August Sonne

Narrator: August Sonne
Date of Interview: February 17, 1986
Place of Interview: Narrator’s home, located at 6028 Grove Street, Morton Grove
Interviewer: Yvonne Ryden
Recorded for: Morton Grove Historical Society
Transcribed For: Morton Grove Public Library
Tape Running Time: 48 minutes



August Sonne has been interested in things electrical all his life. He began in grammar school by installing switches and outlets at the request of the principal. He later made radio sets with headphones to be sold. In one anecdote, he told about his installation of decorative orange light bulbs in a large tree above Lincoln Tavern.

August, both before and after World War II, owned electrical companies in Morton Grove. During the war, he helped manage his brother Fred’s company, Chicago Aerial Industries, making innovative aerial cameras vital to the war effort. In his lifetime, August has seen many changes in his chosen field of electricity.


AS: August Sonne
Q: Question asked by interviewer, Yvonne Ryden


AS: My name is August Sonne, born in Morton Grove at School and Dempster Street, September 22, 1909. I had six brothers and one sister: Carl, Fred, Walter, Ernst, William, Julius, and a sister, Hermine Boettcher. Attended Grove Grade School and four years of Lane Technical High School at Division and Sedgwick Streets in Chicago.

Q: Why don’t you tell me about your grade school?

AS: Well, grade school was quite interesting. I had Catherine Mulvey for a period of seven of my eight years. She was teaching the first through fifth grade when I started school. She took over the sixth, seventh and eighth grades and became principal of the school. And it was quite interesting in those days because we only had the two rooms. Of course, we had cloakrooms for the boys and cloakrooms for the girls, and we came up this hallway in the front part of the building and it divided off into the different cloak rooms. And then from there we went into our classrooms.

And, of course, these were interesting years after my fifth grade, because when I got into sixth, seventh, and eighth grade, I was in with the older grade school children. Of course, Miss Mulvey having me do different things around the school there electrically, pertaining to electrical things, especially at the time of graduation when they’d have a big play or so at the pavilion, either the one where Linne Woods is now—there used to be a big pavilion in the back where they could have the final graduation performance and, of course, I would have to take care of making footlights and take care of all the lighting. Or if they had it at St. Paul Woods, I did the same thing over there—took care of making up different footlights and so forth for the different affairs.

But we had a lot of interesting things in those days. We had this club that was a 4-H Club, Cook County 4-H Club. And, of course, we had to have gardens and you had to show where you could grow something and make a profit on your growings. So my brother, Ernst and I—we had quite a nice garden there on School and Dempster Streets next to our house. We took one complete lot there and had it cultivated, and we used to grow radishes, onions, carrots, and we would bundle these into packages and take them all over to the Lincoln Tavern and sell them to them for a nickel for a bunch. And, of course, what used to irritate us a little bit was if we would clean them for the chef, then he’d be willing to buy them from us. So we managed to do real well at this—this was quite a thing.

And then, of course, after school we used to go picking violets in the summertime or spring of the year, and bundle them into bunches and sell them to people on Dempster Street when they were going to the taverns in their cars. And we’d get twenty-five cents, and if the fellow felt real good sometimes, we might wind up getting a fifty cent piece for a bouquet of violets.

And I often look back at these days. They were interesting days. This is when I started to do electrical work for Miss Mulvey. She had me repair sockets, lights, in the cloak rooms and pull chains and switches in the classrooms. And also down in the boiler room. And by the way, the school had a coal hand-fired boiler with steam heat. Before Grove School was remodeled to the Village Hall, it had thirteen classrooms, gym, and a lunchroom.

Q: Tell me about your younger years outside of school.

AS: Well, when I was about ten years old I remember the first airplane that landed in Morton Grove, in what is now Linne Woods. It had to avoid hitting the people who were running toward the airplane, and it sort of ran into the trees there and broke one of its wings. My older brother, Fred, helped him repair it, and then he go together and started the first airport in Morton Grove in 1919 on Dempster Street. That’s on the north side from the present Legion Hall east to Meade Avenue and north to the Forest Preserve.

Q: Why was there a plane flying near there before there was an airport?

AS: Well, the Lincoln Tavern, owned by Mr. Huff and Mrs. Peache, decided that probably a good business promotion would be to have an airplane come into Morton Grove and be able to fly some of their clientele after they had dinner and give them an airplane ride. And, of course, the pilot who was supposed to bring this plane to Morton Grove mistook the wrong field—he took the field where Linne Woods is presently instead of taking the area that was on Dempster Street between the Legion Hall and. . . actually Meade Avenue and from Dempster Street north to the forest preserve which was an eighty-acre field that belonged to my grandparents, the Huschers. The airplane, of course, after it was repaired was brought over there, and this is what really developed the airport in Morton Grove.

