Open Elgin


Tour buildings with unique architecture and fascinating histories at the award-winning Open Elgin 2018 tour. Open Elgin features over 30 unique spaces, including popular tour stops from last year, such as the U-46 Planetarium and Observatory, along with additions like the Elgin Fire Barn Museum and the original Gail Borden Public Library located at 50 N. Spring St.

Gail Borden – Scofield Mansion

The only extant building associated with turn-of-the-century governmental buildings is the old Gail Borden Library. Formerly housed in a storefront building on Chicago Street, the library was established in 1894 at 50 N. Spring Street in the former 1870s residence of David Scofield (David ran a tree nursery and his wife Emily was the daughter of Cyrus and Sarah Larkin). This Richardsonian Romanesque style building was purchased in 1892 by Alfred B. Church and Samuel M. Church, stepsons of Gail Borden. The brothers wanted to memorialize their step-father by turning the former residence into a library that was named after the late Gail Borden.


Gail Borden - Scofield Mansion

The Gail Borden - Scofield Mansion as it currently stands at 50 N. Spring Street


Architectural Significance

50 S. Spring Street is a two-story brick structure designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style.  The building contains terracotta adornment found at its cornice as well as the honorary terracotta lettering proclaiming the building as the “Gail Borden Public Library,” found at the building’s east elevation. Copper banding also outlines the building just below the terra cotta laurel swag detailing. The building has had very few alterations since being converted to a library in 1894. When the library relocated in the late 1960’s, Ackemann’s Department Store expanded into the space until 1985 when it was converted to a restaurant. Source: Gifford Park Association



To learn more about the amazing architectural gems featured in Open Elgin visit 
Download the Open Elgin Brochure or check out our Interactive Map!


**Sponsored by Elgin Area Chamber and the Enhancing Elgin Committee of the Elgin Development Group, the City of Elgin, School District U-46, Judson University, Elgin Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, Downtown Neighborhood Association, the Elgin History Museum, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Hamilton Wings AND Create, Innovate, Ignite and the Gail Borden Public Library District.


Elgin Area Chamber Elgin Development Group Enhancing Elgin Committee