Last week we discovered that the blacksmith whose death was mentioned in the October 11, 1912 issue of the DuPage County Register was Albin Nimmrich.    “Blacksmith and Wagon Shop For Sale or Rent on easy terms.  Also good house with one acre of land and all kinds of fruit.  Splendid location for German family owing to the death of blacksmith at Schaumburg Center, Cook County, Illinois.  For particulars apply to H. E. Quindel, Real Estate Agent.”Troyke blacksmith shop

This week we’ll try to solve the mystery of where the Troyke/Nimmrich blacksmith shop was in downtown Schaumburg Township.  If you’ll recall, this photo of Mr. Troyke standing outside of his shop came to light, thanks to a conversation I had with Pat Barch, Hoffman Estates Historian.

Looking at the picture, it’s clear that it is on a very level piece of land.  In the background is some type of shed or outbuilding, a fence, a tree and a telephone pole.  Nothing distinctive at all.  It was time to start looking around for more clues about this building.

One of the sources that proved beneficial was A Slice of Life from the Good Old Days compiled by David Hammer.  “The entire volume is compiled from the fifty issues of the Cook County Herald and the Enterprise-Register published in 1901.” Serendipitously, Mr. Troyke and his blacksmith shop opened for business in 1901!  These are some of the entries that shed more light on the mystery.

–Herman R. Troyhe [sic], Ontarioville had a son Oct. 21, 1900.  Jan 5.
–Hermann Troyke intends to leave us.  Mar 16.
–Herman Troyke has bot a piece of land of Aug. ________ & will come to Schaumburg May 1 to start a blacksmith shop.  Apr 13.
–Herman Troyke expects to build a blacksmith shop soon on his new place.  Oct 19.
–Henry Menke has sold his house & ¾ acre lot to Herman Troyke for $2600.  Oct. 19.
–H.R. Troyke has engage J. G. Horstman of Palatine to build his new blacksmith shop.  Oct. 26.
–Herman Troyke’s blacksmith shop is complete; he will be ready for jobs next week.  Nov 30.

We can now confirm that Mr. Troyke operated the business from 1901 to 1909 when Mr. Nimmrich took over.

It was time to look at the 1900 census for Schaumburg Township to determine where Henry Menke appeared and who his neighbors were.  Not surprisingly, it looked like he lived near the intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads–along with Fred and Herman Nerge who eventually owned the other blacksmith shop in town.  Henry Menke is listed as a carpenter and is very near his brother, Louis who was also a carpenter.  (Louis eventually built the white Turret House that is now two doors down from Lou Malnati’s.)

Going back a little further to the 1880 census, the two brothers were listed as living in Schaumburg Township with their parents Ludwig and Dorothea, and judging by their neighbors, it looks as though they also lived near the center of Schaumburg.  So, it stands to reason that the property was very close to the intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads.

Then I hit the jackpot when I happened to be talking to Mr. Sporleder who grew up  near the Friendship Village property.  He told me that his mother, Margaret, told him that the Troyke Blacksmith shop was on the south side of Schaumburg Road just west of the intersection at Roselle.  Having known a number of the Troykes, she told him that Mr. Troyke sold it to William Gieseke who lived in one of the two houses on that side of the intersection—at least until the late 1940s.  Mr. Sporleder himself remembered housing his bike in Mr. Gieseke’s barn when he caught the bus to Palatine High School.

This was an AHA! moment because I had also discovered a mention in the Schaumburg Township Map Index of a land transaction between Herman Troyke and wife to Wm. Gieseke, December 1, 1911.  Making the confirmation even a little more solid was the fact that Mr. Sporleder’s aunt, Mathilda (Sporleder) Gerken married Otto Nimmrich, a brother to Albin.  One has to figure that there would have been talk of his work in the shop at some of the Sporleder family get-togethers.

The only curious thing is that the initial article advertising the sale of the blacksmith shop and home continued to run in the paper up through October 11, 1912.  Maybe the date of the transaction between Gieseke and Troyke was postponed?  Or, maybe Mr. Gieseke continued the search for a blacksmith?  Despite these small, lingering questions, it appears this mystery is solved.  My thanks to Larry Nerge, Pat Barch and Mr. Sporleder for their assistance.  It all came together a little bit easier because of them.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

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