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

Who Was Here First?

With the realization that we are not the third owners of our bungalow as originally thought, but at least the fourth owners, it was time to discover who owned the bungalow prior to the Milke’s.

Based on additional newspaper articles, it appears that the Milke’s moved to Morton Grove at least by the summer of 1932, if not earlier.

This means that the original owners would have lived in the bungalow for only four years or less. I suppose there are myriad reasons why someone would move, but during those days I find this fact curious.

Back to the 1930 Census.

Through the stephenmorse.org website, I found the census listing for Morton Grove. Because it’s a small suburb, it did not have the search features available for cities with populations over 25,000.

I had no choice but to browse through its 49 pages. I skipped through, checking every five pages to see if I was in the vicinity. This sped up the process and I was able to find the appropriate page fairly quickly.

Of course, had I not known that our street name was changed, I would be looking for the wrong street and would have had a difficult time finding our house.

Finally, another suspicion was confirmed: our house number was changed as well, probably when the raised ranch on the corner was built in the early 1960s. Our house number just never made sense to me according to the lot order —— it seemed to skip a number —— but I still don’t understand why it needed to be changed.

Despite these differences, I’m certain that the house listed is ours because there are six bungalows in total on our block, and there are only six houses listed in the census. Except for ours, all the house numbers match.

So, who was the now-supposed original owner? A Mr. Herman R. Blasen, age 55, his wife Louise, age 45, and their son, Leo, age 12 (coincidentally the same name as the next owner, Leo Milke).

Some other statistics:

  • Home value: $10,500
  • Own a radio? Yes
  • Age at first marriage? Herman: 27; Louise: 17
  • Nationality? Herman: German; Louise: Canadian (English-speaking)
  • Occupation? Herman: Machinist, Steam Railroad; Louise: Baker, Cafeteria

Looking back at the 1920 Census, the Blasens had two older sons and a daughter, who presumably were married or on their own by the time Herman and Louise moved here.

In 1920, they were renting a place on the 4000 block of south Prairie in Chicago which is right on a railroad line. Perhaps they were able to buy the bungalow because Herman was transferred or promoted to work on the Milwaukee Road, less than a mile away from here? And maybe he was transferred to another railroad line after a few years when the Milke’s bought the house.

Whatever the reason, another piece of the puzzle has fallen into place.

2 Comments

  1. Nicole on December 9, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Loving the saga! I know how much work it is, but it’s rewarding.

  2. bungalowbliss on December 9, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    Fascinating!

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