Elgin Mental Health Center
750 S. State St., Elgin
Bertrand Goldberg, architect, 1966-1967) (Unknown builder, 1890s barn)
now-vacant buildings at Elgin Mental Health Center were designed by noted
modernist architect Bertrand Goldberg and completed between 1966 and 1967: a
distinctive Laundry Facility and circular Medical Surgical Building. A
vacant brick horse barn was built by the hospital in the 1890s and is
thought to be the oldest masonry barn in Kane County. Elgin Mental Health
Center was opened as the Northern Illinois Hospital and Asylum for the
Insane in 1872.
Current Condition and/or Status: The laundry building was closed in
2000 for possible asbestos abatement and was part of the 2002 property sale.
The Medical Building is still owned by the Health Center, but is now vacant.
It is structurally sound, but heating and ventilation upgrades and repairs
from deferred maintenance are needed. Public access to the grounds is
limited and many other historic buildings have already been demolished. In
later years the hospital used the barn for storage until the sale of the
property in 2002. It is structurally solid and appears to be in good
Potential Threat: The laundry building and masonry barn are located
on the northern portion of the hospital campus, which was sold in 2002 to
John B. Sanfilippo and Sons. The company planned to consolidate its nut
processing operations on the site, but now plans to sell the property, which
is zoned for industrial/research uses. It is assumed that the two historic
buildings will be demolished when the lots are redeveloped. The Hospital has
not stated a future use for the Medical Building.
What You Can Do: Contact Elgin city officials to encourage their
support to include the 19th century barn in an expansion plan of the
adjacent, city-owned sports complex to Elgin Shores Park, a Kane County
Forest Preserve. Community advocates have proposed that the barn could serve
as a possible comfort station or point of interest to a proposed bicycle
trail. The Laundry Building should be studied for industrial re-use. Urge
that all of the buildings be evaluated by the Elgin Historic Preservation
Commission for possible local landmark designation.
Other Contacts: ARCHES (Advocate to Revitalize Cultural & Historic
Elgin Sites) is a local group that advocates the sustainable value of
Elginís rich past.
Photos: 1,2 Medical Surgical
Building, 3,4 Laundry Building, 5,6 barn; (1) Hedrich Blessing, (2,4,6)
Landmarks Illinois; (3,5) Courtesy Elgin MHC Archives