October 30, 2018 at 8:01 am #2083Kathy HeckmanModerator
HISTORICAL HOMES OF
HISTORY OF HOMES
IN THE PORTAGE AREA
A project of the
PORTAGE COMMUNITY HISTORICAL SOCIETY, INC.
Copyright 1988, 1991, 2004, 2011, 2018
Portage Community Historical Society, Inc.
THE ANDREW ANDERSON HOUSE
5358 EVERGREEN AVENUE
Andrew Peter Anderson built this house in 1867.
It was originally a log cabin and is now covered with wood siding.
The kitchen and pantry were added later.
On February 6, 1864 Andrew Peter Anderson, his wife Johanna (Gustafson) and four children: Augusta (Albert Adams), Annie (Albert Adams after she died he married her sister) Charles and Herman, sailed from Sweden for the USA.
The crossing took nine weeks. The boat docked in Quebec
and they traveled to Chicago by train.
After visiting friends on the north side of Chicago, they came to Hobart on the Pennsy Railroad. They settled on a farm, which they rented, in Lake Station in 1865. Here a fifth child was born, Oscar, but he only lived a few days. During this time, Mr. Anderson worked cutting wood for the Michigan Central Railroad. Subsequently, the family moved to Willowcreek Crossing (Portage). After the family settled in at the Evergreen location, four more sons were born: Frank, Otto, Fred and Edward (Amelia Lenburg).
On April 14, 1865, when the train carrying the body of President Lincoln passed through Lake Station, Mr. Anderson and daughter Clara were there to view the body. Fred and Edward lived in the homestead until they died in 1952 and 1960 respectively. Edward was secretary of the Portage Home Telephone Company and was a township trustee. The home is still owned by the Anderson family.
THE NELS ANDERSON HOUSE
5481 STONE AVENUE
George Jenkins owned this land before selling it to Peter Manson. In 1875 Mr. Manson built the house and lived in it until 1900 when he sold it to Nels Anderson. Mr. Anderson came to Chicago from Sweden and then moved to Portage. Nels was married to Amanda Johnson and they had 4 children: Edith A. (Roy Keammerer), Elmer E. (Leona Bliss Spencer), Walter Malcolm (Marjorie) and Lawrence. Nels and family lived in the house until 1927. His son, Walter, then acquired the house through family distribution. Since Walter had his own house, it was rented out until 1946. Walter’s daughter Helen and son-in-law Roy Brosmer then moved into the family home. Helen Anderson Brosmer graduated from Portage High School in 1944 and was a cheerleader. Roy Brosmer, son of Helen, has lived there since the death of his mother. It is located at the end of Anderson Street off Stone Avenue and may have a different house address.
Update summer 2018: house was torn down and the barn burned down a few years ago.
THE LEVI BAY HOUSE
659 W COUNTY ROAD 700 N
This house was built in the early 1900’s by Levi Bay. He was married to Margaret Hammond and one known son, Lowell Clyde Bay. It was then sold to John Kruse who operated Arvilla Dairy from there in the 1930’s and 1940’s. John Kruse sold it to Edwin Leininger in 1947. Edwin’s son, Guy and his wife Myrna bought it in the late 1960’s. Myrna sold it in 1996 to a developer who tore down the barn and chicken house to build houses on the 60 acres.
THE CONRAD BENDER HOUSE
3151 SWANSON ROAD
In 1893 Conrad and Emma (Suhr) Bender moved into their new home. Their farm contained 175 acres. Conrad and Emma raised eight children in this home: Edward Frederick, John H., Martha Ann (William E. Lute), Ida, Bertha A., Albert C., Frank Joseph (Frances M. Schmitt) and Walter F. (#1 Mae Lenburg, #2 Elizabeth B. Paisley). Mr. and Mrs. Bender moved to Hobart in 1915. During World War I, the farm was rented out. After the war was over, Frank and Albert resided in the home and farmed the land. Frank married in 1922 and he and his wife Frances had five children: Frank Jr. (Gloria), Mary (George Cushman), Marguerite (Raymond Richards), Ruth Ann and John. They lived in the house until about 1957.
Mr. and Mrs. John Hutchins sold the house in 1999 to the Real Life Nazarene Church across the road to build a school. The church tried to sell the house and move it to another site. Unable to sell the house it was torn down in 2004.
THE FRANKLIN BLAKE HOUSE
5860 CENTRAL AVENUE
This was the home of Edgar and Florence Douglas purchased on July 13, 1948 from Henry Beier. It is a two-acre parcel that was once a part of the forty-acre homestead belonging to Franklin and Lucy A. (Cleveland) Blake in 1848.
Mr. and Mrs. Douglas lived there until their deaths and then the house was sold to the Chavez family.
It is not known how old the house is, but it is believed to have been
built by the Blakes c. 1840’s. Upon the death of Franklin in 1891, the property went to his wife and grown children: Lucetta (Valentin Fabian), Martha (Frank Purviance), Cynthia (Jacob Lenburg), Anna Blake, Ida (William Isby) and Burton A. (Lillian Beaubien) Blake. In 1892, Cynthia Lenburg became the sole owner. In 1915, the forty-acre parcel was sold to Louis Grkovich, who, the same day, sold 12.75 acres to John Green. When both Grkovich and Green defaulted on their mortgages, Leonard Crisman bought Green’s 12.75-acre parcel at a sheriff’s sale. In 1938, the Bruszewski family purchased it. In 1943, Henry Beier purchased two acres from Bruszewski.
THE PERRY BLAKE HOUSE
5472 CENTRAL AVENUE
Perry Blake received a land grant in 1846, he owned 40 acres.
Upon his death in 1906 the land was deeded to his son, Darius Perry (D. P.) Blake and his wife Mary Ellen (Seberger). Portions of the 40 acres were sold over the years. One portion was sold to his daughter Effie E. and her husband Lawrence H. Scofield in 1933. When Darius died in August of 1933, his son Otto was executor of his estate. In 1941 the Scofields sold a lot to Herman and Gladys Holtz and they built the present house in 1942. The Holtz’s owned it until 1946 when they sold it to Hazel Wahner. She sold it in 1947 to Roy and Audra Young. They sold it in 1948 to the Miletz family who lived there until 1959 when Evelyn Roach bought it. She resided there until 2001 when she sold it to Sandra Schmitt who resides there now.
THE BONHAM HOUSE
The Lloyd family who sold it in 1915 to Millanders originally owned this house. Mary, Charles and Rob Bonham then bought it. Rob sold it to Glenn Bonham. After Glenn died, his widow, Lillian (McCorkel), remained there until her death in 1985. It then went to their three children: Norma (Elwin E.Biggs), Mildred (Sidney Hawkinson) and Robert Bonham. They sold it in December 1989.
THE HELMER BRANDT HOUSE
5630 CENTRAL AVENUE
Helmer Brandt built the house at the corner of Central Avenue and Swanson in 1914. Mr. Brandt came to America from Sweden and settled in the Portage area. Helmer and his wife Anna Dorothy (Mickalitis) were parents of two sons, Howard Paul and Fred Helmer (Elizabeth Iatrola) and two daughters, Winifred (George Nelson) and Hildora. Hildora Brandt died in her early 20’s possibly from leukemia. The Brandt family lived in the house 59 years.
