Caroline Harrer Heuel

Narrator: Caroline Harrer Heuel
Dates of Interview: June 15, 1987; June 24, 1987; August 31, 1987
Place of Interview: Narrator’s home, located at 6461 Nokomis, Chicago, Illinois
Interviewer: Yvonne Ryden
Recorded For: Morton Grove Historical Society
Transcribed For: Morton Grove Public Library
Tape Running Time: 2 hours, 42 minutes

Part 1:

Part 2:



Caroline Harrer Heuel was the daughter and youngest child of George Harrer, first mayor of Morton Grove. She remembers her father working on village business in their living room and sometimes assisting him.

Mr. Harrer had built a large greenhouse on Theobald Road. Caroline recalls many details of the day-to-day operation of their greenhouse business.

Caroline talks of family life and their house. As the youngest of nine, she listened to what her older siblings discussed. She calls herself “the tag-along.”


CH: Caroline Harrer Heuel
Q: Yvonne Ryden
Note: William Heuel also sat in on the interview.


Q: I am at the home of Caroline Harrer Heuel. We have been talking about the good old days in Morton Grove. So I have asked her if I could record some of the things she has to say. Are you ready to start?

CH: Well, let’s see. My grandparents’ names. Grandmother’s maiden name was Schmidt, and (pauses) they were born in Bavaria, Germany.

Q: Both of your grandparents were born in Bavaria?

CH: Yes, on the Yehl side.

Q: Your grandmother was born there but came here when she was an infant. Now this is your mother’s mother?

CH: This is my mother’s mother was born in Bavaria. She came over to this country in 1850, a babe in arms, and they settled in Waukegan. Now my father’s mother’s maiden name was Neeb. So they were married here, and his name was Henry, I think. They settled in Skokie, which was at that time Niles Center, in that large square building.[1] And they moved it back down Oakton toward Floral Avenue. Then finally it was torn down. Well, anyway, that was like the center, I would say, of the Township of Niles. And that is the head, almost everything in that building, and that was the building where my grandparents, my father’s parents worked and lived. Naturally, my father also, because he worked with his father.

Q: What type of business was it?

CH: Well, it was a general store. Like any general store would be—like Schoenenbergers there or R. Frank’s Department Store. They sold everything. And they had the post office in there. My grandfather was a justice of the peace. They had a few small apartments, I think, upstairs and a dance hall. Now that was a very old building, but it was large. It was big—had a lot of things going on. And they had, I think my father and mother when they were married, had a little apartment up there. They had a dance hall up there. And there were some very well-known people also who had a couple of apartments up there. And one was Loutsch, our. . .

Q: Art Loutsch?

CH: The father. He and his wife had a little apartment up there. They just had been married. Remember, this goes way back.

Q: Well, can you give me any date at all?

CH: Well, my, my, let’s see—my mother and father were married in 1886. They had this little apartment upstairs. I know there was a stairway going straight up right from the front, you know. . .

William Heuel: It was three floors.

CH: Was it three? And Loutsch—what was his first name yet? The father?

William Heuel: Old man?

CH: Yes.


Q: Now you were talking about a Mr. Loutsch.

CH: Yes.

Q: . . .who lived upstairs of your grandfather’s store.

CH: Yes.

Q: Go ahead and talk about them.

CH: Well, I don’t like to say too much.

Q: Did they have children or were they just. . .

CH: Well, not at that age. No, they were young, they were just married, you know. And that was like a stepping stone, so to speak.

Q: Well, we really ought to go back and talk about your parents. About how they’ve been newly married, and they’re living in the apartments over the store.

CH: One apartment.

Q: What was your mother’s name?

CH: My mother’s name was Maria Yehl Harrer.

Q: Well, when she was married, she was a Schmidt.

CH: No, that was my grandmother was a Schmidt. And she married a George Yehl. I said she must have liked the name of George. She married a George—no, her father’s name was George, she married a George, and she had a son, George, and a brother, George. There were four Georges there. Now she was a Yehl, and her father, which would be my grandfather, was the one who came over from Bavaria. They lived in this area that was not charted—Morton Grove—as yet.

Q: I see.

CH: It was called the Township of Niles. And that was Morton Grove, Skokie, Lincolnwood, and the town, the village of Niles. It was those four towns made up the township. Let’s see. . .(pauses). . . we were talking about my parents’ occupation. That’s what they did, and then my grandfather who had all of this in this building, he must have sold all of that and bought acreage on the outskirts of Skokie where they had a lot of farmland. It was an area of Skokie called East Prairie. And they had a road, East Prairie Road, too. You had to take that to get to that farm. That was when my father then was married, and he went in business for himself. Everybody was going into the florist business at that time, and, of course, he followed suit. So he bought that property that was where the greenhouses were. He bought, I don’t know, probably two and a half, three acres, something like that. And built the house and built the greenhouses and built the barn and wagon shed, as they called it in those days. We had enough property next to the house, next to the greenhouse for our own farming needs—not farming, gardening. We grew what we needed for our own house, but. . .

Q: Now where would this be located if you were going to tell me today?

CH: On Theobald Road. Theobald Road and it was close to Lincoln Avenue. It was on Theobald Road between Lincoln Avenue and Dempster, but it was closer to Lincoln Avenue[2] than to Dempster Street. And it was just a narrow, little dirt road in there and kind of winded around until we got to Dempster. Dempster was the outlet. That was the street we used to take to Evanston.

We didn’t have any what you’d say big farm wagons or anything, but we had one horse. It was not a plow horse. It was used for a light spring wagon, what they called a buggy. My mother used to put the kids in this little wagon and drive to Evanston. Do a lot of shopping in Evanston. And. . .

Q: That would have been quite a trip.

CH: It was. But my grandmother, on the other hand, used to walk to Evanston with the eggs in a basket and sell them.

Q: Which grandmother would this have been?

CH: That was Grandmother Yehl. Now that I was told, too. I didn’t witness any of these things, but I was told this. Let’s see, where were we?

Q: We were saying that your parents, your father invested in acreage there. . .

CH: Acreage on Theobald Road.

Q: . . .which was still not called Morton Grove at that point.

CH: No, no. And he built the greenhouse—well, I said that. And also the outhouses. . .

Q: Would this have been the greenhouses that were still standing until a few years ago?

CH: Yes, it’s only a couple of years ago. And it hurt me! Whew! To see that torn down and all that heating—all these pipes, you know, you’ve got five or six pipes all through the greenhouses where the heat went through. My father put that in himself. And we saw all those pipes laying there. And we had a couple of big boilers, of course, to heat, to keep the greenhouses a certain temperature so the flowers wouldn’t freeze. They were down low in what we called a boiler pit. Then that was all concrete around there. We had to have someone do night work, night firing, we called it. A night fireman during the winter months.

Q: It’s interesting these words you’re giving me, these phrases.

CH: We kids, we had orders to stay out of the boiler pit, but we loved to go in there, and Dorothy[3] was staying here a while back how she loved, you know, to go in that boiler pit. And they had all kinds of instruments there in connection with the boiler. Steam, you know, and my father would let off steam every once in a while when there was too much steam. It would scare me. It would make a noise and the steam would balloon up.

And another thing was coal. At the time, soft coal, just soft coal with great big clumps of coal. We used to buy it by the freight car load—coal cars, you know. They were flat. Then we had to have somebody haul it from the train track, side track, to the greenhouse and there was a coal shed especially for that. They would pull up; there was road there, a private road.

That’s where the Huschers came in. They had a business where they sold, I think, cinders and things like that and they did hauling. So we used to, my father used to hire them to haul this coal. They’d have these big wagons, you know, and two horses. And they would unload this coal, and then we used to—for the house we had hard coal. We also had to have that hauled, and then in one of the basement windows we’d have a coal chute. They would haul the coal—put the coal into the chute and it would slide down into the coal bin.

Q: Now was that in the house?

CH: That was in the house in the basement. In the greenhouses we had what we called carnation cuttings and we grew carnations and great big chrysanthemums and calla lilies. That was not Easter lilies—calla lilies. Those are the three different things we grew. And we would—well, maybe this is going into too much detail. You know, how we used to string these, you know, the plants so that each plant would be in a little square and wouldn’t fall over, you know. And, of course, the dirt would have to be changed—hauled out with a wheel barrow—and fresh new dirt put in.

Q: Now did you help do this kind of work?

CH: Well, not with the hauling, no.

Q: No, I don’t mean that. But the planting. . .

CH: Yes, with the string—yes. And then they took cuttings off the large plants and made little cuttings about like this, and they then were put in the propagating house, we called it, where it had to be shady and where the sun wouldn’t get in. that was covered with a white. . .

Q: In other words, they got light but not direct sunlight.

CH: Not direct sunlight. In sand, and that sand had to be kept wet all the time—at least damp, you know.

Q: Where did your father learn about the floral business?

CH: I don’t know. I was the youngest of nine children. So, you see, there’s a lot of things I didn’t know. A lot of things I heard from my older sisters and brothers. But this is what I saw myself—about the cuttings and making roots. Then when they would get a certain size, we’d take them out. The roots were good enough, and we’d take off the dry leaves that were on the bottom before they were planted outside. This property we had to rent, because we needed more than we had where the greenhouses were. That was where Brooks’s used to have their greenhouses.[4] I think the house is still there, but this was up on a hill and it was gravel; it was a gravel area. That’s where we used to plant these out. And then there was another area—this was all off of Lincoln Avenue—another area on the other side of the woods, another piece of property there, where we used also to plant these small plants. Until they would get to a certain size and get a good root. . .

Q: Now these were not greenhouses. These were in a plot?

CH: This was outside before they went into the greenhouse. They were cuttings that were taken off of the big plants, older plants. Then these, of course, developed. When they developed enough, then we transplanted, is what we called it, from the field to the greenhouse in the benches. Then they would grow, and, of course, they had to be hosed when they needed You know, just run the hose up and down, then this way, that way and so on. And then, of course, it says here[5] about the cistern. In the greenhouse we had our own water, our own well and our own water tank. It was bigger than a cistern. We had a tank house that was built just for that, up high, so that the tank would fit in there. Wooden tank with the metal stands. Then we had our own pump that pumped from the well up into the tank, from the tank into the greenhouse. Every now and then we had a faucet. That’s where the hoses would be attached to. . .

Q: And then the hoses would be run down the aisles.

CH: Run down the aisles and they’d water. Then, of course, we did have a cistern, too, but that was in the house. That was before we had water piped in.

Q: Like city water.

CH: Yes. Later on, we had it piped in from the greenhouses. This cistern, that came from the outside of the house. You know, it ran down into the cistern—from the gutters really.

Q: Like rain water?

