Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Biography of Potawatomi Chief Senachwine (Difficult Current). 1744-1831

In April 1812, Chief Senachwine and other Potawatomi chieftains met with Governor Ninian Edwards at Cahokia to discuss relations between the Potawatomi and the United States. Although opposed to an offensive war, Senachwine sided with Black Partridge during the Peoria War and commanded a sizable force during the conflict. Senachwine later accompanied the Potawatomi peace delegation who were escorted by Colonel George Davenport to sign the 1816 Treaty of St. Louis.

Around 1814, a mysterious Baptist preacher and missionary known as Wigby lived in his village. Wigby was allowed to baptize him and later converted Senachwine to Christianity. However, despite Wigby's attempts to dissuade him, Senachwine refused to give up polygamy and retained his several wives. After Wigby's death, he was buried on a high bluff overlooking Senachwine's village.

Senachwine succeeded his brother Gomo as head chieftain of the Illinois River band and was a signatory of several treaties between the Potawatomi and the United States during the 1810s and 1820s. He and Black Partridge would remain the leading chieftains of the Potawatomi for over a decade before their positions of authority and influence were assumed by Shabbona. A year before his death, Senachwine believed that the Potawatomi nation, and eventually all Indians, would eventually become extinct. His son, Kaltoo (or Young Senachwine), succeeded him as chieftain after his death in the summer of 1831.
Monument to Potawatomi Chief Senachwine near the village of Putnam (an unincorporated village) in Putnam County, Illinois.
He was buried on a high bluff overlooking the village, like the missionary Wigby years before, and a wooden monument was placed on his grave. A black flag was also flown from a high pole placed next to the monument and could be seen from the gravesite for several years afterwards. Two years later, his band were removed to the Indian Territory and eventually settled in western Kansas.
In the summer of 1835, twenty-three Potawatomi warriors traveled over 500 miles to visit the gravesite of Senachwine. Their faces blackened and their heads wrapped in blankets, they performed a ritual invoking the Great Spirit to protect the gravesite and remains of the chieftain. According to a local resident observing the ceremony, the warriors spent several hours knelt around the gravesite as "their wails and lamentations were heard far away." The following morning they performed the "dance of the dead" which continued for several days before departing.

A short time after, Senachwine's grave was robbed of its valuables including his tomahawk, rifle, several medals and other personal effects. The chieftains bones had also been scattered around the site. Members of his band returned to the site to rebury his remains and again placed a wooden monument over his grave. James R. Taliaferro, who had been present at the reburial, later built a cabin near the gravesite and claimed that "Indians from the west at different times made a pilgrimage to the grave."
Gary Wiskigeamatyuk (from left), his son Senachwine, wife Rosewita, and daughter Kayla visit Chief Senachwine's grave overlooking Senachwine Valley near Putnam. Wiskigeamatyuk is a fifth great-grandson of the legendary Potawatomi chief.
The Sons of the American Revolution chapter in Peoria, Illinois placed a bronze memorial plaque, engraved with his speech to Black Hawk pleading for peace prior to the Black Hawk War, at the supposed burial spot of Senachwine north of present-day Putnam County, Illinois on June 13, 1937. During the ceremony, an address was given by author P.G. Rennick. Five tribal members of the Potawatomi from Kansas were also in attendance during the ceremony.
Senachwine Indian Mounds. Burial stone monument circled in yellow.
The village of Putnam is located to the west of Senachwine Lake along Route 29, north of Henry, Illinois. The village of some 100 people was originally called Senachwine. Putnam is the only village in Putnam County on the west side of the Illinois River.
Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Saturday, April 27, 2019

The History of Baer's Treasure Chest Downtown Chicago's Arcade and Magic Store.

In November of 1949, Bobby Baer opened his magic store, "Baer's Treasure Chest" at 19 West Randolph Street, across the street from the Oriental Theater, in downtown Chicago.
A two-story high, chase-lighted marquee out front heralded the arrival of Baer's "Treasure Chest,"
and home of "Chicago's Magic Center." The Treasure Chest front entrance circa 1950.
Inside were rows of skee-ball games, a shooting gallery, a lot of flashing pinball games and coin-consuming mecanical arcade machines. Because of a bit of political gamesmanship known only to Baer and certain city councilmen, the new amusement palace was the only arcade licensed within Chicago's Loop.