Update from current owner:
The Helmer Brandt house was built in 1914. The house had an outhouse, which still stands. The Nelson household that lives on Swanson Road owns the outhouse. In 1946, the Brandt family converted the back screened in porch into a bathroom. After Mr. Brandt died in 1974, the house was sold to the Drake Family. The Drake Family had the house from 1974 to 1980. During that time the Drake family built a closet sink with toilet in the back bedroom upstairs. The Drake Family sold the property to the Allen Family. The Allen Family used the house as AAA Properties and rented the other half as a Floral Shop. The Allen Family sold all the remaining land to the Nelsons. New owners recently updated the house and the above picture was taken in 2011.
THE VICTOR BRANDT HOUSE
2777 BRANDT STEET
Victor Brandt built the house about 1918. Mr. Brandt came to America from Sweden early 1900’s. His mother, Johanna Brandt, lived in the house with him until her death in 1925. What appears to be the front of the house faces Willowdale Road but the address is on the back of the house on Brandt Street. Brandt Street didn’t exist at the time the home was built.
Victor Brandt died July 16, 1959. No further history is known about the house.
Ken & Zelba Miller and their 4 children moved into the Brandt house in the fall of 1975…..fifth child would be born in 1979 and they lived there 28 years selling the home in 2013.
They purchased the house from the Laingren family, mother’s name was Helen. The Laingren’s had numerous foster children and occasionally the Miller’s would get a knock on the door from a young adult who had lived there wanted to connect with the Laingren’s.
The house had a fire in the early 70’s and the interior and was burned but the house was saved. Following the fire it was a “talked about” house of the firefighters in Portage area because of it’s construction. It was constructed, framed, in a style called balloon construction, long 2X4 exterior walls extending from the sill base up through the second floor. The fire started in the basement and quickly spread up the exterior walls engulfing the house but was saved by the Portage Fire Department and other Departments that assisted.
The home, remodeled after the fire had high quality gray barn siding type paneling throughout the home, downstairs and upstairs….which was painted a variety of colors while the Miller’s lived there.
The basement had large hand hewn beams. It is thought that the basement was dug out after construction because the steps to the basement were on the back of the house in an “add on” manner to the back of the house. The house sat on four narrow city lots..
The neighbor across the street, Brandt Street, was Howard Brandt. He referred to the house as his uncle’s home. Howard’s brother, Fred, owned and operated the Brandt Hardware on Central Ave for many years. Updated October 2018.
THE WILLIAM A. BRIGGS HOUSE
6207 FEDERAL AVENUE
This was the home of William Albert Briggs. Mr. Briggs came to this area from Edwards County, Illinois in 1894.
In 1895, he married Rosa Lambert and they resided at 6193 Federal Avenue. By 1901, their family had grown to four children: Loyd Albert (Doris Easton), Eva Rose (Herbert G. Schlutz), Harold Victor (Lillian Vetterly) and Gladys Viola (Frank J. Lennartz), so they decided they needed a larger house. The new house was right next door. In the following years, six more children were born: Carl Everett (Gertrude Baring), Orren Leslie (Charlotte Noble), Vera Alice (Rees L. Phillips), Urbin Gilbert (Rose Scholobohm), Irma Grace (Rex Young) and Hazel May (Wayne L. Bradford).
William Briggs resided in the house until his death
in 1958, his wife died in 1953.
The house was then sold to Henry Godby.
Mr. Briggs was a schoolteacher for 27 years and was the first principal of Crisman High School.
THE HARTWIG BUHMAN HOUSE
COUNTY ROAD 500 N
John Hartwig Buhman came from Germany to work for Josephus Wolf as a herdsman. He returned to Germany, married Katherine Neelson, and they came back to America. Mr. Wolf set them up in housekeeping here in the late 1880’s. Katherine worked for the Wolfs as household help. The Buhmans had four children: Emil (Delma Nicholson), Alfred, Edward and Lena (Elmer Kuhrts). The barn was built in 1910 when Lena was nine years old. Katherine made all the pies and cakes for the 25 or 30 men who stayed on the property, living in tents, while they built the barn. The Buhmans moved to Hobart in 1928 and rented the house out. After Hartwig Buhman died in 1936, the house and farm were sold. Two of the owners have been Ben Gloyeske and Warren Greer.
THE LEONARD CRISMAN HOUSE
This house was originally located on Willowcreek Road. It was moved in 1974 when the land was sold to Vern Engel to build a funeral home. In 1895 Leonard Crisman Sr. who raised his son Leonard Jr., in the home, bought the property. Leonard Jr. went into military service in 1943 and the family moved to Valparaiso. The property was still owned by the Crisman family until 1973 when it was purchased by Don Coker who later sold the land to Vern Engel. The house was moved by the Nazarene Church. It was a home for wayward boys from about 1976 to 1978. It changed owners several times since then.
THE MILTON CRISMAN HOME
Henry Garrett Slanger
Central and Willowcreek
This home is no longer standing. It was located across from what is now Willowcreek Middle School on the southeast corner of Willowcreek and Central. Milton Crisman owned 120 acres on all four corners of what now is Willowcreek and Central Avenue. In the 1921 Atlas of the township the land on the east of Willowcreek belonged to Henry Garrett Slanger consisting of 80 acres. It was known as Slanger’s Corner. Early Portage residents can recall when the new high school was built (now the middle school) one could watch Mr. Slanger’s cows grazing the field across the street from the high school. Henry Garrett and his wife Lillian W. (Foreman) had four children: Viola G. (#1 George F. Schlobohm, #2 Wilfred H. Foreman), Garrett William (Helen Knauff), Arthur W. (Gladys Ditsler) and Walter W. (Norma Lou Barth).
The Slanger brothers donated some of their land to the city in the 1950’s to build the police station, post office, fire department and city hall. The Slanger Corners are now developed with businesses.
The people pictured are most likely Crisman family members because it looks to be late 1800’s. Milton Henry and wife Sarah Elsie (Fifield) raised four children: Raymond (Mary Etta Miles), Ross Milton (Emma E. Wilson), Leonard Henry Sr. (Hattie Baring), Jessie Grace (George Lute) and
Verna Elizabeth who died at the age of 4 years.
THE MORTON CRISMAN HOME
2140 CRISMAN ROAD
Morton Crisman built the house in the early 1900’s for his second wife, Minnie Grimmer, whom he married on July 21, 1908. Lillian Nicholson Dahlin says that when she married William “Roy” Dahlin in 1925, they lived upstairs in the house, renting it from Morton Crisman for 2 years. David and Marilyn Rowzee now own the house. They purchased it about 1969. Marilyn is the third cousin to Morton Crisman. They remodeled it and rent it out as two apartments.
THE ROSS CRISMAN HOUSE
644 N COUNTY ROAD 500 W
In 1902, Ross and Emma (Wilson) Crisman purchased the fifty-five acre farm from Charles Arnold. Mr. Arnold had purchased the land from the U.S. Government and was the only previous owner. The home was too old and too small to raise the family they had planned, so in 1907, they rebuilt the house that is still standing. The barn had been replaced in 1904 and lasted until 1935 when it was struck by lightening and burned to the ground.
The present barn was built the same year.
Ross and Emma raised their family: Vera, Harold (Mary Greenlea), Bess (Walter Carlson) and Milton in this home and lived there until their deaths in 1940. In the meantime, Bess married Walter Carlson and after the deaths of her parents, she and Walter moved into the home. They had three children: Milton, James and Sandra. Walter died in 1984 and Bess continued to live there until her death in 2000.
THE BEN CRISMAN HOUSE
2206 CRISMAN ROAD
Benjamin Crisman built this house in 1884. It was later owned and rented out by Mort Crisman. In 1937, Arthur Nelson and family bought it for $750 and it is still owned by them. People in the picture are (left to right) unknown tower man at Willowcreek station, Rose Hamas Toering, Mrs. Graham and Hannah Crisman, who was Mort Crisman’s stepmother.