CH: It was rain water. Soft water, and we used that for special things like our hair or something like that. Then later on it got so that the water wasn’t clean anymore. We had to strain it, and then after that, we didn’t even strain it any more. We had the cistern taken out. Then we had the water piped in from the greenhouses to the house. We then had faucets in the house, you know, on the sink. Now that’s about the cistern.

Q: Let’s go back, now we’ve talked about the fact that your father and your mother bought the property on Theobald Road and started the greenhouse business. You told me you’re the youngest of nine.

CH: Right.

Q: How many children did they have when they moved to this property? Do you know?

CH: My oldest brother was born in the big building in Niles Center. Then they moved. And my sister was next—they’re all close. My sister was only fifteen months younger than my brother. Everyone afer that was born on Theobald Road in that house. That was a big house. We have to have big houses, because we had a big family. Every house was big. Originally, and at that time, too, the thing was to raise the house so you could build rooms. Raise the basement up, the ceiling up, so that you could have room enough for more rooms. That’s what they did later on. Not right away.

Q: I hate to ask you a tough question, but can you name all your brothers and sisters?

CH: Oh, yes.

Q: Good.

CH: Well, . . .

Q: Starting with the oldest—who was?

CH: George. He was George, Jr. My father was George, and he was George, Jr. That’s why I say my mother. . .

Q: Yes, four Georges.

CH: Yes. Then was Olive—her real name, she was baptized Olivia, but everyone called her Olive. No one knew her as Olivia. She, as I said, was fifteen months younger. Then was Eleanor. Now here come the four girls—that was Olive, Eleanor, Mae, and Ernestine. Ernestine is the only one of the four living. She’s in Holy Family Health Center. She will be 93 now this year.[6] That’s the four girls.

Q: So that’s five children, because we have George and the four girls.

CH: Right, five. And then there’s one died in there in infancy—was a year old. A boy, Robert. Then was Ray. He’s still living on Crain Street. Ray and Lambert. He lived on Crain, too. His daughter is still living on Crain Street on the other side of School Street.

Q: Lambert? And what was his daughter’s name?

CH: Mary Harrer. (phonetic: har-er) Harrer (phonetic: hair-er)

Q: Well, which is it?

CH: Harrer. (phonetic: hair-er) We always said Harrer (phonetic: hair-er). But a lot—like they say Harrer (har-er) Park. The old timers say Harrer (har-er), but we always said Harrer (hair-er). The difference is “hair” and “harr.” Harr is German for hair. So, now like you would say, a hairer would be like a barber, a Harrer in German would be also a barber—you know, cuts hair. So it’s the difference between the German and the not German.

Q: As a family, what did you call yourselves?

CH: We were always Harrer (hair-er). But if they say Harrer (har-er), you know who they mean. You hear that a lot.

Q: Yes, I do. In fact that’s what I think I was saying when I came in.

CH: Because I asked yesterday which way to say it, and someone told me Harrer (har-er).

Q: Well, that’s what I said—it doesn’t make any difference.

CH: No, because it’s the same. Now about your family—George, the four girls, that little boy that died.

Q: Six.

CH: Robert. And so then Lambert, Ray . . .

Q: And then you?

CH: Right. I came along, tag-along. I was a tag-along. But it was nice, you know, I heard a lot of things. A lot of things I got from my older sisters, especially the oldest one. She and my oldest brother moved around in the same group, you know. Went to the same dances and things like that, so even the four girls after that didn’t know anything about those things, because that was just in that period of time when my oldest brother and sister used to go out together, and so on.

Q: What’s your full name? Caroline?

CH: Caroline Viola.

Q: Caroline Viola Harrer. . .

CH: Harrer Heuel.

Q: Pretty.

CH: So, now let’s see. You got the names. Three sisters did not marry and they lived together in a house also on Crain Street. That is now sold. When Ernestine went into the home, they sold that house. The three girls lived there. One, the one that’s Mae, she married and her name is Smith and she had three children. When I say children, they’re all up in years, you know. Ray, of course, is still living there and . . .

Q: Did he marry?

CH: Oh, yes. Yes, he and his wife are still living there and they had four children, and, of course, they aren’t there. Two are in California, different parts. One is in Denver, and one is in Barrington, I think.

Q: How many children did you have?

CH: I had three. The first one was Marilyn, a girl. And then William. And then James, and James has MS, has Multiple sclerosis. He is in the same home that Ernestine is in. I have those two to take care of.

Q: That you can go to see when you go out there.

CH: Yes. And, of course, James has—that’s the one that has MS—he has two daughters and a wife, Joan. They live in Chicago. The one girl, Julie, goes to St. Mary’s College in Winona, Minnesota. And the oldest is Therese, they call her Terri.

Q: The granddaughter that I met, whose child is she?

CH: She is my son Bill’s. We call him Bill—William, he’s junior. William Peter, Jr. My husband’s name is William Peter. She is his oldest daughter, Rita, and she is married to a Cohen, and he is the one who is in radio.

Q: Yes, you mentioned that on the phone.

CH: Then Diane was next, and she was married to—wait a minute. Irish name. (pauses) But she divorced—you know, you can’t get away from that in these times.

Q: No, no, you sure can’t.

CH: So, but she still has her maiden name. She’s still a Heuel and then Michael Heuel. He is also going to that college now—St. Mary’s in Winona. He is not married. He’s single; he’s still at home. And, let’s see. . .

Q: How about your daughter? Did she have children?

CH: Yes. (laughs) She and her husband have two boys, Brian and Kevin.

Q: And her last name now?

CH: Scanlon. Yes, her name is Marilyn Heuel Scanlon. Her two boys, they are working and going to college at the same time. They live in Crystal Lake, and that’s also in McHenry County. They go to McHenry County College. Now who didn’t I mention there?

Q: Well, you know, we’ve talked about the modern generation, but I think we ought to go back to your childhood. You talked about your father and mother, but they must have had brothers and sisters who gave you cousins and cousins.

CH: Oh, too much, you know, and we don’t see them and a lot of them are gone. There aren’t many left any more. Even friends—I’m 83 and my husband will be 92 in a few months.

Q: Oh, my.

CH: Yes. We don’t have many relatives left anymore. Relatives that we haven’t even seen, you know, in years and years. But I don’t think I gave you the history of my brother, George. He was married young, and he traveled through the South. He worked for different packing houses, and he married a girl from New Orleans, Louisiana. They were married only about a year, little over a year, and she gave birth to Marie. Now her name was Marie and the daughter that she gave birth to was Marie. She died in childbirth, so he was left a widower.

Q: With a baby.

CH: With a baby. And her sister, his wife’s sister, they lived, well, they lived in Iowa, and they—he was a doctor and they had a nice home—we have some pictures of it—in Polk City, Iowa. He was their village doctor in Polk City. And being a doctor, they really were able to raise and bring up Marie, the baby. So she lived with them, and my brother then took a job in Mason City, Iowa. He, you know, spent summers, vacations with Marie, his daughter. And he then came back to Chicago and worked on the South Side. I think it was Swift and Company. He married Kate Grady. She worked there, and I think she was a telephone operator there. I think he was about 28 when he remarried. He was quite young when he married the first time. They then moved. He got a job in Mason City. They wanted a good credit man, so they recommended my brother. He worked then there for the—oh, what was it? Decker, I think it was, Decker. That was also the same type of work, you know, that he had been doing. And they then bought the house there and that’s where they stayed. Raised a family. Besides Marie, they had six children. Then with Marie that was seven. So, of course, there, we’ve got a big history, and you want to go into all of that.

Q: Well, only really basically what relates to your growing up in Morton Grove. But I can think as a child, you must have had cousins that you were close to.

CH: I was close to the Yehls, to Dorothy and that family. You see, her father was my mother’s brother. He was my Uncle Matt, and everything was Uncle Matt, and . . .

Q: They were living at that point over on Lincoln.

CH: They lived in that same house.

Q: In the house that’s now the museum. It’s been moved.

CH: Yes. I think Uncle Matt and Aunt Lizzie moved in that house right after they were married. You probably got that.

Q: But as children, the families were close.

CH: Yes, and. . .

Q: Were you close to all your cousins like that or was that a special relationship?

CH: No, because they didn’t live too far from us, and we went to school together, and we went to church together. We all went to St. Peter’s and . . .

Q: And you had to walk over.

CH: Walk, and you did a lot of getting acquainted, a lot of talking, a lot of kidding around and getting the giggles and all that sort of thing. Of course, my first two years I went to the original Morton Grove Public School. You know, the one that, part of it is now the village hall. That’s the way we used to say it. Then they added to that, but the original building there was the school, the original Morton Grove School.

Q: Was it frame or brick? Was it a little brick building?

CH: No, it was frame, and it was a nice building, and. . .

Q: Do you remember it well?

CH: Oh, yes.

Q: Oh, tell me about it.

CH: I went, two years I went there—my first two years, because I was too young, my parents thought, to walk that distance, you know, to school to Skokie in the cold and everything. So two years I went there. And I remember the teachers’ names—Miss Tredane. Oh, I remember her. She was real nice.

Q: Did she teach you both years?

CH: Yes. We only had, we had two big rooms, and there was about probably four grades in each room. And, yes, so I had the same teacher, Miss Tredane. She was cute, and how she wore her hair, you know. She was kind of light skinned, and you know, everything then was pompadour. You know, those big pompadours? And Agnes Ryan, she not only taught but she was the principal. She taught in the upper grades. And what I remember was any time anyone in the class had a birthday, we would stand up in front of the class, and the whole class would stand up and sing—not sing, but wish—they didn’t sing “Happy Birthday” then, but they would say, “Happy Birthday!” And, let’s see, what else. . .

Q: Did she actually have a stick and did she spank the children?

CH: Not her. Not her. She didn’t. Oh, she was nice. No, she didn’t do that. We learned reading by phonics, and I still remember the little stories that they told us, you know, for certain sounds. You know, like “k” (makes sound), for instance, “ck”—that was you had something caught in your throat. (makes coughing sound) That’s how we learned. Let’s see, what else was it? There were different things.

Q: You were very happy in those first two years.

CH: . . . just some—yes, I was. I liked it there. And, oh, another thing I remember—when the older class had their drawing session, the teacher asked me to stand in front of their class. That was the older ones in the other room and pose. I remember that distinctly. I had to stand with side view, and held a book.

Q: And hold still.

CH: I had a book in my hand. It was open. I had to look at it as though I was reading it, and they had to draw me. I don’t think I ever saw the finished product. You know, how it looked after, but I kind of remember that. And let’s see, what else?

Q: Did that building stay up very much longer after that?

CH: Oh, yes.

Q: Oh, really?

