The David C. Cook Mansion - formally known as the Bowes Retirement Center
This is what it looked like when it was built. It can look like this again with the first order of business being to get the additions off.
This is what it looks like today. The additions hide the original building and are planned to be removed.
We have lost twenty-seven mansions (see the pictures below) of this stature in Elgin and only have six left. We cannot afford to lose another. The Cook mansion at 105 N. Gifford, is in danger of being lost. We must all do whatever it takes to preserve it as it is such an important part of our history.
The bank foreclosed on The David C. Cook mansion in 2010. They are currently desperate to get rid of it as the taxes are expensive. They are willing to give it to the City. A committee of City staff, a Kane County Commissioner, and Gifford Park Association members was formed to study the project. A $6000 feasibility study was commissioned that concluded that it would take 1.1 million dollars to rehabilitate. The committee agreed that the City would not want to hold the property but if an owner were found they could immediately deed it to them. The home was listed on an old house site with over one hundred people expressing an interest including a few serious buyers that have all read the feasibility study. One couple drove from N. Carolina to view it. Anyone accepting the house will need considerable financial help from the city, the bank and The D. C. Cook Corporation to make the project work. Some say, "What about the cost to the city?" The Gifford Park Association says, "What about the cost to the city if we lose it."
Cities across the nation are leveraging historic preservation to boost economic development, create environmental sustainability, attract cultural tourism and increase pride in place. Historic places give value, meaning and character to communities. We must keep the David C. Cook mansion out of the landfill.
This is a signature property that is architecturally and historically significant to Elgin and it won't get fixed unless the city, the bank and the D. C. Cook Corporation participates. The Gifford Park Association has committed $50,000 of its own money from multiple Housewalks, to the project.
In the three volumes of Steve Stroud's books
There Used to Be he shows pictures of one hundred four homes that have been demolished in Elgin. There were a lot more that he did not have pictures for.
Below are pictures from Steve's book of twenty-seven homes of the same stature as the Cook mansion that we have lost. We only have six left. We cannot afford to lose another.
Old drawing of how Grand View originally looked before porches were updated.
181 S. Gifford - Grand View
72 S. Chapel - octagon at the SW corner of Chapel and Fulton
600 Villa where Walgreen's now stands at Villa and Liberty
470 Douglas - a small yellow brick apartment building is there now
557 E. Chicago where the Torrey Pines apartments are now
409 E. Chicago where the Roseanne apartments are now
330 Division where the Congregation Kneseth Israel is today
316 Douglas - the Salvation Army is there now
230 S. State - a large apartment building is now there at the corner of Standish and State.
170 S. State
132 S. State
120 S. State
111 N. Channing demolished for the Channing Y
104 S. State
80 S. State
7 Villa where the AT&T building stands today
25 N. Gifford
103 - 109 S. Gifford where St. Mary School now stands
552 E. Chicago was lost to fire caused by lightning
This is similar to what 105 N Gifford will look like when the paint is stripped off of it.