Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Harmening House, Ontarioville (now Hanover Park), Illinois.

The Harmening House is located along Route 20 in Hanover Park, Illinois. The area what once was known as Ontarioville, now a lost town of Illinois, except the name was given to a neighborhood of Hanover Park, Illinois. It is estimated that the house was built sometime between 1865 and 1872. Wilhelm Heinrich Harmening was the original owner of the house and it was passed down to family over the years. The most recent residents occupied the house until 2000 were not relatives of the Harmening family. 
Within the past few years there has been interest in preserving this historic old structure. The interior is not in good condition and would require extensive refurbishing. There are no plans at this time for any type of massive restoration other than to keep the exterior of the building intact and standing. 
A family wedding held at the house in 1894.
On September 14, 2015, I spoke with Tom who works on home-site. He was kind enough to give me a tour inside and allowed me to take photographs for this story.

The pictures give an idea of the house floor plan. On the second floor you can see some of the original wallpaper and light fixtures.

Tom told me about a baby picture that was discovered in a frame found behind a wall when it was torn down. The identity and story about the baby is unknown. Tom was kind enough to  email the baby photo to me. I have included it here along with a photograph that was taken around 1875 of a large group of people assembled for a Harmening family wedding. He also sent a photo from high up in the cupola, giving a view of Route 20.
A Baby!

September 16, 2015 - Melissa Luby: I'm actually a descendant of the Harmening's on my mother's side. We've been researching our genealogy for years, and may be able to identify the people in the photos. I'll ask my mom to dust off the family tree and report back. Thank you for the photos; I've always wanted to see the inside of the house.

September 18, 2015 - Regina Nerge Dunaway: These are pictures I have of the original owners of the old Harmening House on Route 20. They are my Great Great Grandparents - J H Harmening, born Dec 31, 1827, died Dec 16, 1903, and Dorothea Thiess Harmening, born Jan 11, 1841, died May 8, 1924.

J. H. Harmening and Dorothea Thiess Harmening
September 18, 2015 - Regina Nerge Dunaway: This is also an inside shot of the house in 1894.
This photograph appears to have a backdrop, but was shot inside the house during the Wedding in 1894.
September 18, 2015 - Robert Dunaway: My wife Regina Nerge Dunaway is the great great granddaughter and this is an inside photo from 1894
Interior photo from 1894.
Story and Photographs by Jim Jasiota
Photographic Historian (official title)
Living History of Illinois and Chicago® 

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.


  1. Awesome, love these old pictures and the history behind them, i sure would love to explore this old house.It had to be a grand place back then.
    Thank you for sharing.

  2. The wedding photo was not taken inside the house. The background is a photographer's backdrop. The ones of the elderly couple at the top appear to also have a backdrop. You can see the line where the backdrop hits the floor in each picture. Otherwise, the photos are fantastic, and a treasure. The house appears to be in pretty good shape for it's age. No signs of rot or mold in those pictures. I hope it can be saved!

  3. I am a descendant of Henry Christian Harmening, the adopted nephew of John Henry and Dorothea Harmening. I grew up driving past this house, and have visited it several times in the past years, but never had the opportunity to see the inside. These photos are fantastic, and this is the first time I've ever seen a photo of my great grandfather's uncle! Thank you for sharing these.

  4. My grandfather (Henry L. Harmening) lived in this house as a boy, and returned as a young married man in the 1920s. I would love to see this house restored! The sod farm owners tell us that it will cost $2 million.

  5. I love these old historic homes. Jim Harmening any relationship to you?

  6. Cathy, yes! My great great grandfathers brother. I believe. We have seen stories in the past and a few years ago someone was trying to raise some interest and funds to restore it. We need a closet Harmening millionaire to step up and make it a museum! Looks like a great place to have a party


  7. I would love to see it restored and visit maybe even do tours or let people pay to stay in it since its park of Hanover parks history

  8. I love this house and would love to see it restored. I took a tour inside several years ago and took lots of photos. It would mean so much if it could be restored. It could be a center for park district events and parties. It's important to remember history and not just in the cemeteries.

  9. I sure hope this home can be saved. I'd hate to think of all that fine wood along with the memories ending up in a landfill.


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