CH: That was up there for years. Then they kept adding on, you know, making it larger and they had to because they had more pupils and they needed it. So they added on. That part is still there. Now they’ve added since. Now recently, not too many years ago, they added on to it. No, I liked it. I really did. There wasn’t anything like that, and then I was going to tell that this—the principal—they had, you know, because of all of the greenhouses, they had a lot of young people, young men that came from all over—not only this country, but some even from other countries to learn about that kind of business, you know, greenhouses. And I understand that over in England that that was something great in those days—to have a greenhouse and do that kind of work. That was really almost thought of more than being a teacher.

Q: Oh, really?

CH: Yes. Well, anyway there was this one. He was from England. He was here just to learn the business. He, of course, being young, he got acquainted with a lot of the young girls in the neighborhood. This one teacher got acquainted with him, and, of course, my sisters. He liked my sisters, too, but didn’t care too much for them. But she got acquainted with him and she married him.

Q: Who? The teacher did?

CH: The teacher did, yes.

Q: Did she go back to England?

CH: They did, after they were married, yes. They went back, but they didn’t stay there long. She didn’t care for it there. You see, they didn’t think too much of her, because she was a teacher. Now here in this country, we think a lot of people who are teachers. More so than what they think is great, you know. So anyway, they came back, and let’s see. Whatever happened after that? I don’t remember.



CH: . . . (conversation joined in progress). . .people there at Poehlmann’s, because they were, you know, really big.

Q: Oh, I know. I guess at some point the largest in the country.

CH: Yes, yes, and that is why they came to Morton Grove—for that reason. If they were interested in that sort of thing, that’s where they came. And as I said, even foreign countries, and this one especially. You know in those days, that was a place where you would, when you had people come, you would take them there. . .

Q: To show it off.

CH: . . .to show it off, yes. It would be a place to go. You’d take them there like someone else would take people to some other area, you know, to show them.

Q: Well, your father had a greenhouse, too, and it wasn’t as big as Poehlmann’s. . .

CH: No, no.

Q: . . . but were there other greenhouses at that point?

CH: Oh, a lot. That was the thing. I said that’s why my father did, because everybody was going into the greenhouse business. There were a lot of greenhouse. . .

Q: In Morton Grove?

CH: In Morton Grove, yes. We often said he should have stayed where stayed where he was, you know.


CH: (conversation joined in progress). . .What he was doing, you know, in Skokie there. . .

Q: Was easier than running a greenhouse. . .

CH: Yes!

Q: . . . because a greenhouse is a 24-hour-a-day job.

CH: Yes, and it was hard work, and he didn’t get that much out of it. He, we often said, he should have stayed where he was. Because, you know, he was really able to do something better than working in a greenhouse.

Q: Of course he was, because he was the first—we call it the first mayor. Let’s talk about your father and what he achieved. You said that Morton Grove really hadn’t been incorporated when he started out there.

CH: He—no. He was the one who, when he started in 188-, 1885 did I say? No, they. . .(pause). . .let’s see. . .in 1895, and that was the beginning of Morton Grove.

Q: I see. As far as a village, as an incorporated village.

CH: Yes. But before that, it really belonged to the, oh, I think. . .

Q: Like the township, sort of.

CH: It was the township before that.

Q: Well, people were living in what became Morton Grove.

CH: Oh, yes.

Q: Did they have a name for that area? Was there a, you know, did it have a neighborhood name before they actually decided to name it Morton Grove?

CH: Well, I think they just said it belonged to the township, yeah.

Q: But enough people must have settled in that area that they felt that they could incorporate as a village, and your father was the first. . .

CH: He really was the beginning of everything that they did in that time. The Morton Grove Waterworks, they called it. And they built the water tank. And when people no longer used their own wells, you know, it was piped in—the water. And he made out the first water bills—I remember that—sitting up in our sitting room. We had a library table in the middle of the room, and he wrote them. I think they were pink, and it was like a tablet, you know, you’d tear them off. And he would make out the bills, and I know I helped, I helped in some way. Maybe stuffing envelopes, something like that. Anyway, I remember doing that. And, well, everything else, you know, like when the sewers came in, and the improvements were made, and streets were made better. Well, I think, now didn’t Dorothy say the other night that through the town the street was Main Street at one time? I do remember that now. Yes, it was called Main Street. Like in most of these towns, Main Street goes through the town. That’s where the stores are usually, and that’s the way it was in Morton Grove, too. And, let’s see, I remember Avenue was higher than all the other streets.

Q: Ferris Avenue?

CH: Ferris, and my father wanted to have that graded down, you know, to the level of the other streets. Of course, that would involve special assessments. And the people didn’t want that. They reneged; they did not want to spend that extra money, you know, to have that done. So as a result, it stayed up high.

Q: I see. Is it a little bit higher now?

CH: Yes, but I think that they may have lowered it later. I’m not sure. I don’t remember. But it was higher. I remember that, because the people were much against it because they would have to pay—it would be a special assessment. That was where I lived until I was seventeen. That was when my father sold the house and all the property there and the greenhouses and all.

Q: Oh, he sold the greenhouses when you were seventeen?

CH: Yes. In other words, I lived there from the time I was born until I was seventeen.

Q: Well, tell me about the house.

CH: We had a big orchard. You know, fruit trees, and we had a lot of grape vines. My mother did a lot of canning. She canned, well, we had a big cherry tree. She canned a lot of cherries and pears and a lot of apples. We made a lot of applesauce. Of course, she used to can some beans, too. Things like that. Then she made a lot of jelly and jam—grape jelly and grape jam, tomato jam. Then my father, since we had so many grapes, he made wine. So we had grape wine. He would save the best wine for when we’d have some kind of a special occasion, you know, and then he’d say, “Well, I guess I better bring out my best wine. This is the occasion.” But my father was not a drinker, you know. Just on a special occasion, you know, we’d have wine and cookies. Homemade cookies at Christmas time and homemade fruitcake and all. I used to love that. I enjoyed that really. When we used to come out at Christmas time after I was married, in the evening usually, then he’d bring out his wine and we’d have the homemade cookies and fruitcake, and I really enjoyed that.

Q: Tell me about the house itself.

CH: Now, you mean the original house?

Q: The one you were born in.

CH: Well, I told you that they raised the house to build those extra rooms down, which went down a few steps. We had window wells, you know. They usually have window wells when that happens. Then there was a full stairway – thirteen steps going up to the next floor. That was a very large living room that we had, which would be sort of like a family room today, but we called it living room. And, well, my father had his roll-top desk in there and we had the library table in the center of the room. Those days they had tables in the center of the room. And a couch and a stove and chairs. In the wintertime, we’d move our piano out in that living room because it had heat. We didn’t want the piano left in the cold like that . . .

Q: Well, was there another sitting room?

CH: A parlor, we called it in those days. And that was just for best – for company, you know. We didn’t live in there, and we had the piano in there and we had the sofa, the kind that they had in those days and the two armchairs and other chairs. A table and a bay window.

Q: That room was not heated generally.

CH: No, no, in the wintertime, that was not heated. In the bay window we had a table. Then there were, off the porch on the side of the parlor, there were double windows and we had a table in front of that and we had a duck – I think; was it a duck? – that my brother shot. He had it stuffed by a taxidermist. We had that on a stand, and that stood on the table. Then we had . . .

Q: Did you have a dining room?

CH: We had a dining room off the first floor that we very seldom used. That was not heated – and we used that maybe in the summertime if we had company. When our relatives would come from the South Side, and they’d always be there for a meal, and we would eat in there. We had a built-in sideboard, you know. It was like a regular dining room.

Q: Well, where did you eat most of the time?

CH: In our kitchen, which was large, and, of course, that was heated, and we had one of our old dining tables in there – a long, oblong table. That’s where we had most of our meals except if we had company, as I said, for a meal. If it was like in the summertime, we would eat in that dining room. But if it wasn’t, my mother would serve in our living room upstairs and have the big dining room table in there. But that wasn’t often; that was only occasionally.

So then we have the living room, the parlor, and two bedrooms downstairs. My mother and father slept downstairs, and that was a large room. Then there was another room off the parlor and off my mother’s room, and that was kind of a small room. That was kind of a , ohm, if we had company that would stay overnight or somebody was sick and couldn’t sleep in their regular room, they’d sleep in there. It was a kind of utility room. That was where my sisters used to gather when they would get ready for a dance or something, a social affair. And I, being the tag along, I would sit there and watch them.

You know, that’s why I knew so much about what they did and so on. How they did their hair and all that. That was an extra room. We had what they called a wash stand in there, and one of those big china bowls and pitchers. That was for company, you know. We had a door on the side of this wash stnd, and that was for towels and washcloths and things like that. Then we had drawers on this side that we – that was all used in connection with the bedroom. Then we had another – well, it was that kind of, they called it a dresser, but it was not like a dresser that we have today. It had a long mirror and it went down low on one side with the long mirror, and it had drawers under there.

Q: Now you’re still describing the two bedrooms that were on the main floor.

CH: On the main floor, yes. This one that I’m talking about was set up for special guests, you know – everything that they would need. Then it had a closet. Each bedroom had a closet. That closet was used for – in the summertime, winter clothing was hung in there. Winter coats and all that or maybe our good clothes, what we called good coats and so that we didn’t wear every day. You know, that was put in there. Then they had shelves; we had hats up there and so on. Then my mother and father, they had a larger room and they had a big closet. Oh, it was deep; it went way back, walk-in.

Q: What about the bedrooms upstairs?

CH: All right. Then upstairs we had another flight of stairs – the same number of stairs. That was, well, there was one room that we left as an attic. We never had that finished. That was still attic, because we felt we needed that attic space. And then there was a large, very large, bedroom to the front of the house. And we had two beds in there – two double beds. In those days, there weren’t many single beds or twin beds; it was double beds – everything was double beds. There four of us would sleep in that room. That had a very large closet, too. We had a little stove in there that was used in extreme cold weather. Otherwise not. And then the other bedroom off this long hall, that was my brother’s – my two brothers slept in that. That had a closet, too.

Q: You say two brothers, but you had three.

CH: I had three, and one left home . . .

Q: Which one?

CH: He was the oldest one, George, that I was talking about that married twice. He settled down in Iowa.

Q: Yes, you mentioned that – with his daughter, Marie.

CH: Of course, we had a telephone quite early. That was on the wall.

Q: Now where was this phone? In the kitchen?

CH: No, in the living room on the second floor. Thaen after that, my father had that taken out and he had a telephone put on top of his desk – that rool-top desk. But they were not telephones like we have today. They were, you know, the tall. . .

Q: Yes, the kind that stand up.

CH: Up, yes.

Q: Now where was the kitchen?

CH: The kitchen, did I tell you? That was on the first, you know, down in the basement part, Yes, that was a large kitchen, and we had two stoves – a cook stove in there and a gas stove.

