12917 Greenwood Avenue
Built c. 1890
Matthias Helbreg was born in Germany and came to Blue Island in the 1860s. Helbreg opened a grocery store on Western Avenue in 1869 and became treasurer of the Blue Island Brewing Company. He also served as a Village Trustee from 1888-1894 and a member of Blue Island’s Volunteer Fire Department in the 1880s.
Conrad Rohe purchased the home from Helbreg in 1908. Rohe owned a local lumber company.
This house was likely built by B.L. Bauman, whose own home, when it was new, was identical to this one. Bauman’s remodeled house still stands on the northwest corner of Prairie and Gregory, as does another (also much remodeled) at the southeast corner of Grove Street and Chatham. The Helbreg House is one of the finest examples of the high-style Victorian residences that lined Greenwood Avenue by the end of the nineteenth century.
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