In the 1960s & '70s the Treasure Chest was a hang-out for Navy Cadets on pass from Fort Sheridan, just north of Highland Park, about an hours train ride away.
Magician Marshall Brodien demonstrating at the Treasure Chest's Magic Center, the upstairs shop that catered to the pros.
Brodien began making semi-regular guest appearances on Bozo's Circus, in which he frequently interacted with the clowns, he began appearing as a wizard character in an Arabian Nights-inspired costume in 1968 and by the early 1970s he evolved into "Wizzo the Wizard."

When you came in the front door and walked past the counter on the right side, there were stairs leading to an upstairs shop, also on the right. The entrance had a velvet rope across it and a small sign, saying "Abbott's Pro Shop." The rope barrier was to keep out the idly curious. You needed permission from an employee to go upstairs. 

Although the upstairs Pro Shop had professional, high quality and expensive magic, the downstairs area had a magic area that sold some professional tricks. 

Further down on the right side were the gag gifts; fake vomit, doggie poop, itching powder, plastic ice cube with a fly inside (my favorite prank), Pepper or Garlic Gum, hand buzzer shockers and tons more cheap but fun gags.

On the left side as you entered were counters and shelving full of jewelry, watches, transistor radios, tape recorders, switch-blade combs, and other kinds of "general merchandise." You could get your own headline printed on the front page of a faux newspaper i.e. "Dr. Smith Survives a Flood, Asteroid Strike, and Airplane Crash."
1974 Midway Chopper helicopter coin operated flying arcade game. It was touchy business making a toy helicopter to fly in slow circles and brush electric contacts with spring feelers before the timer ran out. My personal favorite.
Skee-Ball Machines... Win tickets and turn them in at the counter for a cheesie toy.
Loads of pinball games, some new some old.
In the back half of the store were all the amusement games, taking up every inch of available floor space; Pinball, mechanical games, and a row of skee-ball machines. Later they added coin operated video games, but they still kept some of the money-making vintage games. Lunchtime, 11am-1pm, was also a very busy time with 'suits' playing games.
In the 1960s they were open 7 days a week until midnight. A 1960s Tribune Ad shows a second location at 9252 Milwaukee Avenue in Niles.

By 1980 the hours were changed to 9am-10pm Monday thru Thursday; 9am-midnight on Friday & Saturday, 12pm-10pm on Sunday.
In the 1970s, some people thought the name of the Treasure Chest was "Fun City" because of the sign over the door read: "Entrance to FUN CITY." Note that the length of the front windows was at some point elongated from about 5' to the door in the 1950s photo above, to about 15' to get in the door. All the merchandise in the windows drew you in like a magnet.
Baer's Treasure Chest closed sometime in 1985 after a fire in the 17-19 W. Randolph building.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Illinois' Negro World War I Regiment; The Forgotten Story.


In historical writing and analysis, PRESENTISM is the introduction of present-day ideas and perspectives into depictions or interpretations of the past. I believe presentism is a form of cultural bias, and it creates a distorted understanding of the subject matter. Reading modern notions of morality into the past is committing the error of presentism. I'm well aware that historical accounts are written by people and can be slanted, so I try my hardest to present articles that are fact based and well researched, without interjecting any of my personal opinions.


It’s a history that has been largely forgotten, even though some monumental physical traces remain. The 8th Illinois National Guard Regiment, which during the great war (WWI 1914-1918) came to be known as the 370th U.S. Infantry, was the only regiment in the entire United States Army that was called into service with almost a complete complement of Negro officers from the highest rank of Colonel to the lowest rank of Corporal. Yet few people know about this unit of young Negro men from Illinois who fought for a country that beat, lynched, and discriminated against them and people who looked like them.
The regiment reported at the various Illinois rendezvous on July 25, 1917, as follows:
  1. At Chicago, Illinois-Headquarters, Headquarters Company, Machine Gun Company, Supply Company, Detachment Medical Department, and Companies A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H.
  2. At Springfield, Illinois---Company I.
  3. At Peoria, Illinois---Company K.
  4. At Danville, Illinois---Company L.
  5. At Metropolis, Illinois---Company M.
The United States Army so disrespected the men of the 370th and other Negro regiments such as the 369th New York National Guard Regiment, which was popularly known as “The Harlem Hellfighters,” that it would not allow them into combat alongside their white American comrades. Instead, the Negro regiments joined French forces, using French weapons and rations. The only equipment that distinguished them as part of the American force was their uniform.
“The American army didn’t want to have anything to do with them,” says Mario Tharpe, the director, writer, and producer of Fighting on Both Fronts: The Story of the 370th. Many Negro soldiers never saw combat, instead being assigned positions as laborers. “Anthony Powell, a historian from San Jose, puts it well,” says Tharpe. “He says that for the Negro soldiers that came from down South, to join the army was leaving one hell to go to another form of hell, but one in which they wouldn’t be beaten or lynched.”