Q: You mentioned that.

CH: The family always ate there. And we had a big sink, one of those wooden sinks that they had in those days. A long drain board – this long. Wood. And then, of course, the sink part was, well, like they have today, but long – about like this. and a pump, we had a pump. That was before we had the water put into the house. I told you that. From the greenhouse it was run into the house. We had faucets then. But before we had the faucets, we had a little pump at the end of the sink. We had to pump water. Fill the pail, you know. Everybody in those days had wells outside and pumps. I forgot to mention that, too.

Q: You didn’t tell me about where the bathroom was.

CH: We didn’t have one.

Q: (laughs) Nobody did.

CH: No. no one had bathrooms in those days. Later on – no, after we sold the house, then from then on. When we lived on Lincoln Avenue, we built a house. Then from then on we had a bathroom. And, what was I going to say?

Q: Well, I don’t know what you meant to say, but we could talk about the fact that your father sold the house . . .

CH: The house, everything there. All the property.

Q: The greenhouses, too.

CH: Yes, and . . .

Q: And then he built another house on Lincoln Avenue.

CH: On Lincoln Avenue – Lincoln and Austin.

Q: Do you know which corner?

CH: Yes, it was the southeast corner. That house was torn down not too long ago, too. That was still standing there. Southeast corner . . .

Q: They put up condominiums there.

CH: In there, yes. It was a big brick house. And then after he built that house, he built a third house on School Street, and that’s still there. But getting to while we were building that house on Lincoln Avenue, it wasn’t ready to move in, because we had to get out from Theobald Road. We had to have a place to live. So my dad said, “Well, we’ll have a garage in any event.” So he built a two-car garage and we lived in there. We had that partitioned off and they made a kitchen and a couple of bedrooms.

That wasn’t big enough, and my sister, the one that was married, Mae Smith, she had a big tent. It was a large one that they used when they would vacation. She was not living at home then. Well, she said, “I’ll give you this tent.” And then my dad built a floor, oh, a couple of steps up from the ground and boards all the way up a few feet. Then the tent was resting on those boards all the way around. So we lived in there, too, and the garage.

Q: Well, there were you and some of the sisters – three of the sisters . . .

CH: And my father and mother, and my one brother was home.

Q: How long do you think you lived in that tent?

CH: I mean the tent and the garage, but that was nice. I want to tell you, that was really nice.

Q: How long?

CH: Well, we lived there – I lived in that house about six years. Maybe about seven years.

Q: But I meant how long in the tent?

CH: Yes, in the tent and – well, until the house was finished.

Q: Well, like three months maybe or . . .

CH: Oh, for the summer. We didn’t live there when it got cold. No, not after it got cold. The house was ready then. But that was nice; that was in the summer months. In the evening, you know, you’d roll up the tent on the side and the moon would shine in.

Q: You liked it, I can tell.

CH: I liked it.

Q: I know. I can see that.

CH: Yes, it was nice. It was different, you know. It was like camping. That’s what it was. And they had a little dog, Trixie, and we kept the dog. He slept in the tent with us, and he was our watchdog. If he’d hear any noises of any kind – WOOF, WOOF. He’d be up, stand by the door – we had regular doors on the tent, screen doors. Regular door and screen doors and a frame, wood frame, for the door. He would be up at the door barking. He had a real sharp bark. So we were glad to have him.

Q: Now you lived in that house about six or seven years, and then your father built the house on School Street.

CH: Yes, and then I lived there a year and then I was married. So from then on, as I say, I can’t tell too much. We used to come out there and visit and all of that, but we didn’t know the inner workings of the town.

Q: Yes, I understand that. But you haven’t told me something on the tape that you told me in person. About how St. Martha’s got started.

CH: Oh, yes, I’d like to bring St. Martha’s in. The only church that was there is the Lutheran church, and that, of course, has been in Morton Grove for years and years. St. Martha’s started in a storefront on Lincoln Avenue, and do you remember where the general store was there?

Q: Yes, I do.

CH: Yes, well this was in the same building. In fact, it was a saloon before it was a church, but it no longer was a saloon. It was empty, and we rented that. In the front where they have the show window, they built a platform, a wooden platform. That was for the organ and the choir. Then the back, well, in the church you say the back is the front. You don’t know what it is, you know. Where they have the altar is usually what they say the front.

Q: But it was at the back of this.

CH: But that was the back. They had the altar there, and Father Schmidt was our pastor at that time. He was also taking care of the church in Glenview, Our Lady of Perpetual Help. That’s still there. They have a church now. He’d go there and say the Mass, you know, take care of things there. He’d also take care of things in our parish. So, then they got this property that they bought from the archdiocese on School Street.

Q: No, it’s really on Georgiana.

CH: It’s Georgiana. That’s right. Then they got that property. Father Schmidt was no longer there when they built the church. That was Father Bergs. He was one time in the Service. He was an officer in the Army or something. He was real straight, you know, and so on. Well, they built the church and they had the choir, a choir loft, and I played the organ there for a while. Not too long, though.

Q: In the real church.

CH: In the church, yes. The small church, they call it the . . .

Q: But you also played the organ in the storefront church.

CH: In the storefront, that’s where I started, yes. So, they built the basement higher than usual. That’s why they have the high steps going up, so that they could put – at that time, they were putting on movies. I don’t know if you know anything about that. They would run movies down there, and they had to have a higher ceiling in order to do that. That’s why they had so many steps going up, so that they could do that. But that didn’t last very long either, and then that was sort of out.

But that’s where they held all their social affairs. The women would put on dinners. I used to feel sorry for them. You know, in the summertime, they didn’t have air conditioning in those days. They’d have a fan – one of those big fans – but that didn’t do much good. But the perspiration was just running off them. They put on these dinners. They raised money, and they used the property there, too.

And, of course, when they had bingo parties and all; they had a lot of bunco in those days. Bunco parties with the dice, you know. They used to have those outside in the summertime on the property there. They would run regular carnivals. You know, they’d have booths and all of that to raise money also.

Q: Now you were married in that . . .

CH: I was married there, yes.

Q: In the church?

CH: In the church, yes. They they had . . .

Q: You were telling me about the dinners that the women gave, and how about the plays? You told me that . . .

CH: And I said about I felt sorry for them.

Q: But what about the plays? You mentioned Lambert was in . . .

CH: Yes, they gave plays. All the local talent, and he was always in them. Then I think I told you about . . .

Q: You told me that Lambert and Father Wand were good friends.

CH: They were good friends and they used to play golf together. Everybody really like Father Wand.

Q: Do you know, was he a pastor there for a long time?

CH: Oh, quite a long time, yes. And when he was taken away – he was transferred to a parish in the city – he was heartbroken. So was everybody else, the people. They liked him, and he came from sort of a rural area himself. That’s why he felt so at home and like St. Martha’s, because it reminded him of his home, you know, his family and so on, and he felt so at home there. So he was moved in the inner city where it was crowded and so on. So, well, that’s about Father Wand.

Q: Well, we didn’t record about how you met your husband. We’re going to have to ask you to do that again and about your wedding day. You mentioned that you were a working woman.

CH: Well, when I lived on School Street, yes. I only lived there a year. Then I was married. I was working for the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad in the office. Dictaphone operator and typing. My two sisters also worked there. Eleanor, she’s dead now, she was going out with Pat McEvoy – I don’t know if I should mention names.

Q: Oh, I don’t think it will hurt.

CH: He’s not living any more, either. So he was her chief clerk in the office she worked. He and my husband, Bill, were good friends. So that was how I met him – through my sister and Pat. And, well, I told you, didn’t I, that we went together two years, and the first year . . .

Q: The first year you dated and then the second year you were engaged.

CH: Became engaged, and after one year engaged, then married. Married at St. Martha’s by Father Wand. Then we went – well, I told you all of that. Don’t know whether that was recorded.

Q: No, we don’t have that. Tell me how you bought the dress.

CH: Oh, you want to hear that? A girlfriend, Anna, and I took a trip on our vacation to Florida. Walking down the street, we passed these shops and I decided to go in and look at some of the dresses. I bought my wedding dress. Do I have to go through all that again?

Q: I’d love to hear that, because it tells about the styles. What, you were married in 1928?

CH: Yes, and the wedding dress was white satin. Short, everything was short at that time. But the long were just coming in, and I tried on some long dresses – ankle length. I was not used to the idea of a long dress because I’d been wearing the short for so long. Uneven hem line and long waist like they’re wearing now, too, you know.

Q: Dropped waist, sure.

CH: Dropped waist and the uneven hemline. My mother did the short sleeves, and I always wanted long sleeves. My mother made new sleeves, long. Took the other, the short sleeves out, and put the long sleeve, you know, with the peak here in the same dress. My sister was the bridesmaid. It was not a big affair. She had a beautiful brown velvet dress. It was trimmed . . .

Q: What time of the year were you married?

CH: November. November 10th.

Q: November 10, 1928. We want to get that.

CH: It was a beautiful dress. It was something like they’re wearing now with the yokes. Lace and with pearls strung through, you know. That was also sort. (laughs) Dropped waistline.

Q: Sounds pretty.

CH: And brown slippers with the big buckles that they used to wear and . . .

Q: That’s what her shoes were like. What were you shoes like?

CH: Plain. But hers were like that with the beaded buckles, and mine were just plain. I was telling you about them, you know, that I couldn’t get any white satin slippers downtown on State Street. I finally found a store that had a pair, and I had to buy those. They hurt, you know. But I thought for one day, I’ll be able to stand them. So I bought them.

Q: And what about your party after the wedding?

CH: That was at home on School Street – my parent’s home. Mrs. Haupt – that name sounds familiar – Mrs. Joe Haupt, she was a widow. She lived on Dempster Street, and she had a daughter, Marie, who was a nurse. She did that kind of work. She’d go out and . . .

Q: So she did catering.

CH: Catering, yes, but they really didn’t call it catering in those days.

Q: No, I know, but we would now. And what kind of a meal? Was this a breakfast, brunch?

CH: it was a, well, like a brunch would be today. It was, in those days, everything was chicken a la king, remember? You don’t remember that.

Q: I do remember that.

CH: Everything was chicken ala king in those days. When you had a party or a gathering or you had women come over or anything, it was always chicken ala king. I don’t remember everything we had, but I think we had that. That was one of the things. And the cake. That’s all I remember about the meal.

Q: Tell me about your wedding trip.

CH: Well, I told you about know I met my husband. You asked me that.

Q: You did, and you said he worked for the railroad.

