Unearthed: Dorothy Eagles (Pt 2)

Must love dogs.

Dorothy Eagles Part 1


 

By the mid-1930s, Dorothy Eagles’ North Side Animal Shelter was thriving. The new location on Damen Avenue had a two-story brick building at its center. It featured offices, medical care, an annex housing 70 cats and dogs — even pet cremation services. Every year, hundreds of animals came in, were cared for, and found new owners.1

But care cannot save everything.

Dorothy’s husband, Lester Eagles, never got much mention in the newspapers. I know he built the first shelter’s cages, and that he would go out on calls to pick up strays. But beyond that, he’s a bit of a mystery.

Also a mystery is why their marriage ended. While I couldn’t find a divorce date, by 1936, Dorothy was vacationing in Palm Springs with a man named George Harz.2

Doctor George Harz, that is… a veterinarian.

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Unearthed: Dorothy Eagles (Pt 1)

Friend to the friendless.

I’ve been dying to write this one.

Dorothy Eagles’ name was in those scraps my husband brought home, and this was the first photo I found of her.

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Unearthed: Calogero Lalumia

They can’t all be good guys.

Mt. Carmel Catholic Cemetery in Hillside, IL, is packed with striking, dramatic headstones. Calogero Lalumia’s is one of them.

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Unearthed: Bruno Rostkowski

The handsome young man in the derby hat.

How could I resist that face?

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A Whole Mess of Franks

Sometimes a mystery stays a mystery.

Frank Brovet(s), part 1


I should preface by explaining something about me. I grew up in a small family, with a limited amount of relatives. There were maybe a dozen Brovets in the whole country, and I spent my first few decades confident that I knew all of them.

Ah, the assurance of youth.

I think that’s part of why the Frank story frustrates me so. I had this misconception, and I was able to hold onto it well into my 30s. My brain still gets stuck on the point of: I know all of them, so there can’t be more. This Frank situation has been like hearing, “That’s what YOU think,” from the Universe, over and over.

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Frank Brovet, Genealogical Nemesis

The watchmaker, the seamstress, and a mystery.

Last I left off, I was researching Richard Schober at the Newberry Library. He was not my only find that day. Nor the biggest find.

Back then, the Newberry was a rare place offering free access to the Chicago Tribune’s digital archives. I was full of confidence after my first stab at detective work, so I decided to keep going. I knew had relatives in Chicago at the turn of the 20th century. Maybe I could find a marriage announcement or something. Without too much thought, I typed my surname into the search box.

I hope you’re hearing the alarm blaring in your head. I did not hear it in mine.

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My First Stone

He was an artist. He was the best one.

I started nosing around graveyards because I was raised that way. My mother especially never saw a cemetery she didn’t want in on—the more crumbling and overgrown, the better. Bumming around cemeteries was simply a fact of my childhood.

The way I do it now, taking pictures and digging up names, is down to two things. 1) Now I have the Internet. 2) Richard Schober.

Schober is interred at Graceland Cemetery in Chicago. His stone is a missable little grey hump. But if you see it, you’ll stop, as I did that day with my dad in the 1990s.

Photo shows a gray headsstone in the snow. It is decorated with an artist's tools, a man's name at the top, dates, and text in German.

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