In the face of such discrimination, both at home and at war, some of the soldiers in the 370th and other regiments that did fight in combat decided to stay in the more tolerant France after the war ended. During the war, Tharpe says, “The 369th and 370th brought jazz to Europe – they were known for having amazing jazz bands.” Some of the soldiers that made their home in France continued to share that American art form with Europeans, working as jazz musicians in the postwar period. France was not only more accepting but also more thankful than America: it awarded 71 Croix de guerre medals to Negro soldiers, before the United States offered any recognition of honor.

Negro soldiers that returned to America found a country just as racist as before. In fact, the situation was in many ways worse. Many soldiers in the 370th were from the cultural hotbed Bronzeville neighborhood in the Douglas community of Chicago, which had swelled in population from the Great Migration. More people meant less economic opportunities for the returning soldiers, and also helped bring simmering racial tension in the city to a boil.

Soon after the 370th came home, the 1919 Chicago Race Riots broke out, resulting in the deaths of 38 people and the injury of hundreds more. Having fought to defend their country in Europe, Chicago Negro soldiers now fought to defend their community from hatred in their country. “These soldiers went off to war, where they knew they wouldn’t be respected, and represented Bronzeville,” Tharpe says. “They fought for rights and democracy by going to war, and then didn’t get justice or their due when they came home.”
Tharpe says that they therefore became the first wave of the Civil Rights movement, albeit a forgotten one. (The 370th also fought in World War II (1939-1945)) They advocated for recognition of their service in the war and eventually achieved it with the construction of the Victory Monument at 35th Street and King Drive. But even that symbol has lost much of its significance. “Even though I lived in Bronzeville and drove past the Victory Monument nearly every day, I was absolutely not familiar with the 370th,” Tharpe says.
Victory Monument at 35th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Chicago.
He did know that the nearby Eighth Regiment Armory, at 3533 S. Giles Avenue, had housed a Negro regiment, but that was about it. Before the war, the 370th had been the 8th Infantry Regiment of the Illinois National Guard, and the Armory was built for them in 1914. It now houses the Chicago Military Academy, a high school, and is listed both as a Chicago Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places. (The General  Richard L. Jones Armory at 52nd Street and Cottage Grove Avenue is named for an officer of the 370th, General Jones, who managed both the Chicago Defender and the Chicago Bee Newspapers, and later was appointed US Ambassador to Liberia.)
The General Richard L. Jones Armory at 52nd Street and Cottage Grove Avenue, Chicago
The Victory Monument and the Armory are the main physical remnants of the 370th. Few oral histories or photos survive. “People didn’t hold on to the memories of it because they didn’t realize the value,” says Tharpe. “Many people knew only that their father fought in the war, and that was it.” But the 370th’s significance and legacy live on.



Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

National Trailways Bus Depot, 20 East Randolph Street, Chicago, Illinois.

Downtown National Trailways Bus Depot, 20 East Randolph Street, Chicago. ca.1950s
Downtown National Trailways Bus Depot, 20 East Randolph Street, Chicago. ca.1950s
From 1936 until 1987, the various Trailways companies used this downtown terminal, across the street from the Marshall Field store. Trailways never had the major presence in Chicago that Greyhound did, and its terminal was accessed via regular downtown streets.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Market Days in Niles Centre (Skokie), Illinois. (1880-1920)

The small settlement of Niles Centre (Niles Centre, Incorporated 1888; Americanized to Niles Center 1910; Renamed to Skokie 1940) was made up of just 57 households in 1880, although the township had a population just in excess of 2,500. It was, however, fast becoming an important area marketplace around that time, the keystone of which was the area’s first farmer’s market.
Market Days in Niles Centre (Skokie). circa 1880s. West side of Lincoln Avenue north of Oakton Street; Blameuser Building on the far left.
For four decades beginning in 1880, the first Tuesday and third Thursday of each month were established as market days, and merchants from as far away as Chicago as well as McHenry and Kane counties came to meet with area farmers and purchase their produce. Pigs, poultry, horses and a variety of vegetables were offered for sale in large numbers on market days.