Here is a recent photo of the same house.
THE LEONARD CRISMAN HOUSE
ANDREW VOLK HOUSE
5843 CENTRAL AVENUE
The Andrew Volk family purchased this home in 1922 from Leonard Crisman. It was only a 2-room house at the time. Mr. Volk enlarged the house to its present size. The house was still owned by the Volk family and their daughter Helen resided there until recently. It was purchased by the Bonner Senior Center and plans are made to tear it down to make room for a new road back to the Bonner Senior Center.
THE DOMBEY HOUSE
5340 CENTRAL AVENUE
This house was a log cabin in its early years. In the Porter County Atlas of 1876 N. Magnuson owned the property. The atlas shows a house on the property in 1876. In 1873, Minnie Johnson Moore was born here so the house was built sometime before that. In 1895, Christ Dombey and family owned the land. Laura Dombey Sabinske was born in the house in 1887. Mr. Jones, who owns the property at the present time, believes it could have been a trading post at one time because there are hooks on the roof beams in the attic, which could have been used to hang animal pelts. Mr. Jones purchased the property in 1972 from Myra Thompson.
THE EUGENE FIFIELD HOUSE
6741 CENTRAL AVENUE
This house was the home of Clarence Eugene and Sarah Margaret
“Maggie” (Wise) Fifield.
There was an existing house there that had been the home of Benjamin and Magdelena (Lannah) Fifield pioneer settlers of this township. In 1915, it was torn down and the present house was built. Eugene and Maggie lived there with their son John. John W. Fifield raised Percheron horses. Eugene had a unique butter churn in the barn. A running dog powered it. Eugene died in 1928 and Maggie lived there until her death in 1939. During the 1940’s the Cooley family rented the house. The house recently burned down and the land is vacant.
THE WILHELM FOREMAN HOUSE
6311 LUTE ROAD
Bible verses are imprinted throughout the foundation of this house. It was built in 1919 for Wilhelm (William) and Wihelmina “Minnie” (Frasa) Foreman. They moved from the farmhouse across the road, leaving it occupied by their son Wilford Foreman. William died in 1924 and Minnie died in 1922. Their daughter, Grace, married George Ditzler in 1923 and they resided in the home until 1950, when it was sold to Boyd and Velma Ostroot.
THE WILHELM FORMAN HOUSE
6310 LUTE ROAD
This house was most likely built by Wilhelm Foreman and his wife, Wilhelmina “Minnie” (Frasa), in the late 1800’s. Wilhelm Foreman came from Prussia (Germany). According to the 1895 Porter County Atlas, Mr. Foreman owned the land at that time. They lived here until 1918 when they moved into the house across the road. His son, Wilfred and Wilfred’s wife, Lydia (Behrens) lived there all their married life except for a short time when they lived in Des Plaines, Illinois. After Lydia’s death in 1958, Wilfred and Lydia’s son, William and his wife Betty (Kuhrts) lived there until they sold the house in the 1970’s. Robert Busch presently owns the house.
THE JOHN GOTTLIEB HOUSE
521 W COUNTY ROAD 700 N
J. Spencer who, according to the Standard Atlas of Porter County, owned the property in 1906 built this house sometime in the early 1900’s. John Gottlieb bought it between 1906 and 1920. His son Arthur, who died in 1985, later owned it. Arthur’s widow, Ellen, sold it to his brother Ervin Gottlieb. It is still owned by the Gottlieb family.
THE FREDERICK KRIEGER HOUSE
CHARLES AND ETTA (KRIEGER) HAMSTROM
2433 HAMSTROM ROAD
Frederick Krieger came to the United States from Mecklenburg Germany around 1850. On Oct 17, 1857, he purchased 80 acres on the East side of what is now Hamstrom Road. Shortly after, he built the house at 2433 Hamstrom Road. The property was originally a land grant signed by President Franklin Pierce on March 1, 1854. Krieger descendants have always lived in the home. When his daughter Etta was just a little girl, her father went to the Civil War. At the age of six, Etta fell from a swing and she remained crippled.
Etta’s father, Frederick, left her the house in his will so she
would always have a home. He died in 1903.
Etta Krieger married Charles Hamstrom in 1899 and they had a son Carl and a daughter Ena, who married William Pope. Carl married Evelyn Samuelson and they lived in the house until their deaths. They had two children; Norman (Margaret Mischler) and Doretta (James A Swinson). Carl died in 1976 and Evelyn died in 1995. Carl and Evelyn’s son, Norman Hamstrom, built a home for his family on a parcel of the original farm.
During the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, Carl Hamstrom served as Portage Township Trustee for eight years. His office was located in the home. For many years, the Porter County highway department was housed in a garage on the property. The house has seen many births and deaths and has served as a meeting place for neighborhood activities. Early residents had many fond memories of parties and dances held at the house.
Submitted by the Hamstrom and Swinson families
THE ALFRED HAWKINSON HOUSE
6381 OLD PORTER ROAD
This home was built for Alfred and Mabel (Nicholson) Hawkinson by Victor Charlson in 1911. Mr. Hawkinson came from Sweden with his parents when he was 11 years old. They lived in Grand Rapids Michigan for a few years before settling in Portage. The Hawkinsons had three sons: Ivan, and twins Glen and Sidney. When Alfred and Mabel died, Donna and Robert Mullen occupied the home from about 1968 to 1976. Donna was the granddaughter of Alfred and Mable Hawkinson. Since then, the house has been sold two or three times.
THE GEORGE HAXTON HOUSE
623 N COUNTY ROAD 700 N
This house was most likely built between 1918 and 1920 by George and Laura (Clifford) Haxton. It was occupied for a time by his son, Daniel and his wife Clara (Rosenbaum) Haxton. According to the 1921 Porter County Atlas, it was called Maple Row Dairy Farm. In 1938 it was sold to Lew Miller. Lew’s son, Roland and his wife Rena, lived there until their deaths. Their son, Jack Miller, sold it to Larry and Elaine Greer.
THE WILLIAM ISBEY HOUSE
5588 CENTRAL AVENUE
According to the Porter County Atlas of 1876, Andrew Isbey who came from Sweden owned the property. He married in 1885 to Ida Blake and they had three daughters: Ethel Grace married to Fred Dombey, Mabel Louise married to Theodore F. Kraft and Edith Mae married to William W. Kraft. Theodore and William Kraft were brothers. After William Isbey died in 1937, Ida lived there by herself until she became ill. Their daughter, Edith and her husband William Kraft moved in to take care of Ida until her death in 1945. They stayed in the house until Edith’s death in 1981. The house is still owned by the Kraft family.
THE RUDOLPH JANNASCH HOUSE
6315 PORTAGE AVENUE
Rudolph Jannasch owned this house. He was married to Lillian O. Samuelson and they had three sons: Warren, Clifford and Carroll.
Carroll Jannasch was killed in a motorcycle accident at the age of 18.
The house was at one time a B & O Railroad boarding house. No more information was available on the Jannasch house.
THE CLAUS JOHNSON HOUSE
5568 STONE AVENUE
This house was first owned by Herman Swanson and moved to its present location from further east on Stone where the Swanson house is now.
Claus Johnson purchased it and he moved his
family there sometime after 1912.
Claus and Elvira Johnson had 3 children: Rudy, Clarence and Violet. Violet was married to Howard Mascher and they resided in Lake Station.
In 1945 they sold the home to Earl Strain and the Strain family still owns it.