CH: Yes, and so did I, and so did my two sisters. He did not want his friends to know where he was going, when he was leaving or anything. So Lambert, my brother, drove us to Evanston to the North Shore Line. From there we went to Milwaukee, from Milwaukee to Minneapolis – we went to that show. We saw The Jazz Singer, Al Jolson, in the afternoon. And we stayed there overnight. Then from there – now my husband says we went to Canada to Winnipeg and Vancouver. And from those two places, we started down the West Coast. Washington, you know; we saw Mt. Rainier. I remember that. Then from there we went to San Francisco, and we took different trips from there. I rode the trolley. There were a lot of hills, and that I remembered.

Then from there we went to San Diego. We had a trunk, and we had that sent to Minneapolis, that’s what it was. Then from there we had it sent to San Diego. We carried our luggage otherwise. Then from San Diego we took a bus trip. From San Diego we went to Mexico – Tijuana. Then from Mexico we went to Salt Lake City, and we went to the Mormon Temple. And I think then from there we came home.

Q: I see. How long were you gone?

CH: Three weeks.

Q: Three weeks. That’s a long trip . . . yes.

CH: But, of course, at today’s prices, we could never taken that trip.

Q: (laughs) Oh, no, of course not. And, of course, it helped that he worked for the railroad.

CH: He had passes. He had the itinerary all set up, you know.

Q: But still it cost you quite a bit.

CH: Oh, yes, we were in hotels and meals.

Q: And even transportation from the train station to the hotels.

CH: Yes, taxis and all that. Yes, and then the different side trips. They always cost extra.

Q: When you came home then where did you live?

CH: We lived with my husband’s father – he had a two-apartment building on Oakley Avenue. He was a widower for many years, and my husband was living with him. He didn’t want to move out on him, so we moved in there with him for a couple of years, I think – four years. Four years it was. Then my husband also had this building on Montrose, two apartment. He had this even before he was married. It was an investment. Then we moved into that building.

Q: You told me you lived there twelve years.

CH: Yes, and then we lived with my mother in Morton Grove in that big house for about four years. We had to do some remodeling. That’s what it was. We had to do some remodeling on his two-apartment building to take care of our family. There wasn’t enough room. We lived, then, temporarily with my mother on School Street.

Q: She was widowed by then.

CH: She was a widow, yes. We lived upstairs, and we had a stove put in one of the bedrooms. We had made a pantry out of one of the closets. We had our own meals up and there and everything.

Q: Did you build this house then?

CH: We were working on plans for this house before the war. We had our plans all set, and then the war came along and they said, “No building.” That’s World War II, and we couldn’t build. And that’s one of the reasons why we moved there. We tried to get apartments, and we had three children. They would turn us down all over because we had three children, see. That’s why we moved out there temporarily. Then they took the ban of building, and we could, then we figured, well, we could use our plans, you know.

Q: And you built this house.

CH: And we built this house, and, of course, we made some changes and it was like practically a new plan that we had everything we had to do over because we had to hire everybody new, you know, to do the work and everything, so . . .

Q: When did you move into this house then?

CH: We moved in October 8th, 1948, and we’ve been living here now – it’ll be 39 years now in October.

Q: Beautiful home. It’s a lovely house.

CH: Yes, and we had plenty of time to think about it, believe me. This was all woods. Everything was woods.

Q: Were you one of the first homes on the block?

CH: Well, a lot of these were not here.

Q: Before our tape ends, I want to thank you for taping on that session, on this session, but before we begin our new tape, I think we ought to review that we’re going to reminisce a little bit about what you remember of old Niles Center and, and about some things you remember from old Morton Grove, so we’ll begin on the next tape.



Q: . . . (conversation joined in progress) . . . Caroline and I have been talking about old Niles Center and old Morton Grove. Let’s see, we were just talking about telephones, the first telephones. Would you like to talk about that?

CH: Well, our first telephone, of course, was on the wall. You had to wind it, and there was always an operator that would answer.

Q: You talked to a human being.

CH: A human being. She’d say, “Operator,” and you’d give your number. Well, our first number was 232, and then later on, it was changed to 34M. I suppose the “M’ stood for Morton Grove. Probably after the whole township was involved, you know. My sister, Ernestine, was the first. These operators were in the homes, private homes. I think the first one was run by Mrs. Wall on Ferris Avenue. And then Mrs. Paroubek, Sophie Paroubek took over, and she had it upstairs right off of their reception hall. I suppose it probably at the beginning was a small bedroom. So my sister was the operator, ran the exchange there. Ernestine.

Q: That was located on Lincoln Avenue.

CH: On Lincoln. It’s still there; the building is still there. So, then after that, of course, she worked for the railroad in the office – the Milwaukee Road. She worked there until she was retired. I thought maybe you’d like to get a little history on her since she just passed away.

Q: Right, right.

CH: Well, she was three weeks lacking of her 93rd birthday. In fact, now the 4th of September she would have been 93. So she passed away recently. About organizations – they had a young men’s organization. Have you ever heard of it?

Q: Do you want to tell me about it?

CH: Because my brothers were in that, and I remember my brother, Ray, the one who’s still living on Crain Street, he and John Loutsch, he’s the youngest Loutsch boy, they really organized this thing. Got everybody together, you know. Young men from Morton Grove. They used to have dinners or in those days they called them banquets.

Then they had the local group that would play – the musicians. Clarence Dahm and Rudy Winkler, and who else was it? Art Hoffman – he played the piano. And then there was a drummer. Now I don’t know who he was. They were local on. And then my brother, Lambert, would sing. He would sing “Who’s Sorry Now.” That always brings back memories. That’s back again, you know, “Who’s Sorry Now,” that song. So those are all different little things, you know, that come to mind.

And, of course, I belonged to a small group. We called it the Sunflowers – girls. They were from Morton Grove, Skokie, Niles Center then, and Tessville, which is Lincolnwood. So those three towns. This was before any of us were married. We started out as a mission where we worked for the missions at Techny, you know.

Q: Where?

CH: Divine Word on Techny, yes. We used to run different little affairs – card parties and things like that to get a little money together for the missions.

Q: Now did you do those in Morton Grove or in Niles Center? Or did you do them up in Techny?

CH: No, wherever we could make anything whether it was Morton Grove, Niles Center. But the money always went to Techny. Later on then, it developed into a social club, and we played bridge, met at different homes. Then we got married and sort of scattered. There weren’t too many coming to meetings any more, and eventually it broke up.

Q: I would like you to talk about the picnic grounds. Why don’t you tell me about St. Paul’s Park?

CH: Well, that, of course, they had the large pavilion there. We spent a lot of time in that park. They had a dam, well, they later on called it a horse dam. After it was broken, you know, and they had big slabs of concrete, they called it the horse dam. But originally my older sisters said that they had boating on the river. The branch of the Chicago River that goes through the forest preserve there.

Q: This is what we call St. Paul’s Woods now?

CH: Yes, St. Paul’s Park we called it at that time.

Q: And you mentioned that it was named for the railroad.

CH: Well, because the railroad went through there. It was like Lehigh, that was Railroad Avenue. See? (laughs)

Q: I see.

CH: It’s Lehigh now. it’s parallel with the railroad. It runs all the way along the railroad and therefore they called it Railroad Avenue. And St. Paul’s Park. It played a big part in the upcoming of Morton Grove. They had the bandstand, you know, where the bands would play, and . . .

Q: Sort of a stage for a band and then a dance floor.

CH: Well, that was in the pavilion.

Q: Oh, I see.

CH: Yes.

Q: In the pavilion in St. Paul’s?

CH: In the pavilion, yes. Then at the other end was the, well, what you’d say today, the bar. And, of course, they ran individual picnics and they had a lot of dances there and they always had the bar open. And . . .

Q: Well, there was a village of Morton Grove – would this have been under the supervision of the village? Or the railroad? Or who kept it up? who built the pavilion and who kept it up?

CH: Well, that pavilion was there as long as I and even, I don’t know how many years,before I came into existence. No, that was forest preserve.

Q: Was it forest preserve then?

CH: Yes. That was forest preserve. It probably came under the parks, what we say today, park district. But in those days, we didn’t hear anything about park district and all of that. So it was run by the preserve, you know, the park district.

Q: While we’re talking here about the railroad — I know that it was called the Chicago, Milwaukee . . .

CH: St. Paul.

Q: . . . St. Paul and Pacific?

CH: Later on. Originally it was Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul. Then they ran the railroad all the way to the West Coast. My husband can tell you more about that. Then they added “Pacific.” Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific.

Q: Now I know you’re going to donate some sheet music to the historical society. That one song is called, “The Milwaukee Porters and Waiters,” and it means the Milwaukee Road, which was its nickname, I guess. Everybody just said the Milwaukee Road.

CH: Well, in later years. They used to call it the St. Paul Railroad. It was always the St. Paul to shorten it. But it’s only in later years that they called it the Milwaukee Road. That was the name of it at that time then – the Milwaukee Road. So that’s why they say Milwaukee porters and waiters. They mean the Milwaukee Railroad.

Q: What were some of the other picnic groves in Morton Grove? You told me there were several.

CH: Oh, yes. The Hosses, now, I don’t know whether anyone ever told you about . . .

Q: There was one by – oh, the Hoss family?

CH: Joe Hoss. He had the tavern or saloon – in those days it always saloon . . .

Q: Well, all right. We understand that.

CH: . . . he had the saloon on the corner and that building is still there. Now you said the last time I talked with you that it was getting sort of run down, that building (northeast corner of Lincoln and Fernald).

Q: Well, are we talking about the corner where it’s like a log cabin, Bringer Inn?

CH: No, it’s across from that.

Q: All right, and there is an antique store, I think in there now. but it was a meat market and a grocery store.

CH: It was everything, I think, after. But originally, it was Joe Hoss’ saloon. Then they had the family entrance that I’ve been talking about. All of those saloons had family entrances, and . . .

Q: So would that have been on Fernald Avenue?

CH: Yes. They had dining rooms for anyone who wanted to eat, you know. of course, they didn’t permit women in saloons in those days. They would sit in this family room, and, of course, they’d have . .

Q: Well, would a family go and eat dinner out?

CH: Yes.

Q: Was that a place where you would go sometimes to eat?

CH: Yes. And, they had boarders upstairs. Then they ate in this dining room. They roomed and boarded.

Q: Where was the picnic grove? Now, let’s see, it seems to me, if I remember correctly, it was on the corner of, where the park is now. You know, where the . . . Where the library is now?

CH: Yes, and the entrance was on the corner of Lincoln and Georgiana, I think.

Q: The entrance to the park.

CH: To the park. It was right in that corner.

Q: So, there would have been other buildings in between his saloon . . .

CH: Oh, yes. Yes.

Q: But his picnic grove was down where the library is now.

CH: But his picnic grove was – yes.

Q: At the corner of Lincoln and Georgiana?