The idea for the market seems to have originated with Peter Blameuser, Jr., who had billboards printed advertising the earliest events. A description of the colorful Market Days:
“The market reached from the intersection of Lincoln and Oakton [north] to the fork at St. Peter’s Catholic Church. A major attraction for the children of the community, market day also attracted beggars, gypsy fortune tellers and thieves, who proved to be a challenge for the local law enforcers. Horse trading was a vigorous activity. A dispute regarding the merits of a pair of horses would most likely be settled by a horse race through town. The usual stakes were a round of drinks paid for by the loser. Wives often accompanied their husbands into town on market days to make sure the ‘pig money got home safely. After selling their stock, the farmers often decided to have a little fun in town before returning home. They had little trouble getting home; their horses knew the way!”
The soft farmlands of the area were ideal for Chicago workhorses made lame by the Chicago Street Paver Bricks. In the country fields, they would remain useful for years. They were very much a part of the village life in the late 1800s, not only in the areas of labor and commerce, but recreation as well. In addition to the races, the horses were sometimes pitted against one another in pulling contests, in which pairs of horses were harnessed to wagons loaded with gravel, their rear wheels locked by a board placed between the spokes.

Gypsies usually arrived at the edge of the settlement in caravans of wagons, where they camped for an evening or two. The outdoor market brought hundreds of other strangers to the area, too, including many merchants from Chicago, establishing Niles Centre as a true center of commerce.

Skokie runs a "Farmers Market," beginning around 1990, every Sunday, from June thru October. The market is located in the Skokie Public Library's parking lot on Oakton, just west of Lincoln Avenue.
Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Lost Towns of Illinois - Ontarioville, Illinois.

Ontarioville, Illinois was located just south of U.S. Route 20 (Lake Street), at the intersection of County Farm Road and Ontarioville Road in Hanover Park, Illinois.

In 1846 Ringgold was the first name given to the village of Hanover Park, the town that straddles the Cook and DuPage County lines. The Frink & Walker Stage Coach, carried townspeople along an old Indian trail called "Lake Trail" (later becomming Lake Street) linking Chicago and Galena from 1832 until about the mid-1860s.
The Stagecoach wasn't as glamorous as the movies made them out to be.
Wilhelm Heinrich Harmening built a frame two-story house with a coupla sometime between 1865 and 1872 on today's Lake Street (US 20) in Ontarioville. The Harmening House still stand, dilapidated, on the property now owned by the Central Sod Farm in Hanover Park.
The Harmening House
The Harmening House
In 1872, Colonel Rosell M. Hough (Roselle, Illinois' namesake), founder and president of the Chicago & Pacific Railroad (later the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad) laid tracks on the property of Edwin Bartlett after he donated more than seven acres for the construction of a depot. Luther Bartlett donated a 40-acre "woodlot," the source of the Bartlett family's lumber and firewood. 

People donating land for depots along the right-of-way were allowed to name the villages that were formed. Edwin and Luther Bartlett, brothers, each established stations named "Bartlett" along the Chicago & Pacific Railroad line. Luther's station kept the name Bartlett, but to avoid confusion, Edwin renamed his station "Ontario" in 1873, after a legend that the site was built on an old Indian trail between Lake Ontario and Green Bay, Wisconsin. 

A post office was established in Ontarioville in 1873.

Edwin Bartlett began setting down plans for the village in 1874 and by the 1880s the community was thriving as new homes were built in Bartlett's subdivision between the railroad tracks and Ontarioville Road. The little railroad stop became a connection to the larger world, with service extending to Omaha, Sioux City, and beyond. 

Ontarioville's population was 250 in 1920, but when Lake Street became a major artery in the 1920s, a bypass skirted the town and an underpass went under the railroad tracks. Traffic and development were diverted away from the older section of town, in DuPage County. Slow development began on the Cook County side.

In 1925 many people purchased lots in the new Grant Highway (today: Lake Street / US 20) subdivision, but only a few homes were built before the Great Depression. In 1947 construction stalled again when the developers left town with the down-payment money. 

