained in the same family for an unusual number of years. Anna Margaret (Mary Adele) Kasser bought the lot adjacent to the city cemetery in 1890 for $850. Anna Margaret and Victor then had this house built by John A. Wright at a cost of $3000. There they raised their family of eleven children. The multi-talented Kasser children had various jobs: M. Agnes (1867-1960), Anna, Mary O., Adele, and Mame initially worked at the Elgin National Watch Factory.  Cecelia worked as a milliner, and later at Ackemanns. She married L. W. Wright.  Mary Rosalie (1858-1948) was a music teacher and also a milliner.  Mame and Anna next became teachers. Mary O. served as organist at St. Mary’s Church. William H. initially worked at Swans, after which he worked in Chicago. Charles Victor (1855-1906) was employed in Chicago. Son Victor H. (1900-1964) was Elgin city Engineer for 40 years.

Victor senior was born in 1833 in a small French village near Germany. At age 18, he emigrated to Pennsylvania, where he worked as a cabinet maker. After moving to Elgin in 1883, Victor held a number of important posts. A Justice of the Peace, he became a police magistrate in 1898. His love of music undoubtedly influenced the careers of his daughters. After Victor’s death in 1905, his widow and unmarried daughters lived here.  Mrs. Kasser died in 1917, survived by nine of her eleven children. Various daughters continued to live at 24 Rugby, until the last of them passed away in 1960, when Coleman and Esther Miller purchased the house. From 1940 until 1960, several tenants shared the house with Mrs. Miller. The house was next occupied by tenants, until 1983, when it was converted into 5 apartments. In 2001, new owners Tony and Edwina Little commenced on the enormous project of deconverting the house to a single-family dwelling, truly a labor of love. Tony, a carpenter, and Edwina, an aesthetician, were more than equal to the task. After removing extra walls and kitchens, they discovered some of the original configuration of the house, and were able to restore original features.

“This house is the oldest one on the west side of Rugby Place.”

~2006 Historic Elgin House Tour Book