CH: Yes, and there were a lot of trees in there. They had the same thing, you know, with the bandstands up high and all of that, the way they had it in those days. They also had an outdoor dance floor. You went up a couple of steps and then it had a railing all around it, but you danced out in the open.

Q: Sounds lovely.

CH: Yes, and then right in connection with it, was this where the band was, you know, up high. I remember they always had races there. And my two sisters raced. The races were for certain ages – this was for the young, young ladies. My one sister fell. That I remember. My sister, Mae, I think it was. This one time she fell.

Q: You mentioned that there were other taverns in town then. All of them had that kind of . . .

CH: They had that kind of set-up, yes. Then, of course, I didn’t tell you anything about Ketz. Now they had that same set-up and they were across from what was Loutsch’s Meat Market on Lincoln Avenue. This . . .

Q: They would have been on the south side of Lincoln.

CH: That was also the same set-up. They had the dining room and they had the family room and the saloon and it was a rooming house. I’m pretty sure it was. They had behind, not right behind, but further back – you had to go in quite far – because they had a place there for parking. Well, there weren’t many cars in those days, but for parking. They had the same set-up. Then, too, I wanted to say in between this picnic ground and Ketz’s place on Lincoln Avenue, they had an outside bowling alley. Now my husband kind of remembers that. Yes, they built it up, you know, on the sides.

Q: So the ball wouldn’t roll off.

CH: Yes, and then they bowled. They also had a building there. It was a frame building painted green. It was a printer’s shop. Now that was not very well known. There were only a few people that knew about it. I knew about it, but that was all. You know, I was never in it.

Q: Are you talking about the south side of Lincoln now . . .

CH: South side of Lincoln.

Q: Where there’s an Italian restaurant now?

CH: Yes, it’s behind that was this printing shop.

Q: Not Meier’s shop.

CH: Not Meier’s, no.

Q: Because Meier’s was on the north side.

CH: Yes, that was on the north side of Lincoln. It was right next to the park. I just wanted to mention that, because this outside bowling alley and then this printer’s shop back in there. That was between Ketz’s and the grove. In between. See the grove was back pretty far. There were a lot of trees there, too. Well, there were a lot of trees all over Morton Grove. So, and then, well, there was Bringer’s, Bringer Inn (laughs) That was another saloon. That was the one you were speaking of that was across from Hoss’s.

Q: Right, Frees. I interviewed Anna Staak.

CH: Anna. Anna Frees. I knew her as Anna Frees.

Q: Anna Frees, and she mentioned that her father at one time had that.

CH: She did. I remember, yes. And then, let’s see, what other . . . Dilg’s had in that big building, that big brick building that they tore down, they had a saloon in there, and they had a dance floor, a nice one upstairs. That was a nice hall. Balconies, and they kept it very nice. And let’s see what other . . . (pauses) . . . there must have been some more.

Q: Was there anything else – oh, I know. You mentioned to me that at one time there was a dam on the river. And the dam broke – do you remember that?

CH: No. That was before my day. My sister spoke of that, my oldest sister. She said that there was boating on the river. That was before my day, but that’s what she said. Of course, that dam, while it was dammed up, you know, they could boat on there. But then when it broke, it stayed broke. (laughs) When I knew it, that’s the way it was – big slabs.

Q: The river wasn’t high enough for anything, any sport or anything.

CH: No, but someone said recently – they were talking about – I suppose all through the years, they just talked about it – having boating on there. But they had the big slabs of concrete, you know, and we kids used to take off our shoes and stockings and walk across.

Q: I know at the historical society, they were talking about the mill that was on the river south of Dempster Street somewhere on the river.

CH: Yes.

Q: That the mill was there before the railroad . . .

CH: Yes.

Q: . . . and therefore, they changed the river a little bit when the railroad came, when they built the railroad. At that point, you’ve got the river and the railroad and Dempster Street.

CH: Yes.

Q: And so they said they aren’t sure exactly where the mill was.

CH: Well, if my sister were here . . . (pauses) . . . she isn’t, though. She could tell you. But I remember hearing her talk about it. Then there was a Mill Road, Miller’s Mill Road. I think it was Miller’s mill. Then they named the street for him. But, yes, there was, I think it was grain – wheat, probably. That was where they got their flour in those days, from the mill. And, of course, that was before my day, but, of course, my mother would have been able to tell you more about that, too. That’s all I can tell you.

Q: See, you being the youngest in the family has an advantage and a little bit of a disadvantage.

CH: A disadvantage, because I didn’t actually see or witness a lot of this, but it’s just what they would say occasionally. I just had to kind of use my imagination.

Q: Were there any other taverns? You’ve mentioned Hoss and Ketz. And Dilg’s is not a tavern, but they had the big building.

CH: Well, yes . . .

Q: Were there any others along Lincoln Avenue there? Any other picnic groves?

CH: Oh, gee.

Q: Before the library was built . . .

CH: Yes, that was Hoss’s.

Q: That was Hoss’s, then it must have been a public park, because they put up the statue of the doughboy.

CH: Yes, yes. That they put up first, then . . .

Q: Eventually they built the little library, and the library has grown.

CH: But I remember when that was dedicated, when the doughboy was dedicated, because I was young then. I think maybe about sixteen, something like that. We used to try to get funds together to pay for that doughboy, for that statue, you know. And then, too, I remember a girlfriend and I that day when it was dedicated, we had ribbons and we took – she on one side and I on the other – we’d string the ribbons across Lincoln Avenue. Stop cars, get donations. (laughter)

Q: Was that kind of on your own or were you put up to that by somebody?

CH: Well, I don’t know. I think that someone probably suggested it, and we took it up. You know, we decided we would do that.

Q: Hold them for ransom. (laughs) Put up a toll gate.

CH: Yes, well, that’s what it was, and, you know, they didn’t have to, but some did and some didn’t. In those days, you know, you got a few cents.

Q: Now those were automobiles. There were automobiles at that time.

CH: They were automobiles, yes.

Q: Do you remember seeing your first automobile?

CH: Oh . . . (pauses) . . .

Q: Were there automobiles when you were a child?

CH: Well, Herb Dilg . . . (pauses) . . . Herb, yes. He was the mayor . . .

Q: At that time.

CH: No, later, later on he was.

Q: After your father.

CH: Yes. But he had the first car. He owned the first car in Morton Grove. And, you know, with the big wheels and the motor that would CHUG-CHUG-CHUG. He was the first one, and I remember we lived on Theobald Road then. That was a dirt road. We had a nice Collie dog, and he wasn’t used to hearing cars. Motors and anything like that scared him, made him wild. He used to come down Theobald Road with that old-time car. It would make a noise, and, oh, Rover would run out and go run after the wheels, you know. He really got Rover – he killed him. Now, you shouldn’t probably put that in there.

Q: Well, it wasn’t deliberate.

CH: No, no.

Q: The dog didn’t know any better then.

CH: No, but, you know, he just went wild when he saw this. You know, the wheels going around and the noise. That’s the first car that I remember, and I think that he was practically the only one who owned a car at that time.

Q: Did your father eventually have a car?

CH: Well, we weren’t one of the first ones by any means. We had a horse and buggy and a little spring wagon.

Q: You mentioned that your mother even drove the horse and buggy . . .

CH: To Evanston to shop.

Q: Did you ever learn to drive a car?

CH: I started, but I never cared for it. Therefore I don’t think I would ever make a good driver, because I’m too nervous. I would get scared. The first car we had was a Studebaker, a big one. Seven-passenger, in those days, everything was seven passengers. You don’t hear that today. Seven passengers. You know, it had the little extra seats, and you could put them down and put them up. That was the first car we had, so we did not have a car early in life. Then the next one, I don’t remember what that was. I think we stayed with the Studebaker. In fact, they don’t make those any more. So what else was it?

Q: I have another question about you personally. Do you remember – you had long hair . . .

CH: Yes, I did. (laughs)

Q: Do you remember when you bobbed your hair? Or do you remember when other women bobbed their hair?

CH: Yes. I don’t remember what year it was, but it was before I was married, so that was before 1928. We lived on Lincoln Avenue then. That was after my father sold our house and all that property and the greenhouses and all, and we built a house on Lincoln and Austin.

Q: Right, on the southeast corner. That’s where the condos are now.

CH: Yes. So that’s when. We had a lot of property, but we gardened only on a small piece right close to the house. My father was working in the garden when I had my hair bobbed, and I went out and showed him. I said, “How do you like my hair? I had my hair cut.” He said, “Oh, it looks nice.” But no, I wasn’t one of the first ones.

Q: So it wasn’t shocking when you had yours done – by then it was the style.

CH: I was kind of old.

Q: Do you remember the first woman that was bold enough to have her hair bobbed? Or the reaction to it? I just wondered if you did.

CH: Well . . (pauses) . . . now, my husband’s aunt, Aunt Annie, she never had long hair.

Q: Oh, really?

CH: No, she always had short hair. And it looks just like they wear it now, the way she had it cut. She never had long hair.

Q: Isn’t that interesting. After we hear all our lives that the women had to have long hair and nobody ever had short hair.

CH: But she did.

Q: Good for her.

CH: And, well, washing it wasn’t fun. You know, that was always a big thing. All that hair . . .

Q: Then to get it dry.

CH: . . . and to get it dry, right. Yes.

Q: And it took so long.

CH: Took so long. Then, of course, all my sisters had long hair. I had four sisters; there were five girls. We all had long hair. I don’t know whether I was the last one, or anyway, eventually we all had our hair cut.

Q: Can you think of anything more along Lincoln Avenue? About the stores or anything like that? I just wondered if you remembered anything.

CH: The stores. Well, now we . . .

Q: Firs of all, I want to ask you a question. Did Theobald Road actually go right into Lincoln Avenue?

CH: Yes.

Q: It doesn’t now.

CH: No, it detours. I still don’t understand how it goes, but then it did. it had a lot of turns in it all the way from Dempster. It went from Dempster to Lincoln with a lot of curves, and eventually, yes, it connected directly onto Lincoln. Of course, there were a lot of greenhouses in those days. Brooks had greenhouses there on Lincoln Avenue, and . . .

Q: I think there was still a – I don’t know if it’s the same – but there was a Brooks greenhouse on Lincoln where the Chinese restaurant is now.

CH: Yes, that was it.

Q: The China Chef.

CH: Yes, that was greenhouses in there. Of course, going up toward Skokie there on Lincoln Avenue was Platz. It’s still there.

Q: And on the other side there was another greenhouse.

CH: Clesan’s. Up until not too long ago that greenhouse was there, and, of course, Platz is still there. Then we had the greenhouses there on Theobald Road not far, right off of Lincoln. Of course, Poehlmann’s.