THE SWAN JOHNSON HOUSE
2765 COUNTY LINE ROAD
When Swan Johnson purchased this land from Mr. Sackerson in 1911 there was an old house on it. He tore it down and built the present house about 1915. Swan and his wife Mathilda had seven children: John, Minnie, Simon and David (twins), Nancy, Anna and Nettie.
Swan and Mathilda both died in 1932 and their oldest daughter Minnie and her husband Edward Moore inherited the house. They continued to live in the house until their deaths, Minnie in 1949 and Edward in 1958. Their daughter Mabel (Moore) Taylor inherited the home and it was rented for a few years. In 1963 she sold the home to Thomas Heck and they have remodeled the house and are currently residing there.
THE ROY P. KEAMMERER HOUSE
5759 STONE AVENUE
Roy P. and Edith (Anderson) Keammerer were already residing in Portage when they purchased this home in 1916. Mr. and Mrs. Keammerer and their son, Norman, resided in the house from New Year’s Day 1917 until 1964. The house was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Donald O’Brien in 1964 and they are still living there.
THE CHRISTIAN J. KIMMEL HOUSE
6176 PORTAGE AVENUE
This house is believed to have been built in the late 1880’s. William Rectenwall built the house in 1887 and lived there until it was sold to Christian J. and Amalie (Klein) Kimmel on November 5, 1898. The Kimmel family lived at the residence for 78 years. They had 9 children: Lillian (August Heyerman), Walter (Jennie Mahns), Christian W., Carrie (—– Baker), Theresa (—- Koch), Fred (Lynda—–), Henry Rudolph, Minnie (Charles Larson) and Theodore. Theodore (Ted) married Lillian “Lillie” Foreman and owned the house from 1932 to 1969 when their son Ronald took ownership. Richard Smith purchased it in 1976.
THE FREDERICK KOEPPEN HOUSE
5099 STONE AVENUE
This house is the Koeppen family homestead. The original home was a log cabin situated 100-150 feet south-southeast of the present brick home.
The two-story was built in the 1880’s.
Frederick Koeppen came from Germany to Chicago. In 1874 he married Dorothea Thiede and they moved to Portage in 1875 and purchased the farm. Dorothea died in 1877, shortly after their daughter Emma was born.
In March 1878, Mr. Koeppen married Henrietta Eich and they had four children: Charles, John, Alvina and Albert. It was family practice for the oldest son to locate on the family land to farm it for a few years to get a start in life. Then the next son did the same. Albert, the youngest son, and wife Laura (Thune) moved to the farm in 1919 and he had partially
retired when he died in 1958.
His daughter, Ruth, who married Harold H. Swanson, continued
to live in the house until 1982 when she sold it to
Linda and Ed Puckett.
The bricks for the house were hauled by the family from a brickyard located at Garden City near Tenth Street and County Line Road. The house was terra cotta lined, giving good insulation in days when that was unheard of. In the early 1950’s when young people were building new homes, some of the acreage was sold to developers, leaving only 19 acres.
THE DANIEL KRAFT HOME
5735 LUTE ROAD
Daniel Kraft came to the area about 1869. According to the Porter County Atlas, Daniel owned the property in 1876. There was a house on the property then. The present house was built in 1895. Daniel lived there with his family until 1921 when he and his wife Elizabeth (Bommersheim)
moved to Hobart. They raised a large family of 12 children: Caroline (Emil Grieger), Maggie (Steve Byers), Mary, Daniel Jr. (Ada F. —-), Theodore (Mable Isbey), Amelia, Laura, Lawrence (Alvina —-), Joseph, William (Edith Mae Isbey), Edward A. (Thelma R. Fitzgerald) and Martin C. (Lucille Warner).
Their son, Martin and his wife, Lucille (Warner), lived in the house until 1936 when they moved to Wheeler. The house was rented from 1936-1940. George Stokes lived there from 1940-1944. The farm was sold in 1944 to a man from Valparaiso. Then in 1955, Harold Swanson bought it. Later he sold it to a developer named Lazerwitz who rented it out. The house is no longer standing.
THE FREDERICK KRAFT HOUSE
CORNER OF COUNTY LINE ROAD AND 700 N
Frederick Kraft built the house in 1901. He was born in Lansing, Illinois in 1853. Frederick and his wife Eliza had ten children, four of whom lived. Fred, John, Nettie and Bertha lived in the home all their lives, first in the old house then in this one. Frederick died in 1943 and the last of his children in 1975. Frederick’s grandson, Frank Kraft Jr. owned the house until his death in 1989. Currently, Frank and Mary’s son Conrad Kraft lives in the home with his wife Tammy and son Jonathan.
THE JOHN KUEHL HOUSE
655 N COUNTY ROAD 625 W
This house was built in 1903 by John W. Kuehl and his wife Katie (Wise). All the lumber for it was taken from the woods across the road and sawed at Richmond’s sawmill in Wheeler. The pieces for the woodwork were taken to Chesterton to be planed. John’s son, John Louis Kuehl, owned it until his death in 1947. His wife Anna (Pearce) Kuehl sold it to Ervin Gottlieb when she moved to Hobart with her son Robert Kuehl. John Louis and Anna Kuehl’s daughter, Anna Elizabeth, married Arthur Huffman and they resided across the road from the Kuehl farm. The Gottliebs moved into the house in 1948. The property is still owned by the Gottlieb family although the house is no longer standing.
THE JOHN NICK LAHAYNE HOUSE
7421 LENBURG ROAD
John Nick LaHayne built this house in 1906. John and his wife, Blanche (Gustafson), were the parents of four children, John A. (Grace—-), Eldon, Margaret (Lewis H. Lenburg) and Viola (Thomas R. Walstra). John LaHayne moved his family to Valparaiso for a time and his father, Charles, lived in the house. When the family moved back to the farm and into the house, Charles moved into a house in Crocker. Charles and his brother Fred had laid out the town of LaHayne that became Crocker in 1893.
2011 update from Paul and Geri Bykowski: They purchased the home from John and Kathy Hill in September 2000, they moved into the home and the following September 2001 they had an extensive house fire. The house on the inside has been restored and our vision (without having any pictures of what it looked like when it was first built) restored it to what hopefully, looked very much like the original.
THE JACOB LENBURG HOUSE
6496 CENTRAL AVENUE
This lovely old home was built in 1874 by Jacob Don and Anna (Rohwedder) Lenburg. There was an older house on the property that was torn down after the new one was completed. Jacob and Anna were married on March 28, 1856. They had seven children: John (Augusta Kappleman), James (Helena Weitzel), Lewis (Anna Thoeming), Don A. (Elizabeth Kuhl), Ernestine (Albert Tofte), Minnie (Charles Benke and Albert Tofte) and Alvina (John Ohlfest). There is a family story that when Jacob was building the house he purposely built it at the end of what is now Airport Road and Central Avenue so they could never make Airport Road go through his land.
Franklin and Doris Dunlap who have it for sale at the present time presently own the house. Update: the house did sell in recent years.
THE DONALD LENBURG HOUSE
2876 AIRPORT ROAD
Jacob and Anna Lenburg built this house in 1899. Their son, Don Alonzo Lenburg and his wife Elizabeth (Kuhl) resided there and raised four children: Elmer Alonzo (Dorthea Schrock), Donald F. (Alvina M. Jentzen), Rose (Arthur Foreman) and Henry W. who died at age 13. When World War I ended, Donald came home, married Alvina Jentzen and moved into this house. His parents, Don and Lizzie, built the house across the street and resided there the rest of their days. This home was then owned by Evelyn (Foreman) and husband Otis Wade Susdorf, she was the daughter of Rose (Lenburg) and Arthur Foreman, who rented it out.
