By the time the mortgage had been paid in full (May 31, 1962) the property was in the name of Cecelia Jencz Olson and her husband Norman A. Olson.
Lottie Michalska Jencz died in 1963. Here's her obituary from the Chicago Daily Tribune of January 12, 1963:
Some views of the property from 1967:
John Jencz died in 1978. He and Lottie are interred in the mausoleum of Memorial Park Cemetery in Skokie:
After their deaths, the house was closed up - as is. Everything was left exactly where it had been after Norman's body was removed in July of 2009. Both Celia and Norman died with no direct heirs, so the house was locked up until a determination could be made as to how to proceed. The law moves very slowly and after some time had passed the executor of the estates was able to locate some distant relatives, but they were not interested in 301 Asbury or its contents. (Too bad they didn't ask me...).
So what happened? The house was closed up in July of 2009 after Norman's death. As the seasons rolled past, nobody thought to turn the heat on at 301. If the thought even occurred to anyone, they probably figured, "Why waste money heating an empty house?" The thing is, if a building is unheated in the sub-zero Evanston winters, you need to shut the water off and drain the pipes. Pipes left unattended in an unheated house will burst, and that's what happened to 301. One day when the next-door neighbors on Asbury and Mulford were coming out of their house, they looked over and saw water running down the windows of 301 from the inside. No one knows how long the water had been running before the neighbors discovered it and called the City of Evanston. The wreckers told me that the water in the basement had been over four feet deep. They opened a tackle box on a shelf four feet above the basement floor and it was full of water, so they know they water had been at least that high. They estimated that there had been thousands of gallons of water standing in the basement of 301 after the pipes burst and the water ran unchecked.
|Ceil and Norman Olson with unidentified man.|