The citizens of Elgin have always understood and appreciated the
liberty, but realized that liberty does not come without a price. As early as
1909, portions of Wing Park and adjoining fields were converted into Camp
Deneen, a temporary home for The Third Infantry of the Illinois National Guard.
On land donated by The Elgin Watch Factory, ground at 254 Raymond Street was
broke on April 24, 1937 for a new Illinois National Guard Armory. By September
of 1939, the building was ready to be dedicated. This WPA project cost only
$125,000 to construct, but it was estimated that by 1959, it had already
returned over 4 million dollars to the community through payroll to employees.
The armory also fulfills many peace-time duties. In addition to being the home
of Company A of the 1st. Battalion of the 131st Infantry of the 66th Infantry
Brigade of the 34th Infantry Division, the building has also provides food and
clothing drives, dog shows and housing for residents during natural disasters.
The very symbol of liberty, two 5 foot 6 inch eagles stand guard on either side
of the front door. They are said to weigh in excess of two tons each.