02 January, 2009

The Butlers and the Wintons Lived Here, Among Others

I dug up a little bit more house history today. Searching the Chicago Tribune archives specifically for our address, I found out that a Philip L. Butler lived here in the fifties. Whether he was the owner or a tenant, I don't know. But here's the info from the obituary section:

Butler--Marion Elizabeth Butler of the Ridgeview Hotel, E--, Ill., formerly of Morristown, N.J., July 15, 1955, mother of Philip L. Butler, 1XXX Monroe Street...

In the late forties /early fifties the Wintons lived here. A May 12, 1949 article on local golf caddies earning scholarships had this: "Glen Winton, 1XXX Monroe st., E--, Westmoreland, chemical engineering." Westmoreland is a country club founded in 1911 when a group of men from the local golf club grew dissatisfied with the space limitation for their own course. It's name literally comes from their move "West for More Land."

A May 4, 1950 article with the headline "Catholic High Schools Name Star Seniors" mentioned that a James Winton of 1XXX Monroe was named to the National Honor Society and also was a member of the golf team at St. George High School. St. George was an all-boys school located at 350 Sherman Avenue that opened in 1927 and closed in 1969.

So, that's about all I dug up searching for The Box House address in the Trib archives. Searching for the last name of the most recent previous owners in the archives provided a few leads regarding where the family used to live, etc., but nothing about their time in our house.

Doesn't sound like much, does it? But searching for information on our condo address, that's another story.

Prior to the construction of our six-flat building in 2002, a turn-of-the-century frame house existed. And in 1977, it was the site of a grisly murder:

"Criminal Court Judge William Cousins, Jr. sentenced a man to 60 to 70 years in prison Wednesday for what he called the 'hideous' burglary and muder of a 79-year-old woman.

'This crime is one of the most grisly than can be imagined,' Cousins said in sentencing Leon Blackwell, who was convicted last month of the murder of Agnes Bookham in her home at 4XXX N. Winthrop Av.

Court observers said it was the harshest sentence ever handed down by Cousins, a former liberal alderman from the 8th Ward who took the bench last December...

Blackwell, 34, of 4329 W. Washington St., stood motionless as the judge handed down the sentence...

According to testimony presented at the three-day jury trial, Blackwell and two accomplices entered Miss Bookham's home June 4, 1975, to steal money for narcotics. They bound the victim's hands and feet, sexually assaulted her, then wrapped masking tape around her head until, in the words of prosecutor Howard Schaffner, 'she looked like a mummy.' Doctors testified the woman died of suffocation..."

There is nothing left of Agnes Bookham's house or garage; everything was torn down to make way for the condo building. But it makes me sad nonetheless that such a horrible thing happened where we used to live.


Ms. P in Jackson said...

It wasn't until after I moved into my new old house that I found out an elderly woman who lived in the apartment upstairs was murdered by her son so that he could take her SS check and cash it for drugs. He pushed her down the stairs, she survived the fall but died days later of internal injury.

I have a child and never want her to know. It was a sad bit of history, but I've never gotten an eerie feeling in the house due to it. People are bad, not houses.

I can remember one time when we were holed up in one of the zillions of rooms in this house that I heard what I thought were whispers, the hair stood up on the back of my neck. Further investigation confirmed the whispers were from chipmunks who were living in our walls at the time. I was never so happy to have animals living in my walls!

Andy said...

One of the unfortunate things of all this house history stuff, I guess.

Just remember, you're not sharing the house with whoever it was...they just happened to live there before you.

Anonymous said...

As someone who believes in the paranormal, I don't get creeped out by "former residents" -- although I'm glad no one here has encountered any!

I figure that most places on earth have had someone die in them, so it's possible we all live in murder sites. I agree, though, it's horrible to know the details of what's happened in our safe havens.

The weirdest thing I've come across is finding the address of my grandma's funeral home, and discovering it's now the Jewel grocery store where I shop! Gramma, is that you in the deli section? ;-)

Jen said...


How sad for the lady. She prob. Had lived there for years.

The PO of our home was murdered at the office where she worked. Everyone always tells us that when they find out where we live. " Did you know..." I always say ....that happened in town @ the square.

Good luck with the foundation issues. YUCK.