Q: I had my car fixed at a repair shop at the corner of Lincoln where Theobald would come in – it’s really the corner of Lincoln and Marmora now – and thee man told me that he bought his business from Baumhardt.

CH: You mean the garage?

Q: Yes, I mean the garage. Right?

CH: Now Baumhardts, they lived on, right in that corner there of Theobald Road and Lincoln Avenue. They really were on both of the streets. That family, the Baumhardt family, built that garage. George still lives in Morton Grove on Mason Avenue. He was interested in mechanics and he – I don’t know whether he owned it or what, but he was running the business there anyway. My brother, Lambert, worked for him for some time. I remember they used to run dances some times in their garage. Just for fun. Organizations, you know. it was a big place under a roof. It was nice; it was fun. So, yes, Baumhardts built that, and I remember when, too.

Q: Was there one more thing on your list that you wanted to talk about?

CH: Organizations and picnic grounds. Oh, rope swing. That was in this picnic grove behind Ketz’s, you know. the picnic grove behind Ketzs . . .

Q: Right, on the south side of Lincoln.

CH: They had those big trees, immense trees. They had this – I think the board on the swing must have been that wide, a big plank, you know.

Q: Like a yard or more. Like more than three or four feet, huh? Two people could sit on it?

CH: Yes, very easily. Yes, and, oh, that was fun. As I said, they had that up and it so strong and the rope was so thick. We kids used to go there during the week when there was no picnic there. We could, you know, go over and swing on those swings. Then we’d play the game. We’d swing as high as we could and then jump off. (laughs) See how far we could go, you know, and then jump. So, yes, I always remember that. I think that was the biggest rope swing that I have ever seen. It was fun.

Q: Before we finish, why don’t we look at the book called “Early Skokie” and you can say a little bit about some of the pictures in there that you remember, and well just say – I think the pages are numbered. Just so we tell on the tape what picture you’re looking at.

CH: Well, Indians, yes, and, of course, my mother remembers – let’s see, that house that my mother lived in was my grandmother’s. That was on Lincoln, and it was right behind Baumhardt’s Garage, but it was up on a hill. That little house.

Q: In Morton Grove?

CH: Yes, that was my grandmother’s house.

Q: Now it was behind what was Baumhardt’s Garage. And there was a hill.

CH: A hill.

Q: So that would have been near where your dad built the greenhouses.

CH: It was on Lincoln Avenue, whereas our greenhouse was . . .

Q: On Theobald.

CH: It connected with this property. It was just our roadway, our private roadway of the greenhouse in between these two properties. That was my grandmother’s house.

Q: . . . and you say there was a little hill there.

CH: Yes, and my mother lived in that house. Indians. That’s how I thought of it, and . . .

Q: Was that house still there when your father . . .

CH: Yes.

Q: So was your grandmother still living in that house on Lincoln when you were a little girl?

CH: Yes, I remember that. But my mother remembers Indians coming to the door there.

Q: Really? How wonderful.

CH: Yes. That’s what made me think of it. And then I said, you know, “Well, what would they do?” And she said they would ask for food and things like that. Something they’d ask for, you know, but they . . .

Q: They weren’t afraid of them, were they?

CH: No, no. So, then, of course . . .

Q: That’s when your mother was a little girl. That was long gone by the time you . . .

CH: Yes, my mother – no, but I remember it, though. It’s not so many years that they tore that down. Then, of course, they lowered the hill, too.

Q: Oh, yes, because there’s no hill there now.

CH: No, no, but that was up on a hill. Then, too, another house that they lived in was on Railroad Avenue which is now Lehigh, and I think that house is still there. I think I told you about that.

Q: No. I don’t remember you telling that, but anyway . . .

CH: I said my Uncle Tom – there was a creek running through it, the property. My Uncle Tom built a little bridge of tree logs and that was so cute. He built lawn furniture from tree logs, and then he had a round table built around one big tree. That was nice.

Q: This was over on what’s now Lehigh?

CH: Lehigh, yes. It was closer to Edgebrook on Lehigh. It wasn’t right in the village of Morton Grove, you know. it was closer on the way to Edgebrook. Edgebrook was the next stop on the railroad. I’m pretty sure it’s still there. It was nice. He had the yard kept up so nice. It was so nice inside. I liked it. It had the sliding door between the kitchen and the dining room. That was something great for me. You know, I never saw that before. And the nice light woodwork, and so then my mother lived in that house. I think that was – oh, and then I think my Uncle Tom lived in there. He got married, and he lived in there. And then his family got too big for it. It was a small house. I think it was two bedrooms, but they were small. All the rooms were small; it was too small for them.

So then they moved, they built a house, I think, in St. Martha’s property there. They bought it from St. Martha’s. it was right behind the park and right in front – it was on, facing Georgiana, right in front of . . . (pauses) . . . the library. Of course, the library wasn’t there then. Just so you know the location.

Q: Yes, thank you.

CH: My Uncle Tom built that house . . .

Q: Now that’s your mother’s brother.

CH: My mother’s brother, yes. And he . . .

Q: What was his last name?

CH: Yehl. Y-E-H-L.

Q: Y-E-H-L. Of course. (laughs)

CH: Well, that – well, there was Uncle Tom. Well, his sons still live – now Roger lives in Morton Grove and Harold was a policeman in Morton Grove. He died. Then there’s Alvin. They’re Yehls, and Roger could tell you a lot, too, and he’s a talker, so he could tell you a lot of things if you would contact him.

Q: All right. Thank you for the suggestion. This – we’re looking at this picture in this book of old Skokie, and I’m trying to – is that one of the family homes? I’m looking at it at an angle. That’s the little red schoolhouse that was down at Howard and Niles Center.

CH: Yes, I remember that.

Q: Actually the site is gone because the highway took it.

CH: But I remember it, though.

Q: That school?

CH: Yes.

Q: There’s the Blameuser Building.

CH: Oh, yes, yes.

Q: Would you like to tell be about what your family, your connection with the Blameuser Building?

CH: Well, my grandfather was the postmaster and he was the . . .

Q: Now, we’re talking about Niles Center.

CH: Yes.

Q: This isn’t Morton Grove. I just wanted to make it clear on the tape.

CH: Yes, it’s Niles Center. It’s . . .

Q: Yes, Lincoln and Oakton. The old Blameuser Building.

CH: Yes.

Q: On the northwest corner.

CH: Yes, they had, well, they occupied the whole building. I think there’s – someone said – three stories. There must be three . . .

Q: Yes, because even in the picture it looks like that.

CH: Yes, because there were a lot of rooms in there, and they had the general store. That included . . .

Q: Your father, George, yes, and?

CH: My grandfather.

Q: And what was his name?

CH: George.

Q: Oh, okay, that’s right. You told me.

CH: Five Georges in there.

Q: That’s right, you told me that.

CH: His name was George Harrer, right. (laughs) They had the post office. He was the justice of the peace, and, well, the general store. That included feed and grain and hay and all of that, you know. Everything. They had the saloon. Now that was all on the first floor. But up here were apartments, and when my mother and father were first married, they took an apartment up there, and Dr. Sinsel had an apartment up there, and they were all young at that time. And who else was it? There was someone else that had an apartment – Loutsch.

Q: The Loutsch family had rooms up there.

CH: (laughs) They were young, too, at that time.

Q: Of course, when they all start out.

CH: Well, anyway, there must have been even more apartments in there.

Q: Oh, yes, look, how big the building is. There must have been lots of apartments.

CH: So then after he went out of business here, that’s when he bought the property in Morton Grove, built the greenhouses and the home and everything that we had on Theobald Road. So then after that, of course, that’s Morton Grove history.

Q: Right. There is a picture in here where they moved it later. Now there was just one other picture here – I’m trying to find the one of your family or a family house. We’re going through this kind of fast. (pages turning)

CH: National Bank of Skokie. This is . . .

Q: That was the old brick, red brick.

CH: Yes.

Q: It was sort of red brick and it had little columns in the front. Faced Lincoln Avenue, but that picture is actually the Oakton Avenue side. At the bottom, is that the picture of the bakery?

CH: Yes. (laughs)

Q: Why are you laughing? Is that where you went to buy the – tell me about it.

CH: Oh, yes.

Q: When you were hungry . . .

CH: Well, when my mother didn’t have anything for – I had to carry my lunch. Most of the children did. The children who lived in Lincolnwood and who . . .



CH: . . . (conversation joined in progress) . . . and that was the only bakery in town, in Niles Center, and I would go in there and buy six of those long sweet rolls. They were long like this. I would eat those for my lunch. That was only occasionally.

But I do remember Paroubeks had this. I remember it, and then, later on, they had – well, then Schoenenberger, we used to say Schoenenberg, they had the general store on Lincoln Avenue. That was one of the biggest stores in Niles Center. That was the general store. They had everything there, too. This was the only bakery. And then in later years, Paroubeks, I think, moved their bakery . .

Q: Yes, into where Schoenenbergers had been.

CH: Yes, but that was quite a few years than that.

Q: Now, this house, Adam Harrer’s house?

CH: That was my uncle. He was married to a Harms. His wife was a Harms.

Q: I see, because that property is right next to the Harms house. I mean there’s another house back on that lot. Well, I think Mr. Harms owned all of Niles Center from . . .

CH: Yes, he owned that . . .

Q: That whole length there.

CH: There was all these trees, like a woods over on this side. Or was it this side? He owned that, too. Now, there was a house, a smaller house, in the back of this one, but . . .

Q: It still is.

CH: Yes, it’s still there, but this is the house that my Uncle Adam lived in. This is the house that I was in a few times as a child. It was a big house. Well, you can see it was big. From the front, it doesn’t look so big, but . . .

Q: But it goes back quite a ways.

CH: Yes, then, too, it had the eaves up here. Yes, that’s still there. There for a while I think they had it painted – the brick they had painted white, but originally it was a red brick, I think. And this building – Peter Blameuser – now I think probably he was, well, they said he was the one who built this.

Q: That big building.

CH: Yes, yes. He was the owner of that. So when my grandfather was in there and my father, they did not own that. They rented it. And, of course, the Blameusers owned a lot, too. There’s a big red brick house on Lincoln Avenue that they built in front of, that you can hardly see the house any more. That was a Blameuser house.

Q: Where on Lincoln Avenue?

CH: In Skokie. That was close to the bank. On the same side of the street as the bank on Lincoln Avenue. That was – I went to school with some of those girls, and, oh, that was a big house. Beautiful. You know, I noticed things like something we didn’t have. They had the ceilings painted with like figuring or whatever it was . . .

Q: Oh, fancy.

CH: Oh, it was a beautiful house. And it was standing back off the street – back far enough so that they could build in front of it. All you could see was that gable on the top. That’s all you could see of the house.