THE FRANK LINDQUIST HOUSE
6255 PORTAGE AVENUE
Frank and Hilda (Rossell) Lindquist purchase this home from H. D. Scofield for $300.00 about 1890. It is pictured here after remodeling. The present house was built to replace the original home after it was lost to fire. Frank and Hilda had five children: Rose (Howard Garrison), Edith (Ray Wilson), Esther (Elzie Brooks), Russell (Ruth Gardener) and Carl Arthur (Elfie Nicholson). Frank and Hilda both came from Sweden but met here in Portage. Their daughter, Rose and husband Howard Garrison resided there until their deaths in 2003 and 2002 respectively.
THE GEORGE LUTE HOUSE
6135 LUTE ROAD
George Henry and Grace (Crisman) Lute had this farmhouse built by carpenters about 1910 and it was completed in 1911. This replaced a smaller house that they had torn down. Their land had a lot of popular trees that were cut down and taken by George on a horse drawn wagon to Richmond’s in Wheeler to be cut into lumber for the house. The woodwork inside the house is also made from the popular trees on their land. The north wall foundation in the basement is from the old house and the 1910 foundation was added to the old foundation for the new house.
George and Grace had four children: Benjamin (Maycel Orwig), Raymond Eugene (Edna Gruel), Howard (#1 Mary A. Angle; he married 2 more times after Mary died in 1944) and Verna (Elmer Schroeder).
George’s father was William Henry Lute, born in Germany, who originally had a farm on Lute Road.
George and Grace moved across the road to a smaller house and their sons Raymond and Howard continued to farm the land.
Howard’s son, David Lute and his wife Janice (Shook) next owned the house.
A lifelong Porter County resident, Dave and his wife raised their family in Dave’s family homestead.
Jan Shook Lute wife of David Lute now occupies the home.
THE GEORGE AND GRACE LUTE HOUSE
6120 LUTE ROAD
After moving from their farmhouse George Henry and Grace (Crisman) Lute lived across the street in this smaller house. Their sons Raymond and Howard Lute took over the farming. George died in 1974 and Grace died in 1962.
An aerial view of the two homes.
RAYMOND LUTE FARM
The Raymond Lute farm, son of George and Grace (Crisman) Lute, was located on what is now the corner of Willowcreek Road and Lute Road. At that time Willowcreek ended at the Lute Farm. Raymond bought it in 1935 and farmed the land. The barn was built in 1940. At some time the barn became a restaurant and bar and burned down early 1970’s. It was thought that vandals started the fire.
Early residents can remember the barn dances held at Lute barn.
There are now apartment complexes on the land. The dirt road is now 4 lanes of Willowcreek Road.
THE FREDERICK MAHNS HOUSE
1919 CRISMAN ROAD
Frederick Mahns built this house. Previously, he resided with his parents and siblings in Hammond. He worked for the Michigan Central railroad at the Willowcreek station. Born in Germany in the town of Mecklenburg in 1870, he came to this country in the 1880’s. In 1890, he married Augusta Krieger of Furnessville. They raised three sons in the house: Rudolph (Grace Grieger), Clarence (Grace Robinson) and Edward (Luella Thompson). Frederick continued to work on the railroad until 1937 when he retired. Frederick and Augusta resided here until their deaths in 1954 and 1951 respectively. Their son, Edward Mahns and family, lived in the home until 1969 when the house was sold, first to an antique dealer, second to a carpenter and is now owned by Judith Olson.
THE WILLIAM MCCOOL HOUSE
7106 LENBURG ROAD
According to the Porter County Atlas, William McCool owned the
property in 1876. He was a pioneer settler of the township. He and his wife Cyrena (Sterling) raised 7 children: Eli, Cecelia (S. B. Kent), Isaac,
Thomas W. (Frances Watson), William (Marietta), John W (Emma Watson) and Mary (George Clineman).
The house was the scene of the wedding in 1854 of
Lena Sphuler and Benjamin Fifield. The present owner is Dale Fadely
THE NELS NICHOLSON HOUSE
2041 CRISMAN ROAD
Nels Nicholson bought this home from Benjamin Crisman in 1891. The house was estimated to have been fifty years old when he purchased it. Mr. Nicholson lived there until he died in 1941. Frank Nicholson inherited the house and moved there until 1946. At that time his nephew, Glenn Hawkinson, bought the home and resided there until his death in 2000. It was the oldest still standing house in Portage. The house has since been torn down.
History on the Benjamin Crisman home was in the Post Tribune Thursday,
May 1, 1969 stating:
Venerable Dwelling – this house, erected in 1848 on Crisman Road, replaced a log cabin house and is believed to be the oldest building in Portage. Except for different siding, an air conditioner and a few frills, the exterior remains as it was when built by Benjamin G. Crisman a Portage Pioneer.
Crisman family tradition has a story that when Benjamin was digging for a new home for his wife, Elizabeth (Baughman), closer to where Route 20 and Crisman Road now are, she came back from visiting relatives and told him to fill it in she couldn’t live so close to the busy buggy traffic on that road. So he built the house down a ways to please her. Story also has it that they were part of the Underground Railroad.
THE ERIK NORDIN HOUSE
The house was moved from a place called “The Sand Knobs” on Old Stagecoach Road where it had been a way station for stages going from Detroit to Chicago. The house was moved in 1837 to the present location. When it was moved, it was a two-room log cabin constructed with wooden pegs instead of nails. These walls are still intact, though covered with siding. The old floor joints can be seen in the cellar. It was the home of Erik and Charlotte Nordin until their deaths in 1958 and 1964 respectively. Their daughter Astrid and her husband Wallace Anderson lived in the house a few years until they built a house next door. Then their daughter Cynthia and her husband Nick Stankovic lived there in the 1970’s. The family later sold it to Dan and Karen Wheeler who reside there now.
THE MATTHEW PARKS HOUSE
775 N COUNTY ROAD 500W
This house has hand-sewn beams supporting the kitchen and was most likely built around 1900 or before by Matthew Parks. It was then sold to C. A. Bonner. The Bonners rented it out to Mr. and Mrs. William Ditsler and also to Helen and Lester Bell. When the Bells lived there during the 1940’s, there was no running water in the house. The Bells moved to Union Township in 1946 and the Hatala family bought the farm. Mike and Irene Hatala lived there until they built a new home across the road in the 1970’s.
THE PETERSON/KILLION HOUSE
3010 SWANSON ROAD
In 1896 C. J. Peterson owned this land. Mr. Peterson owned 40 acres on each side of Swanson Road. The previous house was torn down and the present home was built in 1913. Mr. and Mrs. Albert Balas from the John Killion estate bought it in 1947. Mrs. Balas still resides there. There is a shed on the property that has the date of 1876 on it. There is also an outhouse that was still used up to a few years ago.
THE WILLIS PRYOR HOUSE
5148 CENTRAL AVENUE
This is the only house in our register that was not built before 1920. We wanted to include it because of its uniqueness. It was built for Willis and Yvonne Pryor in 1936. It is unique because the outside of the house is zinc and it is of modern design. Mr. and Mrs. Pryor moved to Portage from Chicago, where Mrs. Pryor was an artist. She was a member of the Chicago Art Institute until her death in 1977 at the age of 92. They had an herb farm on the property for many years. After Mrs. Pryor’s death, Bess Bennell owned the home. She lived there ten years. Tim Hill presently owns it. Originally, their property went from Peach Street to Willowcreek Road and was bought from the Piatt family.
