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

Our 1930 Neighbors

I spent a little more time researching the Blasen family, whom it appears were the first owners of our bungalow. Their son Leo, who was 12 as of 1930, went on to marry and raise 10 children. It looks like they migrated to the western suburbs and retired to Florida. He has passed away, although it appears that some of his offspring are scattered around Chicagoland.

Since they only lived here a few years, I’m much less interested in them than the subsequent owners, the Milke’s, who lived here over 30 years.

Next I began to wonder if any of the neighbors had an interesting story.

There were Nels and Ruth Swanson, who lived next door with their three children. They immigrated at different times from Sweden, so it appears that they met in the States. Nels was a carpenter, which could turn out to be related to the construction of the bungalows.

Across the street, the beautiful yellow bungalow on the corner (hi Joe!) is the only one whose style differs from the others. Theirs has a side entrance, which is common for corner bungalows.

The Heppner family resided there. There was Fred Sr., 66, and Mary, 62, both of whom immigrated from Germany: Fred in 1882 and Mary in 1871. They were married in 1889. There were 4 children living there, aged 14-26.

I think there’s an interesting story behind the Heppners that I’d like to research further. For one thing, Fred’s occupation is gardener for a truck farm (a farm that produces vegetables for market). Two of the sons also are involved in agriculture, one as truck driver of vegetable boxes, and the other as laborer in a hot house.

Looking at the 1920 Census, turns out the Heppners lived nearby on a farm. I have a suspicion that the Heppners were getting ready to retire from farming and sold their farm, downsizing into the bungalow.

Further research shows that the Heppners had twelve children, which wasn’t uncommon for farmers. (Need workers? Have more children!)

According to an Ancestry.com record submitted by a user, Fred Heppner was really Friederick Hoeppner, and Mary was Maria. Hoeppner is another way to spell out Höppner, but the way it is pronounced in German could be anglicized into Heppner, more so than Hoppner. It’s not uncommon to see different spellings of names, whether it was changed at the point of entry to the U.S. by the immigration clerk, or by the individual.

There’s more to dig into regarding the Heppners, but so far the most fascinating story revolves around the middle bungalow in a row of three across the street. But it’s getting late, so I’m going to have to keep you in suspense for that one.

Stay tuned…


  1. Nicole on December 10, 2008 at 1:30 am

    This is cool. Waiting to see how it turns out.

    Yeah, census records are hardly infallible. I can’t tell you how many relatives I tracked down in spite of the botched names the census takers erroneously gave them. (Some years ago, I found out that census takers could get information from neighbors. Like some of them likely knew names, ages, and countries of origin!)

  2. southsideandy on December 10, 2008 at 11:25 am

    I’ve totally caught the House History bug from you, thank you very much! 😉

    I’ve got a whole lot more to dig up though, and no days off until after Christmas to head to the library downtown to do so…you’re lucky that you’re in a ‘burb — less to wade through, I suppose. I’m fearing what awaits me!

  3. Stephanie on December 10, 2008 at 11:57 am

    I just love reading through these posts as you learn more and more about the previous inhabitants of your house!!! 🙂

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