Architecture -
Heritage and History

659 West William, Decatur

©2007 Rene Corcoran

The Henry Shlaudeman House

by Gayle P. Jones

One of our researchers sent this picture. The sign on the front lawn is for NWRAPS, the Near West Restoration and Preservation Society. They purchase old homes, restore them, then sell them - which is far better than having them demolished.

According to information that has been pieced together, this lovely old home was built for Henry Shlaudeman around 1891(1). He purchased the land from Edward W. Shively, a well known photographer and artist, in 1889 and a local newspaper reported that he intended to build a $10,000 home(2). Mr. Shlaudeman was a German immigrant who came to Decatur and went into the cigar making business with Joseph Michl. A few years later, he joined Edward Harpstrite in business at a brewery called Harpstrite & Shlaudeman Brewery, which later became The Decatur Brewery and was located on South Broadway. At the time Mr. Shlaudeman joined the venture, they were producing about six barrels of brew a month(3). They later branched out into making white-wine and apple cider vinegars(4). The business grew under their joint leadership, enabling Mr. Shlaudeman and Mr. Harpstrite to become not only prominent business men, but also prominent men in Decatur society.

Henry Shlaudeman was a city alderman of the fourth ward(5), a director of the public library(6) and director and shareholder of the Hatfield Milling Company(7). He owned the Shlaudeman Building on North Water(8) and the Shlaudeman hotel. He, along with Edward Harpstrite and Joseph Michl, acquired a piece of land bordered on the east by S. Broadway, on the west by Franklin, on the south by Marion and to the north by Oglesby Street, which they subdivided into lots and sold(9). His idea to start an icemaking company was laughed at by some and lauded by others, but in the end he proved that The Decatur Ice Company was a solid business venture.(10)

In 1883, Mr. Shlaudeman's wife, Caroline (Weissmann), died, just as they were beginning to enjoy the fruits of their labors(11). Census records show they were the parents of four children (birth years approximate); Frank, b. 1862; Harry, b. 1865; Lillie, b. 1867; and Maude, b. 1874(12). The purchase of land for the purpose of building a home happened before Henry's second marriage to Catherine Snyder in Nov 1890(13). By the start of 1892, they had moved into their new home.

Henry Shlaudeman and his wife lived in the house an additional 13 years, their children leaving one by one as they married and started lives of their own. Daughter Maude was married in the house on West William in 1897(14). Mr. Shlaudeman eventually retired from brewing and turned that part of his business interests over to his sons, although he continued in his other business interests.

Son Harry and his family moved to California and in Jan 1903 father Henry put his house on West William up for sale(15). The house was sold to John J. Maloney(16) and Henry Shlaudeman moved to California. He maintained contact with his children in Illinois and made regular visits every summer. In 1918, as if anticipating the waning of life, Henry Shlaudeman sold some of his Decatur properties, totaling $50,000, to his daughter Lillie McGorray and son Frank with the intent of lightening the burden of looking after the properties from what was then a great distance(17).

Henry Shlaudeman died in Los Angeles County, California in 1923(18).

Sources (Some have links to more information):

Sources (Some have links to more information):
1. Review, Decatur IL, 16 Apr 1891
2. The Decatur Daily Despatch, Decatur IL, 14 Aug 1889
3. The Daily Review, Decatur IL, 2 Mar 1911 - Obituary of Edward Harpstrite
4. Decatur Review, 31 Jan 1879 - Advertisement for Vinegar Factory
5. Decatur Daily Republican, 2 May 1882; 9 Aug 1882
6. The Morning Review (Decatur), 18 Dec 1885
7. Decatur Republican, 23 Jan 1890
8. Decatur Review, 3 Nov 1891
9. Saturday Herald (Decatur), 8 Jul 1882
10. Decatur Daily Republican, 11 Feb 1890
11. Decatur Daily Republican, 31 Mar 1883 - Obit for Caroline Shlaudeman
12. 1880 Federal Census for Macon County, IL
13. Herald Despatch (Decatur), 15 Nov 1890
14. Decatur Republican, 11 May 1897
15. Decatur Review, 30 Jan 1903
16. The Daily Review (Decatur), 14 Apr 1903
17. The Decatur Review, 1 Jun 1918
18. Shlaudeman v. Grubel (1936) 15 CA2d 499, [Civ. 1187 Fourth Appellate Dist. July, 16, 1936] - mention of Mr. Shlaudeman's death in 1923

234 S. College St.
Decatur, IL 62522
(217) 424-9147

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