Friday, December 27, 2013

Edward and Viola

When the inspector was going through our future house, he told us that he thought the house was built in the 1910s or 1920s due to the thickness and style of the basement walls.  None of the documents that accompanied our house indicated an actual date.

Well, I got curious, so I went over to the La Crosse Public Library to the Archives to see if I could figure it out.  And wouldn't you know, David (the very helpful archivist) and I figured it out fairly quickly.

It seems that the best way to find out when a house was built, at least in La Crosse, is to determine when water lines were run to the lot.  Our lot got water on Oct. 23, 1923.  Now, in the Assessor's records for 1923, there was no valuation for a house on our lot, but David thought that because all the yearly records were handwritten, it didn't make it into the tax record that year.  It showed up in the 1924 records though.  In 1923, our lot was worth $275.  In 1924, our lot was worth $400, and our house was worth $4000.  We assume, then, that the house was built in late 1923 or early 1924.

In looking up these records, I also learned that a Mr. William Schroer originally owned our lot and the lot to the south of us.  It appears that in 1923 he built houses on both lots.  He continued to live in the house on the lot to our south, and sold our house to Mr. Edward J. Kreutz and his wife Viola R.

Because David is the curious type, and I was not disinterested, we looked in the city directory to learn more about the Kreutz household and their time in our house.  We pulled out directories for approximately every 10 years, beginning with 1924.

1924: Ed was an estimator for Segelke and Kohlhaus Manufacturing.
1934: Ed was an assistant estimator for S & K Mfg.
1943: Ed was promoted to vice president for S & K Mfg.
1953: Ed rose to president of S & K Mfg.
1963: Ed was a draftsman at North La Crosse Lumber
1970: Ed was still a draftsman at North La Crosse Lumber

We figure that Ed rose through the ranks to president, and then either retired (he was born in 1891, so he would have been 72) or the company folded, and he went to work at a less taxing job as a draftsman.  Viola's name was missing from the 1970 entry, and we learned that she died in 1967.  Ed was no longer listed in 1980, and we found that he died on November 10 (spooky!), 1974.  They are buried in the Catholic Cemetery with their daughter and son-in-law.

So, who moved in after the Kreutz's?

1980: Anthony Kromke, relief machine operator at Safeway Foods; Michelle Kromke, chief pharmacy technician at St. Francis Hospital.
1990: Carl Barnes, salesman at Frank's Liquor of La Crosse

And there we stopped.  We could have looked at shorter intervals or continued for more years, but I was getting hungry (it was way past my lunchtime), and I had found what I had come looking for.  I will probably go back another time and fill in some of the more recent gaps, but for now, I am delighted to know a bit about the early history of my house and the family who loved it so much as to live in it for 50 years.

1 comment:

Katherine Jochim said...

I love this! I feel inspired to look it up at our house!