THE FRITZ RAMPKE HOUSE
631 N COUNTY ROAD 625 W
John Curtis who died November 12, 1865 owned a portion of this parcel of land. His heirs owned it until Lora Crull bought it in June of 1910. In November 1916, Lora Crull bought the other portion of land from Jacob Kamer. She sold the property to Fritz Rampke in December 1916. In 1917 Mr. Rampke built the house that is now standing. Mr. Rampke moved to Hobart and his daughter, Louise, and her husband Fred Kurtz and family lived there until Dan and Clara Haxton purchased it in March 1945 from the Rampke heirs.
THE LEWIS ROBBINS HOUSE
Although this house is no longer standing, it is of such unique architecture and so ingrained in our local history that it seems necessary to include it. The home was built in 1897 for Lewis and Mary (Stacy) Robbins. The architect was from Tennessee and the home had thirteen rooms.
Lewis Henry Robbins went to Ohio to marry Mary Adelaide Stacy in 1880 and they returned to Portage Township and had four children: Joseph Samuel (Gertrude Lenburg), Grace (Frank G. Moran), Edith Adelaide (Tracy Strong) and Glen Lewis (Genevieve Norton).
Lewis’ and Mary’s son, Joseph and wife Gertrude next resided in the house and raised a family of six. Joseph passed away in 1983 at 102 years old and his wife Gertrude died in 1994 at 106 years of age. The Robbins lived in the house until 1981 and it was demolished a few years later.
Lewis Robbins’ father Samuel Putnam Robbins came here from Ohio in 1833 and was a pioneer settler. He went back to Ohio to marry Caroline Coe in 1837 and they returned to Portage Township to raise a family of eight children.
The surrounding land has been turned into Robbinhurst Golf Course.
THE WILLIAM RUHE HOUSE
6850 CENTRAL AVENUE
William Ruhe purchased the property from his father-in-law Henry Kuhl. Later, in 1905, the present house was built. It was a combination of an existing home that was moved to the front of the property and added on to. The east side boasted a summer kitchen. William and Frederika (Kuhl) Ruhe raised 6 children: Joseph John, Henry Frederic, William Joseph, Joannes Frederic, Mary Ellen, and Regina Fredericka Ruhe. Joseph John Ruhe and his son occupied the home after William’s death. Joseph and his wife Christina (Thoesen) raised eight children: William John (Elizabeth L. Shooter), Joseph Michael (died young), Fred Aloysius (Veronica S. Shooter), Marie Elizabeth (Arthur J. Kubick), Marguerite W. (Sylven S. Cook), Gertrude Cecelia (John C. Sosh), Arthur Michael (#1 Dorothy M Wozniak and #2 Corrine Spencer) and George A Ruhe. George A. Ruhe and his wife Esther Elizabeth (Wyant) resided there from 1953 until their deaths in 1993 and 2004 respectively.
THE PETER W. SAMUELSON HOUSE
2125 SAMUELSON ROAD
Peter W. Samuelson started building this home in 1891 and completed it in 1896. The first house on the property was built in 1885. It was a small frame building that is now part of a chicken coop and is still standing. It was occupied by the family while the present house was being built. Two of the Samuelson children, George William and Lillian Otella (Rudolph Jannasch), were born in the smaller house and three, Francis Joseph, Oliver Richard and Pearle Marie (Bartley J. Farry) in the larger brick home.
The farmstead in which the home is built was designated a 100 year old Hoosier Homestead Farm by the Indiana Department of Commerce in 1985. William McCool, pioneer settler, originally purchased the land. The house was occupied by Jaclyn (Farry) Macedo, granddaughter of Peter and his wife Jennie (Nelson) Samuelson, until her death in 1996. Jaclyn’s daughter, Holly Papachronis and her family now own it.
Frank and Jessie (Fiefield) Samuelson’s farm adjoined the Peter Samuelson farm at the now corner of McCool Road and Portage Avenue. The farm buildings were damaged by a tornado in 1945 and the house burned down in 1950. Their three children were William Edward (Esther Johnson), Charles Walker (Freda Swanson), and Sarah Doris (John Kimmell). When the Wabash Railroad was being built through McCool the railroad workers boarded at the Frank and Jessie Samuelson farm. When their son William was about 9 years old one of the railroad workers asked him to go up to get something from the hay loft. He fell out of the hay mound and broke one leg and the rest of his life he walked with a limp. Later William worked at the railroad tower on the 11 pm to 7 am shift.
THE WILLIAM E. SAMUELSON HOUSE
2528 MCCOOL ROAD
William E. Samuelson, son of Francis A. and Jessie Ann (Fifield) Samuelson, and his wife Esther (Johnson), had this house built in 1912. They bought the land from Joseph Ruhe. Their children: Evelyn (Carl Hamstrom), Norman (Wanda Trostle), Madelyn (Chuck Lorenz) and Richard (Sharon) were all born in the house. Madelyn and her husband Charles Lorenz reside there now. William Samuelson worked for the railroad at the McCool tower.
The house just north of this one was built for William’s mother, Jessie (Fifield) Samuelson, about the same time. After Jessie’s death in 1927, the house was sold to the Wyant family. The William and Esther Samuelson home was home to the Samuelson Insurance Agency from 1926 until 1978 when the agency was moved to its present location on Central Avenue.
THE SARGENT/NICHOLSON HOUSE
1981 CRISMAN ROAD
Jerome Sargent built this home in 1881. B. Sargent the next owner possessed a letter attesting to this fact. It was purchased by Peter Nicholson and remodeled around 1951. The Baker family lived there in the 1940’s. Peter’s second wife, Emilie, was a freelance photographer. The house was featured in Better Homes and Gardens after the house was remodeled. Lloyd and Ruth Samplowski bought the house in 1978 from Thomas and Geraldine Ray. The Samplowski’s sold it in the early 2000’s.
THE HEINRICH SCHLOBOHM HOUSE
741 N COUNTY ROAD 500 W
Heinrich (HY) Schlobohm built this house around 1900. Several Schlobohm families lived in the house at different times until Walter Carlson bought it in the early 1930’s. Carl and Bertha Hinderer moved into the house in March 1940 and lived there, farming for the Carlson and Crisman families until the Hinderers moved to Florida in 1975. As of October 1990 Bess Carlson owned the house.
THE AUGUST SCHROCK HOUSE
2891 MCCOOL ROAD
This house was built around 1920 by August and Mary (LaHayne) Schrock. It originally sat approximately a quarter of a mile east of where it now sits. August Schrock died in 1933 and his wife Mary in 1955. In the late 1950’s, August and Mary’s son, Walter, owned the house and had it moved to its present location. In 1967 Walter married Evelyn Luke. After Walter’s death in 1974 Evelyn sold it to her son, David Luke, who owns it today. It is rented by Mildred and Ransom Anderson and is also the office for Santa’s Storage Shop, a storage facility that is located next to it and is managed by the Andersons. In 2012 it was torn down or moved and new storage units are in its place.
THE HOWARD SCOFIELD HOUSE
6287 PORTAGE AVENUE
This house was built about 1915 by Howard Scofield. It was originally a barn on the back of the property against a sand hill. It was moved and remodeled by Mr. Scofield. He made his own concrete blocks, beams and siding needed to convert the barn into a house. He moved to this house from 2180 Crisman Road, the home of his father Herbert Scofield. Near that home was his father’s general store and post office.