There were so few commuters in 1955 that Ontarioville was taken off the schedule as a train stop. Nearby Streamwood was expanding rapidly, and the Cook County portion of Ontarioville, afraid of annexation by its neighbor, incorporated as Hanover Park in 1958.
Although the community wished to retain a rustic feel, it also hoped to prevent further encroachment of surrounding land by Streamwood. The village formed its own realty firm, Hanover Builders, to begin Hanover Park First Addition subdivision in 1959. The village also began to annex commercial property along Ontarioville Road in DuPage County. 
North of Irving Park Road industries began to boom. Tradewinds Shopping Center on the northeast corner of Irving Park and Barrington Roads opened in 1968. A large annexation of DuPage County land took place in 1970, and by 1990 Hanover Park encompassed nearly five square miles. From a 1970 population of 11,916, the community nearly tripled by 1990 to 32,895.
The boundary between Cook and DuPage Counties produced an invisible dividing line for Hanover Park; now, the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway physically divides the village.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The History of Keeneyville, a Bedroom Community in unincorporated DuPage County, Illinois.

The area called Keeneyville, which never incorporated, was named after Albert F. Keeney (1872-1950), who was among the first settlers.
Lake Street School, Keeneyville, Illinois. Circa 1950s.
On October 4, 1897, Lake Street School District 20, Bloomingdale, opened the doors of a one room cabin schoolhouse with 9 students, ranging in age from five to twelve years old, and Ms. Eunice P. Batten, the only teacher. The first school building was used until approximately 1914. Then sometime in the 1920s, a new building was built. However, there is no information available where classes were held. By 1930, Lake Street School had two classrooms and 18 students.

A Word about Albert Keeney.
Albert Keeney, a native-born Iowan and a real estate developer, decided to subdivide his farmland along Lake Street into individual plots for homes. The Keeneyville subdivision was created when Albert and Virginia Keeney signed and recorded the land plat in 1932.

The original subdivision, East of Gary Road, and South of Lake Street (US 20), contained approximately 115, one acre lots.

People knew Albert as a very colorful man. His hair was white and he always wore a red Marshall Field necktie which he bought by the gross (twelve dozen).

Mr. Keeney became a leader in the community. He donated land to the Keeneyville Bible Church in addition to making other major contributions to the church. The Lake Street School also benefited from Albert's generosity, as he even donated the sign that hung over the schools entrance.

A Keeneyville Old-Timer Recalls.
Mrs. Mae Miller, who lived to be 100 years old, and her husband Francis, were one of the first home owners in Keeneyville. The lake in Keeneyville was considered by the local Indians to be a great fishing spot. According to Mrs. Miller, the lake was reduced to a swamp when drainage ditches were cut, and fill material was dumped in the lake during the original construction of Gary Road back in the 1930’s.

The small hidden lake in Keeneyville is still there.
Keeneyville's Hidden Lake
Maps show Virginia Road going south from Lake Street (U.S. 20) two blocks to where Virginia ends at Lawrence Avenue but that's incorrect. Virginia actually dead ends at Foster Avenue which is one block south of Lake Street due to a tiny lake that interrupts the street further south. You'd never realize that there is a body of water there because it's hidden by surrounding trees, bushes and scrubs. South of the lake Virginia picks-up again and continues a block and a half south to Lawrence.

Vernon Drury Case & Case Foundation Company.
In 1952 Vernon Drury Case and his wife Henrietta Ellis bought ten acres of farmland on Lake Street (US 20) with a seriously dilapidated Victorian-style house and several, barely standing, out-buildings in Keeneyville, Illinois.
The Case house on Lake Street in Keeneyville. Year unknown.
The Case House in 1960, Keeneyville. Photo by Margaret Glorso Tynan.
This is where the Case Foundation Company began by raising capital for their new company, which would become the world headquarters of "Case Foundation Company." The company laid foundations for many of Chicago's great buildings, including: Marina City, Sears "Willis" Tower, Standard Oil Building and John Hancock Center. Vern Case is considered one of Keeneyville's most successful businessmen.
Keeneyville about 1949. Photo emailed to me by Vernon Case Gauntt.
Keeneyville - Case Foundation Company. (1952)
Photo emailed to me by Vernon Case Gauntt.

