Entries by Dan Miller

Habitat for Humanity

After the crash President Obama funded a huge program called the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP).  Cities nationwide were given money to buy and rehab properties made vacant problems by the crash.  Elgin received over 2 million dollars.   With it they bought eight properites.  One they tore down as it was too far gone.  Just […]

Porches recreated by NHS

 Porches recreated by Neighborhood Housing Services In the early 80’s Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) and the city of Elgin bought 326 E. Chicago with the upper level to be for the NHS office and the bottom floor to be rented out as an apartment.  It was purchased for $55,000. A neighbor came forward with an […]

The Saga of My Wood Lathe

In 1975 we inherited a nice rocking chair from my wife’s grand parents.  It was missing a spindle.  We looked everywhere for someone to make one spindle for us.  We found places that would make 100 but not one. I was starting to get into woodworking as a necessity in rehabbing our first house so […]

Repairing an unusual porch post

This house on Douglas Street in Elgin has four columns with unusual large beading on the top 18 inches.    The two in the rear got a lot of water from the roof and were rotten.  I was hoping that some epoxy could give them several more years.  When they were taken down the top […]

126 Hill Porch

126 Hill was foreclosed upon. A flipper bought it for $60,000.   She was having a hard time finding contractors to do the work and asked me for some advice. While I was there I noticed the clear marks for a porch post  on  the front of the house. I asked her if I could […]

Porch aprons

Overthe years I have collected a lot of porch apron designs, especialy sawed ones.  When a  customer is considering installing a new porch apron I often take my mockups and actually place them on the porch to give the customer a choice as shown below.     When we were rehabbing the house next door I […]


162 Summit

162 Summit Elgin, IL After the crash President Obama initiated what he called the National Stabilization Program (NSP).  It gave money to cities to buy and rehabilitate foreclosed problem properties that were having such a negative impact on our neighborhoods.  The City of Elgin was awarded over two million dollars.  I was lucky enough to […]

132 N. Channing

For years 132 N. Channing was a two unit that was not nice enough to attract decent people. The Gifford Park Association uses the proceeds from its annual Historic Elgin House Tour  to purchase and rehab problem properties.  In 30 years, this was the fourth one they did. The home had asphalt siding on it […]

272 Division

According to Steve Stroud’s book There Used To Be  272 Division was built in ca 1875 for H. D. and Ida Barnes.  H.D. was an assistant manager of the Elgin Packing Company.  He owned the home until 1901 when it was sold to St. Joseph’s German Catholic Church for their rectory which it is still […]