THE HERBERT SCOFIELD HOUSE
2180 CRISMAN ROAD
This picture was taken from a post card made by the architect dated 1917. On the back of the post card says, John Irving Dorr, Architect, 7120 Langley Ave., Chicago. John Dorr was also an early Portage Township resident.
Later picture of the same house and it is still standing today.
Pictures and information received 2011 from Jim Scofield.
Herbert and his wife, Augusta (Humphrey) had 6 children: Buril, Lawrence, Howard, Bessie, Hartzell and Robert.
The Scofields ran a general store for years in Crisman.
2011 update and pictures by Jim Scofield
THE SEVERANCE HOUSE
708 W COUNTY ROAD 700 N
Frank H. Severance built this house. His carpenter neighbor, Victor England, helped him build the house. They began in 1912 and the total cost was $3,380.00. That price included sidewalks, acetylene lighting, hot water heater and boiler. The farm consisted of eighty acres. Frank Severance Jr. sold the farm in 1968 to Mr. and Mrs. Gates, who in turn sold it to the Central Baptist Church. The house is now used as a parsonage for the church. Frank Severance Jr. drove a school bus for Portage Township Schools from 1946 to 1952.
THE HERMAN SWANSON HOUSE
STONE AVENUE AT SWANSON ROAD
This house was originally one of Portage Township’s schoolhouses in the early 1900’s. The first owner of the property was D. P. Blake. Herman Swanson purchased the property from Blake in 1917. Swanson then had the original building torn down to the frame and raised for a basement. Herman and wife Edith raised five children in the Swanson house: Edna (Robert Anderson), Bernice (Arthur Moore), Earl (Grace Van Winkle), Harold (#1 Dorothea Koeppen and #2 Ruth Koeppen) and Vivian (Daucy Crizer). They enjoyed electric lights and running water. In 1940, Herman moved into the little house nearby and his son Harold bought the family home. As the area grew, farming became difficult, so Harold sold the house to a realtor, Mr. Logan, and moved to the Kraft farm on Lute Road. Since then, there have been many owners and renters in the Swanson house.
A later picture of the same house shows some changes made to the outside.
THE CHARLES TRAEGER HOUSE
5250 U.S. HIGHWAY 6
In 1891, John Traeger (father) gave 76 acres of land to his son Charles in a living will. The farmhouse appears to date to a period between 1895-1905. Charles and his wife Elizabeth (Harder) Traeger raised their children, Edna (William Hoeckelberg), Minnie, Hazel, Walter and Leona (Paul Wehner) on the farmstead. The property was in the hands of the Traeger family until 1956, when Walter Traeger sold it to Joseph Sabo. In 1973, Mr. Sabo sold the property to Clifford and Mary LaBounty who in turn sold it to the Portage Parks Department on July 10, 1984. In 1987, the Portage Community Historical Society was formed and on July 1, 1989 the museum was opened in the Traeger house.
A new museum was opened east of the house in 2003 and the farmhouse was restored in 2004. The original barn burned down and a new barn was built soon after. A picture of the restored Trager house can be seen on the back of this booklet.
If you are confused by the different spelling of Trager and Traeger, so were we. One descendant told us the family story says that the two brothers that first settled here kept having their mail mixed up so one brother dropped the “e” and became Trager.
THE JOHN TRAGER HOUSE
5300 E. HIGHWAY 6
John Traeger first owned this land in 1876. When August Traeger inherited the property from his father, he built the present home. In the early 1900’s the house was only two rooms and was added to little by little until its present size. August’s son Fred lived in the house after his father’s death. Fred and his family moved from the house in 1970 to a new home on 700 N. After 1970, the house was rented to several families. The house and 80 acres were still owned by the Traeger family. In 2003 the house was torn down and the property sold to a car dealership. It was said that some of the out buildings were moved to County Line Orchards.
THE AUGUST WOLFE HOUSE
5000 STONE AVENUE
August Wolfe, son of George Wolfe, bought the property in April 1879 from John G. Earle. He paid $800 for 25 acres. The house was built about 1880. August and his wife, Elizabeth (McPherson), were both killed in a horse/buggy/train accident on August 29, 1907. They had 7 children: Charles, William H. (Laura Short), Abigail, Caroline (Alvah Bodamer), Ida Mae (#1 Perry Blake, # 2 Harry Flanders), Arthur George and Frank August Wolfe. August’s son, William and his wife, Laura, then occupied the house until their deaths in 1959 and 1957 respectively. The house was then rented for several years. The Jesse Moores bought it about 1978, after they had rented it for a few years.
THE ELMER WOLF HOUSE
611 N COUNTY ROAD 450 W
This house bears a stone near the roof on the front side of this house dated 1890, the year it was built by Elmer E.Wolf son of Josephus and Susan (Young) Wolf. Elmer was married to Mary Esther Martin and they had seven children: Lenore (John Albright), Josephus Martin, Edith, Gladys, Francis Marion, John Elmer, Fred Everett (Alice Burns) and they lost two infants. Three of the children: Josephus Martin, Edith Eunice and Gladys Valera all died young, their names engraved on the family monument in McCool Cemetery.
Elmer Wolf sold out his belongings in 1900 and moved from Indiana to Flasher, North Dakota where he homesteaded on 160 acres.
Harvey Carey bought the property from the Wolfs. Paul Rosenbaum, who was the son-in-law of Mr. Carey, later owned it. Paul’s son, Warren, owned it and was living there at the time of his death September 1990. Martin and Linda Marvel now own it. They have built a gym in the attic for their 7 children.
Here is a more recent picture of the same house.
THE FRANK WOLF HOUSE
SWANSON ROAD SOUTH OF US HIGHWAY 6
Kenneth Wolf, son of Frank Wolf, most likely built this house in the early 1900’s. According to the Porter County Atlas in 1876 Frank’s father Josephus Wolf owned the land. In 1895 Frank owned it. Frank and his wife Ida Mary (Arnold) had 5 children: Rex Arnold, Lois M., Ruby I., Vera H. (Edward Sawtell) and Kenneth Joseph (Bernice A. Reynolds). Rex, Lois and Ruby all died young and their names are engraved on the Wolf Monument in McCool Cemetery. Frank and Ida both died tragically in 1892 and 1895 respectively. In 1906 the property was the Frank Wolfe estate and in 1921 Kenneth Wolf, their youngest child, owned it.
THE KENNETH WOLF HOUSE
660 W COUNTY ROAD 700 N
Kenneth Wolf built the original part of this house. It has been added onto several times. A land grant for the property was given to Thomas Field on November 2, 1845. Mr. Field sold the property to Josephus Wolf and his descendants Vera Wolf Sawtell and Kenneth Wolf later owned it. It was foreclosed upon by the bank and bought by Bennett Bauer in 1938. In February 1929 Bennet Bauer married Alleen St. Clair and they have lived in the house.
THE JOSEPHUS WOLF MANSION
700 N AND WOLF ROAD
This picture had to have been taken early 1890’s.
Josephus Wolf built this stately Victorian Italianate mansion in 1875, and lived there with his wife, Susan Young Wolf, until he died in 1895. His grandfather, Andrew Wolf, came to the United States on the Ship Hero in the year 1764, from the Alsace-Lorraine region of Europe. Josephus’s father Jacob Wolf moved to this area from Ohio in 1834. Josephus and Susan had eight children, only three of whom lived to adulthood – Martin Young, Elmer E. and Frank M. It is reported that there were at one time five tiny graves on the property, for the five small children that did not survive.