Q: What did Dempster Street really look like at that time?

AS: Well, at this time, Dempster Street was only a two-lane road, about eighteen feet wide and only about five houses on the south side of Dempster street from Georgiana all the way over to Austin Avenue. On the north side of the street there was a Dells Roadhouse which was on the corner of Austin and Dempster. Also on the north side of Dempster, there was a gas station approximately a half block west of The Dells and nothing else all the way over to about Georgiana Avenue or where the Legion Hall is. On Dempster Street on the south side from Georgiana east to School and from Dempster south to the alley of Crain Street, was the Lincoln Tavern Roadhouse, and the Sonne residence was on the southwest corner of School and Dempster Streets.

Q: Tell me a little more about the Lincoln Tavern area.

AS: Well, this was a wooded area of about a block-and-a-half square with a large building in the corner that could seat about a hundred people for dining, and they had floor shows and dancing. This area actually was an area that is now—Smithwood Drive is in there. It was a wooded area with this large building in the center, and they had a driveway coming in off Dempster Street with a large arch at this entranceway, and you had parking all around the building. In its first years, they had an outdoor area that was a rustic area—it was sort of a rustic garden. And this place was only open in the summertime.

They had wonderful facilities there for eating—they had some of the known bands and so forth. They had well-known bands at the Lincoln Tavern and also at The Dells—such as Guy Lombardo, Waring’s Pennsylvanians, Duke Ellington, Ted Weems, Glenn Miller, and any number of the well-known bands. Their shows, for instance, the Lincoln Tavern had Fred Astaire—that’s where he got his start with his sister. And The Dells had well-known people such as Sophie Tucker and Ted Lewis. They were all broadcast over stations usually in the evenings during their show period. I took care of the sound equipment and the lighting at both The Dells and the Lincoln Tavern, setting up the spotlights and sound, especially for Elmo Tanner, the whistler of Ted Weems’ band.

Q: Did the Lincoln Tavern just serve food?

AS: Oh no, they had more than food. They had these good shows as I had mentioned, real floor shows. I can remember they had. . .the Meechy[?] Greene and her six lucky girls, and I can remember when Meechy[?] wanted me to take care of some electrical work just before show time, and I told her I couldn’t do it because the gals were in there working and getting themselves ready for the show. And she said, “Don’t bother about the girls, we need the lights.” [laughs] And, of course, I had to go in and out up the lights and that went on just the same.

But it was quite an interesting place. They had two dining rooms that could be opened up into one, and they had this large elm tree that was growing out of the middle of the one dining room that was enclosed in glass. And they had a beautiful big bar in on one end, and of course, they had plenty of room for food to serve people, and dancing areas—in fact, there was a dancing area in both dining rooms. And, of course, they had the gambling room upstairs which was natural in most of these large taverns out in the outlying area—Glenview had one in the Garden of Allah, and Northbrook had them in their big taverns. The Dells had it and also the Lincoln Tavern.

Q: Now you said there was a gambling room upstairs in the Lincoln Tavern?

AS: Oh, yes, I can remember back in ’24 when the Lincoln Tavern had gambling in the upstairs room, and the county was going to pull a raid and Mr. Huff, owner of the tavern, would throw pebbles up against the window at the second floor window. Of course, we lived on the corner right next door to the Lincoln Tavern. And he would tell us boys that we should come over and move the equipment for him. This was at nighttime, of course, around 12:00 or 1 o’clock, and we would go over there, remove all the gambling equipment out of the gambling room, put it back in the garage in the back of the building, and take a lot of old equipment and set it up, and, of course, then the county would come in with the newspaper men and they would take pictures of the county people smashing the devices for the papers next day. And, of course, after they left we would take all the broken equipment down and set up the good equipment again and, of course, they would go back at their gambling. And, of course, we boys used to pick up maybe five dollars apiece to do all of this work.

Q: Tell me about your high school days. Go back and tell me about that.

AS: Well, my early high school days, you know, I was doing electrical work after school and Saturdays and Sundays. This was a means of money for me for spending and as well as helping in the household, because my mother, raising the bunch of us boys, had quite a struggle in life anyhow. But I managed to go to Lane Technical High School—we took the old Toonerville Trolley that is the Skokie Swift presently and then changed at Howard Street, went to Division and Sedgwick to the old Lane Tech for four years. And I took an extra half year—post-graduate year—to learn a little bit more about electrical work.

