A blog about the restoration, remodel and renovation of a 1929 Chicago-style brick bungalow

House History

After reading about Bungalow Insanity’s recent house history findings with the help of Dawn over at Bungalowcious, I decided to renew my efforts on our house history.

While I (jokingly) curse them for causing me to spend an entire weekend researching, I’m so glad I did it because I found some really interesting information, both about our house and our little neighborhood.

Before doing anything, I searched the name of the previous PO, Leo Milke. In previous attempts, I tried googling his name, among other queries, but came up with nothing.

According to the recent PO, it was believed that Mr. Milke was also the original owner. All we knew about him was that he was a butcher, but there was also some rumor that he may have been the builder of the six bungalows on our block. I’m not sure how that information came about, since that occupation doesn’t strike me as a big money-maker.

During the course of this new search, however, I came across a similar name which I thought MAY be a relative, perhaps even the son of this man (the son would now be 80-something).

I debated about what to do, and then I did it. I called this person. I spoke to his wife, explaining who I was. Turns out that Leo Milke was his uncle, but they had lost touch after Mr. Milke passed away in the ’60s.

They couldn’t tell me much, however I did find out that they had only one daughter whom they called “Peach”. They didn’t know what her married name was or what happened to her after that.

Nevertheless, it was a nice conversation, and at least I had a little more information than I had before.

Going back to Dawn’s process in finding information, the next thing I did was go to the stephenmorse.org website. I was able to find the Enumeration District (ED) for Morton Grove, but in order to view the 1930 census I had to have an ancestry.com subscription, or have access through a library’s subscription.

For these purposes, I decided to sign up for a 2-week trial subscription.

First I searched for more information on Leo Milke. I ended up finding the date of his death in 1965, which was probably when his widow sold the house to our previous owner. I was also able to find the name of their daughter (Muriel), and a few bits and pieces after that.

One significant piece of information was when I found several newspaper articles from the Cook County Herald, now The Daily Herald. This one was dated September 1, 1933:

Mr. Leo Milke, our popular butcher, invited about twenty friends to his home on ***** Avenue Saturday evening to give a surprise party on his wife, the occasion was the anniversary of Mrs. Milke’s birth. Needless to say, the guests had a delightful time dancing, playing cards, etc. until early Sunday morning. At midnight, supper was served with the usual offering of toasts to the hostess. The guests presented Mrs. Milke a beautiful table lamp while her husband gave her a huge bouquet of roses in the center of which nestled an envelope containing money. It was an altogether delightful party. The guests, on departing, wished Mrs. Milke many returns of the day.

Wow. That was some news, huh?

So, other than being a popular butcher and eating supper at midnight, what was significant about this article?

Our street name was originally a Native American word.

I had a suspicion that our street name may have been changed when a real estate friend helped me on an issue with our previous house (two doors down). A copy of the hand-drawn map showed this same Native American street name, however when I inquired about it at the Village they had no record of a name change.

This could be important when I get a chance to go downtown to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds and do more research.

More history to come, both on the house and those notorious speakeasies!

3 Comments

  1. Kathy on December 9, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    I did the two-week trial at ancestry.com a year or so ago when trying to find info on my paternal grandfather’s family. It was totally fascinating. Loved reading the census data and newspaper clips I found. Sounds like you’re doing a lot of work, but hope you’re having fun with it.

  2. Dawn on January 30, 2009 at 3:38 am

    Ancestry.com is one of those sites that is worth the price (and there are few pay sites I can say that about).

    If you need any help with your research, hit me up! 🙂

  3. Raymond Minkus on November 20, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    Apparently Mr. Milke sold Dickenson’s Dog Food at his shop circa 1948 per an ad found . . . Milke’s Finer Foods Morton Grove, 111. Phone 2020 No address was given.

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