The Case house now. Note the front door had been moved.
A beautifully written Biography of Vernon Drury Case, written by his grandson, Vernon Case Gauntt.

Big Trouble in Little Keeneyville.
Because Keeneyville is such a small subdivision, not too much excitement occurs there. But on October 30, 1955, the Chicago Daily Tribune reports:
18 TEEN-AGERS FINED $375 FOR BATTLE PLANS
Eighteen young men arrested October 22 as they were about to begin a gang fight in Keeneyville, DuPage county, werre fined a total of $375, including $108 court cost, by Kennith H. Winters, Bloomingdale township justice of the peace, in Roselle, Illinois yesterday.
The fines [per offender], including costs, ranged from $16 to $31 ($152 to $294 today). In addition each of the teen-agers was orderd to observe a 9 p.m. curfew for 90 days, and to be home by 8 p.m. thru tomorrow night. Each was charged with disorderly conduct. An adult overheard discussion of the battle plans and notified the Dupage county sheriff's office, which sent several squads to the scene. They arrived at the intended battleground, a school yard at Lake Street and Gary Avenue, just as fists were about to fly.
Another article says the gang fight was between Keeneyville boys, which called themselves “The Keeneyville Swamp Rats,” vs. a group of Roselle boys.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Monday, April 22, 2019

A brief biography of overachiever Colonel Rosell M. Hough (1819-1892).

In 1836 Elijah Hough (pronounced Huff) and his wife Electa, his daughter Cornelia, and two sons, Oramel and sixteen-year-old Rosell (spelled without an "e" on the end), moved into the Roselle and Bloomingdale area from Massachusetts.

Rosell worked as a butcher and supervisor in the Chicago meat packing business until 1850, when he and his brother, Oramel, opened their own meat packing plant on Halsted Street and Orange Avenue (79th Avenue). At the London Exposition of 1852, their beef won first prize for quality of "imported meat products," thus receiving a large contract for supplying beef to the English troops fighting in the Crimean War (1853-1856).

He was later a partner in the firm of Hough, Hills and Co., soap and candle manufacturers which, believe it or not, used the by-products from their meat packing company.

Rosell was elected and served as a Chicago alderman for the 2nd district from 1855 thru 1856. 

Rosell joined the Union Army on Septem­ber 10, 1861, with the rank of major. He served in Missouri, where he was wounded. He reenlisted June 13, 1862, with the rank of colonel. In 1864 Colonel Hough was active in recruiting volunteers for the army. With his help 6,000 men were recruited. 
Colonel Rosell M. Hough is seated in the middle.
After the Civil War, Colonel Hough was elected the first president of the Chicago Chamber of Commerce in 1864, and serving as a founder of the Chicago Union Stockyards and supervised its construction until opened in June of 1865. Roselle retired from the meat packing business.

When President Lincoln's funeral train arrived in Chicago on the way to Springfield, Rosell led the funeral procession on May 1, 1865, marching on Michigan Boulevard. It was estimated that 37,000 people marched and 150,000 lined route.
President Lincoln’s Funeral Procession in Chicago on May 1, 1865.
Harper’s Weekly Magazine.
Rosell was founder and president of the "Chicago and Pacific Railroad Company" which was organize in 1865 by a special act of the Legislature of Illinois.  

In 1868 when Rosell returned to the Roselle and Bloomingdale area, he found things changing. Cotton production in the South had all but stopped as an aftermath of the Civil War. There was a demand for cloth that could be produced from flax. Roselle began growing this crop on land he had bought from his father, Elijah, before his death in 1851.
Photograph claimed to be the Hough house in on Prospect Street in Roselle/Bloomingdale. Year unknown.
Rosell established the "Illinois Linen Company" which manufactured linen and rope. The factory was located in Bloomingdale on the northwest corner of Chicago and Elgin Road (in 1891 the name changed to Elgin Avenue, then later to Irving Park Road) and Roselle Road, across the road from Henry Holstein's Grist Mill.
Vacant Illinois Linen Factory. Circa 1908.
Vacant Illinois Linen Factory. Circa 1908.
As President of the Chicago and Pacific Railroad, Col. Hough was able to influence the route. He saw future growth for his linen factory if the train would come through Wood Dale, Itasca, Medinah, and Roselle instead of Addison and Bloomingdale. It is rumored that he paid $10,000 to have the survey changed so the train line would go through Roselle, Illinois.