But these high school years were years I really made my entry into doing electrical work within the Village of Morton Grove. I was the only electrician in the whole area of Morton Grove here—the nearest other electrical place was at Skokie. That was Brod Electric, and Brod used to have me come over and do some work for him once in a while. So, having a little extra education in those days was quite a feather in your hat as they would express it in certain ways. Thank you.

Q: I know that at that time Lane Tech was just a boys’ school, and I’m sure all the boys didn’t go there. What were the choices of high school?

AS: Well, my early days of high school at Lane Tech High School—the reason I went there was the fact that they had no high schools here in the Niles Township area, and we had to make a choice of either going to Maine Township or the Evanston High School, New Trier, or any high school in the Chicago area. So, the Township would pay our tuition and, of course, my wanting t be into the electrical field, I decided that probably my better choice would be to go to a technical school of some kind, and I chose Lane Technical High School in Chicago.

Q: Then after high school, what did you do?

AS: Well, during this period of time I would go out and do electrical radio repair work and sound work. This was during a period of time I would go to high school and do electrical and radio repair and sound work after school, Saturdays and Sundays. I recall making crystal sets, wound-up wire on a Quaker Oats box, and made taps every so many turns and connecting them to switch controls on a panel of Bakelite with cat whisker’s crystal and terminals for one or two pairs of earphones—and make a wood cabinet to put it all in, and sell them for twenty-five dollars for one pair of earphones and thirty-five dollars for two pair of earphones. I remember selling one to Mr. Giese on School Street and one to our Postmaster, Robert Lutz. This included an outside aerial installed and ground connections and hook-up.

I did sound work with the sound track for Tessville Days, now in Lincolnwood, Niles Center Days, now Skokie, Morton Grove Days, Niles Days and also did electrical lighting for these different days and affairs, and picnics—also the Republic and Democratic picnics years ago. I remember the first sound truck which was for the War Working Circle in 1927, a one-day affair, the first of the Morton Grove Days. I had a 1927 Chevrolet Cabriolet and had to operate it with batteries. What I mean by operating it with batteries was we had no small sets that, or amplifiers, that you have today with chips. We had them with tubes—and believe it or not, you carried B batteries that were quite large and took up a lot of space, and also a lot of storage batteries in order to operate sound equipment. But this was the way we managed to convey the messages to people, and sound trucks were used all over. Some people even were fortunate enough to have generators on their equipment.

Q: To go back to Lincoln Tavern for a little bit here, tell me some more about the work that you did there.

AS: Well, in 1929 I illuminated the large elm tree that was in the center of the Lincoln Tavern with one thousand 25-watt orange bulbs. This looked like a huge orange tree at night—and fact is when I did this particular job, I couldn’t get that many light bulbs in one quantity from anyone at all, except the Public Service Company at that time. And they supplied all the bulbs for this particular job. Now this job cost the Lincoln Tavern at least a dollar a bulb, which was a lot of money at that time. So it was over a thousand dollars for the complete job. When it was lit up at night, you could see the tree from as far away as McCormick and Devon Avenue. It was quite a beautiful sight. This particular tree is still located in Smithwood Drive area, and years ago, there were still some wires hanging out of the tree from the stringers that we put into this particular tree.

The tavern was closed during the winter months. They would open sometimes in the early spring, and it was necessary to have something new each year both for The Dells and for the Lincoln Tavern. The Dells would always try and get some kind of a new band as the Lincoln Tavern doing the same as well. They decided that this was going to be a project for them, because they had been down in Florida and noticed that Florida was using this idea of lighting trees for something new. So Mr. Huff had asked me if it was possible to illuminate this tree in the top of the building because Mrs. Huff—Mrs. Peache rather, not Mrs. Huff—was quite interested in having this tree lit up.

So, I told them, I said it was possible and I got a hold of a tree surgeon from the tree company on Dempster Street, and he came over and I asked him if it was possible for him to climb the tree and put these stringers in there—and he says he didn’t see why not. So we worked up there for about two weeks on the roof of the building making stringers and pulling these strings of lights up into the tree and wiring them in.

