Elizabeth Hansen

Elizabeth M. Hansen Interview*

History of Uptown, Rosehill District/Early People, Document #8

Source: Informant Mrs. H. [Henry] Hansen, 1742 Cemetery Drive, who came to Rosehill in 1883, her husband, a florist, came in 1868. Interviewed February, 1928.

My husband came with his father from Sweden in 1868. He had been born in 1859. He built the greenhouse that stands now in 1863 but before that time he had a florist business here. I came in 1883 and the house we are living in was finished in 1885. I was brought up on a farm and when I saw Rosehill the first time it looked natural to me. The place was just a slough. There were very few people here except the farmers.

The old post office used to be in an old building on the southeast corner of Cemetery Drive and East Ravenswood Park. This was the Havelock post office. It was an old chapel that had been moved from the Cemetery when the new chapel was built. Whether this was in ’81 or ’83 I can’t tell but about ’83 it was moved down the street on Ravenswood and made into a house. It hadn’t been at the corner so long I guess before it was moved. It’s the second or third house north of the stone shop that is at the south end of the block. You can’t miss it, because it has a rounded roof.

The H. Hansen florist shop used to be on the northeast corner of the Drive and Ravenswood and next to that was the stone cutter Hansen. None of those first Hansens were related. Henry was a Swede, Erasmus was Danish and the Hansen, German. The Floods were here when I came. Besides them were the Wolters, the Barstows, the Tuilligers and the Jim Andersons. The Floods lived on the northwest corner of Peterson and Ridge. The Webers were next to the Barstows; the Nolans lived on East Ravenswood Park; the Tuilligers and Peter Evert lived on the east of the tracks too; Dick Donovan was in the first building south of the greenhouses to the south of the Drive; Daniel Anderson was next to the Donovans. Matt Evert lived on Peterson; he was the son of Frank Evert and was younger than Pete. The restaurant south of the Drive used to face on the Drive across from the H. Hansen florist shop. This building and the land on which it it stood were owned by Jim Anderson and he rented the building to Hubbard Hansen who had a saloon there. This Hansen was a Luxemburger who had his place in 1883 and for some time after. Later Jim Anderson moved this building to its present location because he expected to enlarge his monument place that far east, but for some restriction or other, he could’t. Jim Caird was a relative of Erasmus Hansen. The Jim Anderson’s sister or maybe she was a sister-in-law, kept boarders in the house west of the Hansen greenhouse some 43 years ago. Mrs. Duffy lived there after she moved out. It was in 1886 that Pete Evert built his bowling alley in back of his saloon. There was another Evert around too besides Pete and Matt.

It seemed to me that most of the people here when I arrived were Luxemburgers but Jim Anderson and Jim Caird were Scotch. My nationality was German. H. Hansen was the only Swede here for a long time.

The truck gardens were here for a great many years and it wasn’t until seven years ago that the land just east of Hermitage wasn’t farmed. They used to raise the best celery in the world on that piece of ground east of our house.

There was some subdividing fifty years ago. Closer than that Kemper opened up his land. He lived three blocks north of Ridge on Hermitage. He must have begun subdividing before the world’s fair, putting in some streets but not doing much else. The Schneiders lived at the head of the Drive west of Clark Street.

* Elizabeth Hansen (nee Markel) was born 1 May 1863 in Wisconsin to parents born in Alsace-Lorraine and Prussia. She married her husband Henry Hansen in 1885 at Rose Hill. They had four children: Margaret, Elmer, Arthur, and William. She died 13 September 1939 and buried with her husband in St. Henry’s graveyard in the High Ridge section of Edgewater.

Cover page: Documents: History of the Uptown Community, Chicago. Prepared for the Chicago Historical Society and the Local Community Research Committee, University of Chicago. Research under the direction of Vivien M. Palmer; staff investigators Marion Lindner and Beatrice Nesbit. These documents contain data just as it was secured form old residents and from existing documents. A final check of the data will appear in the volume of the Social History of Chicago.

Format: Photocopy of a typescript without page numbers in the Chicago History Museum library; volume 2 of a 6-volume set containing documentary information on 20 Chicago community districts/areas.

Publication date: 1925-1930.