Lee County Biography


No history of Dixon would be complete if it failed to make prominent mention of W. J. McAlpine, who as a contractor and builder has taken prominent part in the progress and improvement of his adopted city. He has resided in Lee county since 1888 and many of its finest structures stand as monuments to his skill and enterprise. Born in Ashtabula, Ohio, in 1852, Mr. McAlpine is a son of Lemuel and Mary (Price) McAlpine, who came to Illinois in 3853, settling in DeKalb county. The father was a farmer, depending upon the tilling of the soil for support for his family. Both he and his wife are now deceased.

W. J. McAlpine was only about a year old when the family arrived in this state and his early education was acquired in DeKalb county where he afterward learned the carpenter's trade, gradually becoming an expert workman along that line. After some time spent in the employ of others he began contracting and building on his own account and in 1888 removed to Lee county, from which point he has since directed his operations. Gradually he has worked his way upward until he is today one of the most prominent and successful contractors of this part of the state, doing all kinds of building. He erected the Lee county courthouse in 1901, the state normal school of DeKalb in 1892 and the Dixon National Bank building in 1913. He has built courthouses at various points in Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and other states and the importance of the contracts awarded him is evidence of his superior skill and ability. Thoroughly acquainted with every phase of practical building, he also understands as well, the great scientific principles which underlie his work and in its execution displays the taste which has ranked architecture among the fine arts.

Mr. McAlpine is a republican in his political views and keeps thoroughly well informed concerning the vital questions and issues of the day. While the extent and importance of his business affairs have brought him wide acquaintance, he is almost equally well known through his Masonic connections. He belongs to the lodge, chapter, commandery and to the Mystic Shrine and is most loyal to the teachings of the craft, exemplifying in his life many of its beneficent principles and purposes. This, however, he regards as but a side issue, concentrating the major portion of his time and attention upon building operations in which he has displayed such efficiency that the consensus of public opinion ranks him with the foremost contractors of northern Hlinois.

Transcribed by Karen Holt - 1914 History of Lee County Illinois Vol 2 by Frank E. Stevens.

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