When I got finished with the job, Mr. Huff said, “Well now, can we turn that on tonight?” He said, “We’d like to see what it’s going to look like.” So I told him, I said, “Sure, why not, let’s try it.” We tried it and when I turned it on, it was a beautiful sight. We were out in the yard looking at it, and Mrs. Peache, she looked at it—she said, “It’s lovely, Jack, but why can’t we get the under side of that tree to have a little more color?” So I said, “Well, that’s not too big a problem.” I said, “We can put some floodlights in the roof and illuminate that for you.” He said, “Well turn it off right away.” He said, “We don’t want people to see the tree until it’s finished.” So the next day we got some floodlights and put floodlights underneath the tree and that’s what really gave it the real color.

Q: Did that tree stay like that for very long?

AS: Oh, it stayed like that for that whole season and the following and then after that is when the Lincoln Tavern decided to move out and give up, and that’s when Skidmore and Johnson took over the gambling.

Q: And did they ask you to take the lights out of the tree?

AS: No, they didn’t ask to take them out because they wanted those lights to be up there to indicate to the people when they had those lights burning at night, that indicated to the people who could see it all the way as far as Devon and McCormick and that area, or whoever could see it from any distance that gambling was on tonight at the Lincoln Tavern.

Q: So the tree was like a signal.

AS: It was a signal light, yes, indicating for the gambling syndicates.

Q: Now let’s see, you said you lit this tree just as you were coming out of high school. What did you do then?

AS: Following that I decided to start an electrical business here, because I was working in Chicago for Jenkins and Adair Broadcast Equipment House, and I had a very dear friend who worked in this same place with me. And we were discussing the matter of sound and radio and all different types of possibilities in Morton Grove. We decided that maybe we could start an electrical business here in Morton Grove or a radio shop of some kind. So, in 1932, we started the radio shop on Lincoln Avenue, two doors east of Fernald and on the north side of Lincoln, which is now an empty lot. It was a small real estate office that Joseph Hoss had. And we rented it from him for fifteen dollars a month.

When I say we, it was Eddie Kolar, this friend of mine from down at Jenkins and Adair, and myself and we called it Kolson because his name was Kolar and my name was Sonne. We repaired radios and did sound work and had small cathedral radios which we made by getting cabinets from a supplier in Chicago. We’d build a receiver and get a speaker and assemble it and sell them for $25. then we took a Packard four-door 1927 sedan and built four speakers on the roof and a generator in the trunk and turntable and microphone and amplifier in the car—had signs mounted on the racks on the outside and used it to drive this sound wagon around to different communities advertising different events—elections, carnivals, in all the different towns.

And in 1934, I bought Kolar’s interest in the business, and I decided that I was going to close up shop anyway, so I took it to Pavlik Brothers in Kenilworth. And, of course, while I was working at Pavlik Brothers, I got married to a nice gall by the name of Ebba Lauridsen. We decided to continue living here in Morton Grove. And fact is, I lived in the area or in the building rather—that is now Tad’s Television Store in the back. In the front part of it was the Morton Grove Public Library. And I decided that I would continue working for Pavlik for a period of time.

And finally one day I had a motorcycle accident, put me in the hospital for three months—and, of course, when I came out of the hospital, I decided to go back into business again. During this period in the hospital for three months, my wife had to come in every day and feed me because I had both my wrists broken and they were both in casts, and I broke my leg and consequently was in a cast around my leg and around my waist. And she was so good to me, she came every day. To get to the hospital in those days, she used to walk from Morton Grove to St. Francis Hospital on Ridge Avenue daily just to take care of me. We didn’t have a car that she could use, and she didn’t know how to drive it anyhow—I did have a Model A Ford, but she wasn’t able to drive. A few times, she’d get a ride from somebody part way, but at least I had good care while I was in the hospital.

Q: She walked from Morton Grove all the way into Ridge Road, Ridge Street in Evanston?

AS: That’s right. Yes. Occasionally, she would get a ride from one of my brothers or someone that was going maybe as far as McCormick and Devon or something. Well, when I finally wound up three months in the hospital—x-rays, everything complete—the total bill did not run more than $269.

Q: For three months?

AS: For three months in the hospital. And my doctor’s bill was just a little bit under the same amount.

Q: Go ahead and tell me about that.

AS: Actually the bill at the hospital was for $319 for three months in the hospital. That included everything—x-rays, casting, and you name it. The doctor’s bills were then about the same, maybe a little bit less—and when the settlement came from the insurance company, they took ten percent off the doctor bill and ten percent off the hospital bill, and my doctor was good enough to take both the hospital and doctor’s amount off of his bill, so that everything came out all right. But from here on in, I decided that maybe I should do something to get back into shape, and I decided to go back into the electrical business.

