By the start of the 20th century, Elgin was booming – but that boom did not
happen by accident. Through the negotiations of business developer William
Grote, funds were raised to attract The Brethren Publishing Company to Elgin
from Mount Morris, Illinois in 1899. The publishing company set up shop in a
three-story building on State Street near West Chicago Street. Before long, The
Dunkards, as they were originally called, were holding church services there.
By 1903, the operation expanded. A fourth story was added, along with a
courtyard for better illumination for the workers. In addition to printing the
weekly church flyers, the presses also produced lessons, song sheets and other
religious materials. They eventually became the second highest producer of
book-class mail in Elgin. The only company who produced more second class mail
was D.C. Cook Publishing.
The plant was abandoned in 1959 and eventually burned down in 1991, but the
congregation still meets in Elgin. The Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren is
an offshoot of the Baptist denomination with over 140,000 members (See photo
under "Elgin Today"). One of their
premises is to conscientiously object to war and to work with various organizations to achieve that goal.