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Historic figures Hulburd, Logan to receive posthumous Elgin Recognition Awards

Charles H. Hulburd

Charles H. Hulburd

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Updated: January 18, 2014 6:14AM

ELGIN — The city council is set to approve the recommendations of the Elgin Image Commission in selecting local historical figures Charles Hulburd and Louise Logan to receive 2013 Elgin Recognition Awards.

The posthumous honors began in 2008, with 12 people recognized thus far for their contributions to the city.

Inductees include Elgin founder James T. Gifford; “Song of Hiawatha” pageant organizer Carl Parlasca; sculptor and architect Trygve A. Rovelstad; philanthropists George P. and Mary Lord; milk industry business owner Gail Borden; religious book publisher David C. Cook; industrialist B.W. Raymond; educator Hattie Griffin; businessman William Grote; architect William Wright Abell; and physician and six-term mayor Joseph Tefft.

According to Elgin historian and former mayor E.C. “Mike” Alft, Hulburd was a Chicago attorney and partner in a commodity brokerage who became the third president of the Elgin National Watch Co. during the height of the labor unrest of 1898.

“He frequently left the Chicago office to spend time at the plant conversing with employees, and a paternalism aimed at fostering a more contented Father Time’s family developed under his leadership,” Alft wrote in “Elgin: An American History.”

Under Hulburd’s watch, in 1900, piecework wages at the factory were increased 10 percent to 25 percent, and workers were paid extra for overtime and holiday work. In 1901, Hulburd reduced the work shifts to nine hours during the week, with a one-hour lunch break, and to three hours on Saturday afternoons, without reducing overall pay.

“Despite the reduction in hours, in 1901 the Elgin National Watch Co. manufactured and sold more than 600,000 movements of the 1,875,769 produced by all 13 watchmaking firms in the United States,” Alft wrote. “The best previous year was 1891, when the factory had made about a half-million. The capital stock was increased to $5 million by a 25 percent stock dividend in 1903, and the denomination of shares was changed from $1,000 to $100.”

By 1904, the now-fireproof plant had completed building a new wing. In 1905, a 114-foot-tall clock tower with a 53-foot-tall flagpole marked the new front of the building. The old front was demolished in 1906, the same year the company opened its own power plant.

Logan’s legacy

According Alft’s “Elgin: A Woman’s City,” in 1931, the Associated Charities — which was overseeing local relief efforts — was reorganized as the Family Welfare Association, which was directed by Louise Logan.

Alft wrote, “Louise Logan served without remuneration, investigating cases of need and distributing funds for rent and coal and donations of food and clothing. By the spring of 1933, there were 1,400 families on her assistance lists. In 1934, after federal aid began arriving on a large scale, she resigned from actively directing the activities of Family Welfare and became the organization’s president, a position she was to occupy for 12 years.”

Logan was active with the Elgin Community Chest for 30 years, and during World War II she was in charge of the Elgin Red Cross Blood Donor’s Center. She served for several years as treasurer of the Kane County Tuberculosis Association and was an active worker in the YWCA and Sherman Hospital fund drives. She was the first woman to receive the Cosmopolitan Club’s Distinguished Service Award.

By 2016, images related to the winners will be included in pictorial presentations located at The Centre’s Heritage Ballroom entrance and outside city hall’s council chambers.

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