Q: What did you do after you got of the hospital?

AS: Well, I did have to work for Pavlik for a short period of time and Pavlik invited me to get back into the electrical business. I finally made the decision and talked it over with the dear little one, and she said maybe it would be a good idea, so at this particular time, I decided to open up a shop over on Lincoln Avenue—that was in the Poehlmann Brothers’ old garage and office building. This was a start of the Morton Grove Electrical Service, and I took a fellow in with me who was a cousin of mine by the name of Carl Mueller. This was back in 1938. And the old Poehlmann Brothers’ office room was the one that we used for a shop. It was on Lincoln Avenue at 6239. It’s presently where the Baxter Building is.

Now Carl Mueller stayed in business for a few years and took another job out East. We sold Norge products, Farnsworth radios, electrical materials and radio tubes. This shop was next to the Young Men’s Clubroom in the same building, which had a large garage on one end and rented by Santucci Construction Company. We all rented from Mack Falknor who was the receiver for the Poehlmann property, paid ten dollars a month until we took over the Clubroom—then our rent went to fifteen dollars.

Q: What kind of a club was that Young Men’s Club?

AS: Well, at the particular time—you know it was during the Depression time wherein jobs weren’t too plentiful and a lot of people were out of work—and the young men of Morton Grove developed a what they called a Young Men’s Club. It didn’t cost you anything to belong, and it was a place where they could gather—they had a pool table in there that they could play pool, and they had card tables where they could play cards, and it was a place of recreation in this sense for those who were looking for work as well. And if different people needed help, different contractors or so, they knew they could always pick up some help at the Young Men’s Club.

But this club eventually got to a point where it couldn’t function any longer, and they decided to break up the club. There weren’t enough of them there to take care of it and keep it in order, and, of course, the equipment—the stove that they had in there was an old oil stove. We bought that from the club so that they could pay for some of their indebtedness on the club bills. And the pool table they gave to the Morton Grove Fire Department.

Along came World War II and no one bought materials without priorities. Jobs were less, and my brother, Fred, who started Chicago Aerial Industries on 215 E. Ohio Street in Chicago, asked me to do some electrical work in his plant in Chicago—one hundred percent materials at work in making aerial cameras, Sonne strip type—his own development. He gave me a job as number one employee of his shop and I wound up having hundreds working under me.

I worked with Chicago Aerial until 1949 when my doctor advised me to go back into my electrical business, because my health was starting to fail me. I then developed Sonne Electric for one year and took my brother, Bill, in partners with me—and incorporated under Sonne Electrical, Inc.—operated at 6028 Grove Court until 1959 when we opened a store at 6238 Lincoln Avenue, east of the hardware store. Previously, this was the old National Tea Store in Morton Grove. We rented this building from Mr. Engel at a price of twenty-five dollars a month and he offered it to me—to sell it to me for eleven thousand dollars. At that time, we thought that was a lot of money.

Q: Tell me about what you really had—what you really sold at the store.

AS: Well, we started at first considering the fact that we did need a base for our contracting business and to take care of our sound equipment, a storage place for it—because we lost the building garage that we had in back of my mother’s property on School and Dempster Street, which was a big old garage in the back. And we had to have a place to store equipment, so we had it in this place. And then we decided to fix up the front part of it—we had our two little offices there and we built a canopy on the one side of the store where we had lighting fixtures.

And, of course, the rest of the store was kind of empty, and our wives decided that maybe it might be a smart idea if we had a few more appliances and so forth to sell, because we just had a few on the table. So we built shelving along the other walls, and it didn’t take long and they got a better idea, both Lornell and Ebba had states to us, “Gee, why don’t we go into something else—how about selling a lot of gift items?” So they decided to go into selling different—well what would you call it?

Q: Like knickknacks?

AS: Knickknacks and all different kinds of fineries in chinaware, and they decided that this would be a good operation, especially with having Baxter’s across the street. And at noontime these people used to come during their lunch period to look around in the store, either look at the fixtures or some of the appliances we had there, and they finally decided that this was a good move—because we tried large appliances and, of course, Polk Brothers were the type of people who could undersell anybody at that time, so we had to give that part of it up, which was Westinghouse’s line. And the gals did pretty well for a number of years there. We did real well in the china and gift knack business.

