The Altenheim: a German Old People's Home in Forest Park through the Ages

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German American Journal








In May of 1886 the Altenheim, a German Old People’s Home in Forest Park, officially opened its doors to 75 elderly Germans. Already in April 1872, the State of Illinois and its Secretary of State, Henry Dement, had approved the Frauenverein des Deutschen Altenheims, the Women’s Society of the German Old People’s Home, as “a legally organized Corporation.” The names of the fifteen “Directors” for the first year were listed, of whom Maria Werkmeister, Gustava Rochener and Caroline Hebel signed the official document. As the Statutes indicate, membership was 25 cents per month in order to support the mission of the Frauenverein to found a senior residency for immigrant Germans. After vigorous additional fundraising, a structure was erected on a large plot of roughly 20 acres in the western suburbs of Chicago in Harlem, later Forest Park. The laying of the cornerstone in 1884 appears to have been a huge event with over ten thousand people present, and in May 1886 the building was dedicated with the Mayor of Chicago, Carter Harrision, Sr., in attendance.


Author Posting. © DANK 2018. This article is posted here by permission of DANK for personal use, not for redistribution. The article was published in the German American Journal, 2018, https://issuu.com/dankjournal/docs/aprmai18

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