Josephus was a major landholder in the region, and owned a total of five thousand acres at one time, which he accumulated over the years. His holdings encompassed a large part of what are now Portage Township, South Haven and Union Township, extending from Route 6 to Route 30. Although Josephus went to the gold rush in 1850 or 1851, it appears that he eventually accumulated his land by hard work and good business sense. During his tenure, Josephus’ land held many barns, tenement houses and outbuildings. He raised prime beef cattle and had about 347 head, and also had a dairy farm with close to 50 milk cows. He sold his cattle to the Chicago stockyards, where it was rated “prime.” The milk that he produced was picked up by train and taken to Chicago on a regular basis. After Josephus’ death, Susan Young Wolf remained in the house until she passed away in 1903. Both Susan (Young) and Josephus Wolf are buried
in the McCool Cemetery.
The mansion itself has 18 rooms, with two fireplaces and a cupola on top, from which one can see the Chicago skyline on a clear day. There is a lovely walnut staircase leading to the second floor, and detailed fruit carvings on the front door. It has a stone set high on the outer south wall reading “Josephus Wolf 1875.”
The mansion and some of the property has been owned and occupied over the years by many people. The Lewis Taylor family rented the house about 1908-1910. The Shook family occupied the house for a time around 1920. The Franciscan monks lived there in the 1920’s while Seven Dolors Shrine was being built. Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Grantham owned it in the 1950’s.
It has also housed several businesses in recent years.
Since about 2002 Clement and Lynda Khan have owned the house. They have it decorated in the period of late 1890’s. They give tours of the mansion by appointment only. They are currently working on a book on the history of the Wolf mansion and property.
Here is a much later picture of the mansion.
Notice the size of the
tree that wasn’t in the 1890’s picture.
Our thanks to these people for their information taken for our house books done in 1988, 1991, 2004 and updated in 2011.
• Andrew Anderson house: Myrtle Anderson
• Nels Anderson house: Helen Brosmer
• Levi Bay house: Guy and Myrna Leininger
• Bender House: Walter Bender
• Franklin Blake house: James Douglas
• Perry Blake house: Sandra Schmitt
• Bonham house: Robert Bonham
• Brandt house: Fred Brandt, James P. Mlechick
• Briggs house: Hazel Briggs Bradford
• Buhman house: Hazel Anderson Nagy and Frank Severance
• Leonard Crisman house: Leonard Crisman, Verna and Sue Engel
• Morton Crisman house: Verna Lute Schroeder and Lillian Nicholson Dahlin
• Ross Crisman house: Bess Crisman Carlson
• Crisman/Volk house: Helen Volk Needs
• Crisman/Nelson house: Mary Funke Nelson
• Dombey house: Helen Tessler, Mabel Moore Taylor Jones and John Jones
• Fifield house: Ben Fifield
• Foreman/Ditsler house: Wilma Ditsler Buckley and Boyd and Velma Ostroot
• Wilhelm Foreman house: Wilma Ditsler Buckley and Evelyn Foreman Susdorf
• John Gottlieb house: Tom Gottlieb
• Kreiger/Hamstrom house: Evelyn Samuelson Hamstrom, Hamstron & Swinson Families
• Hawkinson house: Glenn Hawkinson, Donna Mullen
• George Haxton house: Dorothy Haxton Gutzler, Frank Severence and Elaine Greer
• William Isby house: Mabel Moore Taylor Jones
• Jannasch house: Jaclyn Macedo
• Claus Johnson house: Violet Mascher
• Swan Johnson house: Mabel Moore Taylor Jones
• Keammerer house: Helen Brosmer
• Kimmel house: Ted Kimmel
• Koeppen house: Ruth Koeppen Swanson
• Daniel Kraft house: Mary Kraft
• John Kuehl house: Tom Gottlieb
• LaHayne house: Kay Hinderer
• Jacob Lenburg house: Doris Dunlap
• Lenburg house: Evelyn Susdorf
• Lindquist house: Rose Garrison
• Lute house: Verna Lute Schroeder, Twyla Lute Boswell, Jan Shook Lute
• Mahns house: Lon Mahns
• William McCool house: Sara Samuelson Kimmel
• Nicholson house: Glenn Hawkinson, newspaper clipping
• Nordin house: Astrid Nordin Anderson
• Matthew Parks house: Irene Hatala, Helen Bell and Wilma Ditsler Buckley
• Peterson/Killon house: Mrs. Albert Balas Sr. and Mrs. Albert Balas Jr.
• Pryor house: Bess Bennell
• Fritz Rampke house: Dorothy Haxton Gutzler
• Robbins house: Ruth Robbins and Marjorie Robbins Herron
• Ruhe house: Arthur Ruhe
• Samuelson house: Jackly Farry Macedo
• William Samuelson house: Madelyn Samuelson Lorenz
• Sargent/Nicholson house: Betty Nicholdon Snyder and Lloyd and Ruth Samplawski
• Henrich Schlobohm house: Bess Carlson, Bertha and Carl E. Hinderer
• August Schrock house: George Ruhe and Mildred Anderson
• Howard Scofield house: Hartzell Scofield
• Hartzell Scofield house: Hartzell Scofield and Jim Scofield
• Severence house: Carl Hinderer
• Swanson house: Bernice Swanson Moore
• Charles Traeger house: newspaper clipping
• John Traeger house: Ray Traeger
• August Wolfe house: Mildred Wolfe Pavel, Doris Wolfe Koedyker and Evelyn Wolfe Jannasch
• Elmer Wolf house: Warren Rosenbaum and Martin Marvel
• Frank Wolf house: Frank Severence
• Kenneth Wolf house: Bennett and Allen Bauer
• Josephus Wolf Mansion: newspaper clipping and Clement and Lynda Khan
• Printing and Assembly: Minuteman Press
• Proofreading: Lois Mollick and Beth Ramsey
• Typing: Kathy Heckman
Our sincerest thanks to everyone who contributed information, pictures and updates for this book. We couldn’t have done it without them. Several contributors are no longer with us but they are still in our thoughts and with us in spirit.
Portage Community Historical Society, Inc.
Thanks to the following sponsors who contributed to the printing of this booklet. We appreciate your support.
We would be amiss if we didn’t thank and show gratitude for the many things the Portage Park Department has done for The Historical Society and continue to help us in so many ways. Our society consists mainly of senior citizens and we could not achieve our goals without the Portage Park Department’s support.
The Portage Community Historical Society has two major events of the year. The last Saturday in June is our summer festival and the first weekend in December is our Christmas on the Farm where the house and museum are decorated for the holiday. We have St. Nicholas and Mrs. St. Nick for the kids and refreshments and games for all.
We have a Portage Pioneer site where we have posted all the pictures and articles we have about the early pioneer settlers and their families. We continue to add to the families’ histories as their descendants contact us. In the Alton Goin Museum, we have a research area where we mainly concentrate on our Pioneer Families and their descendants.
The Portage Community Historical Society is in need of new members as we continue to age. This society might cease to exist if we don’t have younger members interested in the history of Portage Township. Contact us at the museum or by email for a membership application.
Countryside Museum Complex
Includes Trager Farmhouse and Barn, Alton Goin Museum, Fishing Pond, Sledding Hill and
Stop by and visit our museum complex at the
Countryside Historical Park
5250 E US Highway 6
Portage, IN 46368
April thru December
Saturdays and Sundays
1 pm to 4 pm
Fridays by appointment
(Groups by appointment)
219-762-8349October 30, 2018 at 8:09 am #2084Kathy HeckmanModerator
The pictures that go with each house did not transfer. ~Kathy
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