But along came a point where expenses got too high as far as the shop was concerned, and we decided to retrieve our business back to good old 6028 Grove Court, making that our office and headquarter. We had the office at Bill’s house and I had the mailing address. And this is the end of Sonne Electric because I retired. I retired in ’77 because I worked until I was sixty-seven—put in a little extra time. And, of course, my brother, Bill, continued the business. I sold out to him, and he continued the business until just a year ago when he got to a point when he couldn’t do too much himself anymore. And he finally gave up in the latter part of ’85, and this was the end of Sonne Electric.

Q: Let’s talk a little bit again about your childhood and growing up.

AS: Well, my childhood and growing up—many long years ago when I was young, real young, I used to go with my dad and we’d go down to the dam at the river which is back in the old St. Paul Woods—I would say approximately about two blocks south of where Lincoln Avenue makes the bend at the entrance of St. Paul Woods. There was a dam there. It was a way of backing up the river, and we used to fish at that particular point for what they called pickerel. My dad would have a pole that he had a wire on with a loop on the end, and you used to watch the pickerel swimming around ahead of the dam and you would take and get it around over their head and give it a fast jerk—and by doing so would snare this fish around the neck and bring it up. And, of course, pickerel have quite a bit of bone in them, but they were good eating. And we’d come home with quite a mess of fish.

And, of course, the river being backed up that way, we had a sort of a spot there which was south of Dempster Street and actually west of the tracks, there is a spot in there where there was a little island, and they called that Hobo Island. Now I wasn’t in too much of the times that went on down there, but they claim that the hoboes used to camp down there from time to time, because of it being close to the railroad. And, of course, there was a large hill there, and my Uncle Fred Huscher, he had a coal yard and excavating equipment business. Fact is, in those days they had teams of horses and he had an icehouse there.

And just across the street from this particular office that he had, there was a hill that went down to the river. In the wintertime we used to take our sleds, our toboggans—a couple of us had toboggans. And we would go down that hill and then, of course, when you went down, you went over this island area and out onto the river. And we’ll never forget the day when there were six of us on the toboggan, and we went down and up and over this hill and back out on the river and the ice was kind of thin—and we all went through. And, of course, we all got soaking wet—we rushed like anything over to my uncle’s office, which was just across the street there and kind of dried out. We took most of our clothes off and stayed in the office and got dry.

Q: Was it a business office?

AS: Well, it was his business office but it was just he and his workmen who actually were in this office. There were no ladies around. But then there were times when we used to go swimming in the river—now it was easier years ago when the north branch of the Chicago River was clean. And there was a spot in the river where we used to go swimming—and that was up actually north of Dempster Street, I would say, well, it would be approximately say three blocks north where the river makes a bend. And it bends away from the track going east. And we used to go swimming in this particular spot. In fact, it was a good ice-skating spot in the wintertime, too.

And we’d go there swimming in the summertime and, of course, if the girls were over there we’d kind of be walking up and find out that they were swimming. Well, we’d go over and we’d steal their clothes and hide them on them and think it was funny. And then, of course, one of us would get a little chicken and we’d go back and take their clothes back later on. But if the boys were swimming, the girls wouldn’t go down, and if the girls were swimming, the boys wouldn’t go down.

But there were a lot of good times had, and a lot of good stories could be told. I know there were a lot of good ice skating times on the river. We used to build a campfire there, and there would be as many as twenty-five to fifty people there, ice skating in the evening, some of them would do some real fancy skating. Other times we would have a period when they used to skate and play crack the whip, and we all had a lot of fun in the early days on the river of Morton Grove.

Q: What did you do on Halloween?

AS: Oh, Halloween was always a good time. We always managed to go over and get Poehlmann Brothers’ wagon, one of their wagons, and haul it down close to the river, and never put it in the river, but at least we took it away from their place. Of course, this was real easy to do in Morton Grove, because at that time we only had one policeman. And we were always divided into two groups—one group would be on the west side of town and the other group would be on the east side of town. And, of course, he’d be busy taking care of watching the east side while the west side would go around and take the fences—the gates off the fences rather—and hang them up on the light poles and we didn’t do any real bad damage.



AS: One way or the other, the other group would then act. And, of course, if you didn’t have your outhouse staked down good and solid, it was usually dumped over before Halloween was over. They got in teams so they could push them over, but one particular night, the gang that was together had pushed it over, and one of the fellows fell in. That was an awful mess.

Q: [laughs] Thank you, Augie, for sharing these memories of early Morton Grove with me and with the members of the Historical Society. I’m hoping that at some time in the future I can come back and we can talk about the way you recall the development of Dempster Street.


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