Rosell hired ex-convicts and ruffians from Chicago as laborers and built boarding houses near the factory to accommodate the factory workers. Their notorious drinking and fighting earned the town the nickname “Raise Hell.” One boarding house was nicknamed "The Beehive” because of the number of people living there and the amount of in-and-out foot traffic.
"The Beehive” so named due to the number of people who lived there. Inside was kitchen, a parlor, and bedrooms with two and three-tiered bunk beds in them. The residence, located at about 25 South Roselle Road was built in the 1870's by Rosell Hough as an Inn/Boarding House for workers in his flax factory. The house was razed in 1973.
The village was first platted and offically named Roselle in 1875 and incorporated on October 7, 1922.

Colonel Hough stayed in Roselle until 1880, at which time he sold his business interests in this area Hough then settled in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where he had a cattle company and land holdings. In declining health, the Colonel returned to Chicago in 1890, where he died March 8, 1892. Rosell had no children.

In 1895 the flax factory was shut down. Cotton was once again king in the South; moreover the Roselle soil had become exhausted after its many years of growing flax. These two reasons rendered the flax factory useless.

The building was converted to a tile and brick company by Chicago businessmen who had purchased the property. By 1900 the clay that had been found in the area also gave out, and the brick and tile company was closed. The building sat vacant until it was razed sometime in the 1920's.
Vacant Brickyard Company Factory. Photograph Circa 1908.
Rosell M. Hough and Wife are entombed at the Old Union Cemetery in Lincoln, Illinois.
Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Henry Holstein and his Grist Mill in Bloomingdale, Illinois.

Henry Holstein was born in Hanover, Germany, December 22, 1821, eldest son of John H. and Maria (Boss) Holstein. John H. was a farmer, and died in his native land in 1862, aged sixty-five years. He had two sons and five daughters—Louisa, Fred and our subject. Louisa is the wife of Louis Homeir, of Addison Township, and Fred resided with her. 

Henry was raised a farmer, and remained with his parents until fourteen years of age, when he went to learn the miller's trade. In the spring of 1849, he came to America, arriving in Baltimore the end of May. The next month, he came to Addison Township, where he worked at farming, and afterward went to Cook County. The next year, he returned to Addison and rented land from Deitrich Stuckmann, where he continued thirteen years.
The wind-powered grist mill purchased from Mr. Colbury. This drawing of Henry Holstein's residence and mill was shown in the 1874 Atlas Map of DuPage County, Illinois.
He then moved to the unincorporated Bloomingdale area in 1863 where Holstein bought 114 acres of land at today's Schick and Bloomingdale Roads, costing $2,600, and lived there until 1874.

He moved again, just north of the village of Bloomingdale (incorporated 1889; re-incorporated 1923), where he bought the land and old wind-powered mill (Note: windmill build date is unknown) owned by Mr. Colbury. The land included the intersection of Chicago and Elgin Road (in 1891 the name changed to Elgin Avenue, then later to Irving Park Road) and Roselle Road (Roselle, Illinois, incorporated in 1922).
1874 Bloomingdale Township Map - Approximate location for Holstein's house and mill.
The mill was one of the largest in the area and designed for large-scale production, built with a wing building, presumably used for shipping or receiving. It was constructed with a foundation of stone, a wide base, and a self-governing tail fan to turn the cap.
Henry Holstein's residence and mill. The windmill was on the southeast corner of Irving Park Road and Roselle Road. The Holstein house was on the southwest corner.
(The exact location provided by the "Illinois State Library.")
Holstein hired experienced German miller Henry Raap to operate and maintain the mill. As experienced as Raap was, he narrowly escaped death when a tornado heavily damaged the Holstein Windmill in 1879.

Holstein did not reopen his mill for business until 1882 after painstakingly reconstructing it with improvements. He added a third run of millstones to increase the mill’s capacity.

Soon after reopening, however, Holstein sold the mill to a man named Steinbeck. Steinbeck hired Herman Schmoldt to operate the mill with Raap. When a steam engine was installed, Raap left to work for the railroad. The mill was destroyed by another tornado in 1899; this time, however, the mill was not rebuilt, but rather “capped” and served the rest of its life as a grain storage space.
Henry Holstein's mill after it was hit by a second tornado in 1899, destroying the top of the windmill.
Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.