Q: Speaking of big houses, the Poehlmanns had a beautiful house. I know I’ve seen pictures of it, and I know now it’s been moved over on Dempster Street. Were you ever in the Poehlmann house?

CH: Yes. On Lincoln Avenue, there was one on Lincoln Avenue. That was Plant A, I believe. Plant B was on Dempster Street, and there was a house there, too. That was . . .

Q: Another Poehlmann?

CH: . . . Adolf. Yes, two brothers. One was Adolf, and this one was . . . (pauses) . . . what would his name be?

Q: I don’t remember their name. August?

CH: August. He was August, that’s right.

Q: August was the one on Lincoln and then Adolf was up on Dempster Street?

CH: On Dempster, yes, and that was a big house, too, but it wasn’t quite as showy, you know, as the one on Lincoln Avenue. It was really covered a lot with a lot of trees, too. It had an immense porch in the front. It was one of those square white frame . . .

Q: With the porch on three sides.

CH: Big porch in the front, and then it had a drive, a covered driveway.

Q: Porte-cochere, right.

CH: And then, of course, they had about the only one – now I’m going to get into cars again – that had big seven-passenger – were they Studebakers? No, they weren’t Studebakers. (pauses) Gee, I don’t think they make those either anymore. I knew not too long ago the name.

Q: Well, my question is, was anybody, there was no one else in town that was the social equal of the Poehlmanns, was there?

CH: Well, they were – August held office, you know. He was a trustee. And I think he was the mayor for a while.

Q: Well, socially, would Mrs. Poehlmann have been involved in things with the ladies of town?

CH: Well, if you had like maybe the Women’s Club or something like that, she may have been a member. But not too much, no. But I remember Virginia in school, and I remember Vera and Edna. Now that’s from the other family on Dempster.

Q: How about the Poehlmanns on Lincoln Avenue?

CH: Well, that was Virginia.

Q: That was the only child?

CH: Virginia, no, she was the only girl. Then there were two boys. Morton – no, Morton was one of the boys from Dempster Street.

Q: Adolf’s family.

CH: Right. But Virginia was the only girl, August’s family. She was a toe dancer.

Q: Oh, my!

CH: When we gave plays, had plays, you know, like even over there at St. Paul’s Park on the stage, she always toe danced. That was always like intermission, you know. Something extra besides the play. And Vera, I think, had a good singing voice. She took vocal – in those days they called it vocal. You don’t hear that today.

Q: No, you don’t. (laughter)

CH: Everything in those days was vocal, vocal. She was taking vocal lessons, and she had a pretty good singing voice. She would sing, too, at these shows we’d have, plays. But they were nice. They weren’t uppish, you know, or anything like that. They would sometimes show up – the boys – at club dances and things like that. But, yes, I was in the Poehlmann house, with Girlie Hoss. Now Girlie was the daughter of Joe Hoss, and I was with her quite a bit – in the house and with the Poehlmanns. If I was with her, I would go to the Poehlmanns. That’s how to got in the inside.

Q: Was theirs a lovely home inside?

CH: Yes, they had all those window seats, cushioned window seats, you know, all over the inside. It was nice. It was big. Big archways, I think, from . . .

Q: Between the rooms?

CH: . . . what I can remember. But Girlie – we always called her Girlie. That was her fun name. Her name was Loretta.

Q: Loretta and you called her . . .

CH: Girlie. The family called her Girlie, and that’s what we called her.

Q: So you did go into the Poehlmann house.

CH: I was in there a couple of times, yes. They had an upstairs, of course. They had their bedrooms upstairs, I guess. But I remember one thing that Virginia said one time that always stuck in my mind. You know, they had a lot of poker chips. Those days, they played poker a lot with poker chips. She had them all in her lap, and she was going like this, you know.

Q: Picking them up and letting them drop?

CH: Yes, and she said, “This is what the millionaires do with their money.” (laughs) I’ll never forget that. As though that was money, you know. she was throwing her money up. (laughs) No, they weren’t uppish. Virginia was nice; she was very friendly. I remember her mostly with her toe dancing, and Vera with her singing, and Edna – I don’t know whether she did anything that . . .

Q: Was Edna Adolf’s daughter up on Dempster Street?

CH: Edna, yes.

Q: Did anybody take elocution? Was that anything you learned or heard at that time?

CH: yes, Vera, Vera Poehlmann, she took elocution, and she was good at speaking. If there were any speaking parts, you know, she would usually star in them. Then Daisy Brooks used to, too. Daisy. Now that was the Brooks on the . .

Q: The greenhouse? Brooks Greenhouse?

CH: Yes, she went in for that dramatics.

Q: Now I remember you telling me – I know you played the piano because I know you played the organ at the start of St. Martha’s Church when it was still a little storefront. You told me the name of the nun at St. Peter’s that taught you your music. I think I had it written down somewhere, and I don’t think we got it on the tape. Sister Tarcilla. Does that sound right?

CH: That’s it. Sister Tarcilla. She was a music teacher, and she also played the organ in church and did the teaching, you know, for the choir and all that.

Q: So the children at that time and the young people growing up had lessons. They had the advantage of learning more than just . . .

CH: Oh, yes. Yes.

Q: You’ve already talked about the toe dancing for Virginia, and vocal for Vera.

CH: And Daisy Brooks, now, I don’t think that she took any special lessons, but she just had a liking for that thing, and she was very dramatic. She could really take the dramatic parts, you know. She went for all of that. She used more make-up than any one else around. Too much. You know, but she was that type.

Q: She was the dramatic type.

CH: She was that type, yes. She went for that.

Q: Do you think she ever did anything with it? Do you think she ever became an actress?

CH: I don’t think so. No, she got married and I think she divorced later on and she remarried.

Q: Your mention of make-up makes me wonder how much make-up did you use? When did girls start wearing make-up then?

CH: Well, it varied with the person. Now, I never used much make-up.i don’t care for a lot, but there were some girls in town who did. they used too much – it was so obvious.

Q: Well, would they have been criticized in the village? Would there have been adults that would have said, “Hussy,” or . . .

CH: No, I don’t think – to their faces they wouldn’t. they would maybe amongst themselves. But at that time they used white powder. I don’t know, did you ever hear about it?

Q: (laughs) No, like rice powder?

CH: White, yes, it was – that’s what made them look so made-up, you know, and they used powder then. Now they don’t use much powder. I never use powder. I haven’t for years. But at that time, I used to use powder, but sparingly. Then, later, on . . .

Q: Because it made you look white, you wouldn’t . . .

CH: White, and then with too much rouge. With the whiteness and a lot of rouge, and then they used to use that mascara.

Q: And lipstick.

CH: No. Not in those days.

Q: No lipstick?

CH: No, no lipstick. No, that was before lipstick. But they used mascara and too much rouge. And with the white powder, it looked very made-up. So . . .

Q: So make-up wasn’t important.

CH: Well, as I said, it was up to the individual. Some didn’t and some did, and some used too much. They looked – they made themselves look cheap. That’s what I thought. You probably never heard about the white powder. Later on, of course, they got into the flesh colors, you know, that look more natural. Was there anything else?

Q: No, I can’t think of anything. I don’t think there are any more pictures in the book.

CH: Well, I remember all of these buildings. Let’s see, this is the . . .

Q: That was the Blameuser, I think. Yes. This is the page where there was the picture of your uncle. Now your uncle was Adam. In other words, Adam was your father’s . . .

CH: My father’s brother. So they had the same father. He came from, that book says, he came from Bavaria, you know, in 1847 or something like that, and his name was George. That’s the beginning of the Georges. My mother had a brother, George . . .

Q: George Yehl.

CH: Yes, and then she married a George – Harrer. And then she had a George, and now we have, her grandson, George Smith.

Q: Your sister’s son . . .

CH: Mae Harrer Smith, and she is his mother.

Q: So the name George has been carried down.

CH: Five. Five generations. At that time, in the Catholic Church, you had to have a saint’s name when you’re baptized. They wanted him to be called Grant, because during the war he was in Service and she was where he was in Service. The lived in Grant Hotel. They wanted to name their first son Grant.

Q: Now that’s World War I you’re talking about?

CH: Yes, yes, and so she, in order to give him a saint’s name, they had to baptize him George Grant, but they called him Grant.

Q: Which is good with so many Georges, then you knew which one you were talking about.

CH: Yes. I still call him Grant, but most people say George now because that really is his first name.

Q: You and I have been talking about the different churches right now, and you gave me an expression in German, and I’d like you to repeat it into the microphone. Would you say it again?

CH: Kirche, Kinder, Kuche.

Q: And it meant?

CH: Church, children, kitchen.

Q: And who taught you that?

CH: My mother. (laughter)

Q: That really was the way the woman felt.

CH: Yes, that was their place in life. That was their three things that they were supposed to do and live.

Q: Just the limit – the church, the children, and the kitchen.

CH: And that would be their life. You know, go to church and whatever the church, you know, affairs that the church has. And have a family. Do the work in the kitchen and . . .

Q: Well, I suppose the home. The kitchen was the center of the home really.

CH: Of the home, yes.

Q: Were you named for someone?

CH: . . . (conversation joined in progress) . . . Carrie. My Aunt Carrie, that’s my mother’s sister.

Q: Your Aunt Carrie?

CH: Aunt Carrie. I was named for her, and she is also my godmother. We always called her Aunt Carrie, but . . .

Q: Do you think that was her full name?

CH: No, but recently I noticed we went into the cemetery there – St. Peter’s Catholic Cemetery – and I noticed Browder. She married a Browder. And it said Caroline. It really surprised me, because I always thought her names was just Carrie. But her real name – the full name – was Caroline. So they named me for her and I don’t know wher the Viola came in. I don’t think – maybe my mother just liked the name.

Q: Well, it’s a pretty flower.

CH: Well, no, it’s – violet is a flower. But this is Viola. So, I don’t know. Anyway, that’s my name – Caroline Viola Harrer Heuel.

Q: And you were born?

CH: In Morton Grove.

Q: And on what date?

CH: April 17, 1904.

Q: Thank you very much.

CH: You’re welcome.


[1] Blameuser Building. Located at the northwest corner of Lincoln and Oakton, built in early 1860s, was moved west 60 feet about 1920. Later torn down.

[2] Roughly a block from Lincoln Avenue, between Marmora and Menard, on the south side.

[3] Dorothy Yehl, Caroline’s cousin, had been visiting with Caroline when I arrived. Dorothy’s father and Caroline’s mother had been brother and sister.

[4] Brooks Greenhouse was at the northeast corner of Mason and Lincoln.

[5] Indicating an outline she had been given a week or two before this interview.

[6] Ernestine died soon after our last interview.

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