Monday, February 22, 2016

The Famous Hazelgreen

Here is a portrait of Elna's big brother, Malcolm — more formally known as A.M. (Alexander Malcolm) Hazelgreen.

A.M. Hazelgreen. Portrait used in Howat, A Standard History of Lake and Porter County, 1915. See hazel012 b for verso.
(Click on images to enlarge)

This isn't just any portrait; this is the one that got published in A Standard History of Lake County, Indiana, and the Calumet Region (1915), along with this biographical sketch:
For thirty or forty years a large amount of the railway construction work and of other similar types of contracting in this county has been performed through the Hazelgreen family. While the representative above named is one of the aggressive young business men and contractors, with his home in East Gary [Lake Station], it was his father who inaugurated that line of business in this county.

A.M. Hazelgreen was born in Chicago, January 14, 1879, but has lived in Lake County since infancy. His father, H.S. Hazelgreen, born in Sweden, January 20, 1838, and who died June 26, 1913, came to the United States at the age of thirty years, spent one year in New York, went west to Chicago, engaged in contracting, and did a large amount of pioneer railway construction in Northern Indiana. He had charge of the grading for the Baltimore & Ohio through this section, and also for the Wabash company. The mother's maiden name was Christina C. Blank, born in Sweden, June 26, 1849, and coming to the United States in 1863. She lived at Miller, Indiana, and she and her husband were married in 1873. Of their family there are four daughters and three sons still living. Mrs. Jeannette Ahlberg and Clara E. both reside in Seattle, Washington; Mrs. A. Esther Anderson lives at Laporte; and Elna J. lives at home. The other two sons are J. William and H. Albin, both of whom are unmarried and have their home in Seattle, Washington, and H. Albin is one of the leaders in the Luther League on the Northwest coast. The daughter Clara a number of years ago predicted the founding of the town and the development of the industrial center at East Gary, and just about twelve years ago drew a map on which the town was depicted, and since then East Gary has been growing rapidly up to the anticipations of Miss Hazelgreen.

When A.M. Hazelgreen was a year and a half old his parents located at Lake Station, and he lived at home, attending schools at East Gary and the high school at Hobart, until he was sixteen years of age. Since then his career has been almost entirely taken up with railway contracting, and he was with his father until his death. Mr. Hazelgreen is now president of the town board of East Gary, and has been instrumental in effecting many improvements for this community. He has led the way in getting the people to indorse and to vote the necessary bonds to establish a lighting plant. Mr. Hazelgreen was chiefly concerned in having the dedication celebration at the opening of the town hall, at which time a very elaborate program was held. Mr. Hazelgreen is fond of outdoor life, of baseball and fishing, is a republican in politics, and a member of the Swedish Lutheran Church.
The back of the original photo retains notes related to its use in the book, as well as the autograph that appeared below Malcolm's portrait in the book, ink blots and all.

Verso of hazel012 a


Jon Casbon said...

The Lewis Publishing Company produced many of these local history books in the early 20th Century. The company was founded by Benjamin Franklin Lewis (1842-1948), who was born in Union County, Indiana, and grew up in Porter County. His father named L'Mander Lewis, was born in New York, and ended up in Porter County. L'Mander started poor and ended up a medical doctor. His biography covers several pages in the History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests (coincidentally, published by the Lewis Publishing Company in 1912 - a massive tome in 2 Volumes comprising over 800 pages!). My father's grandmother was a niece of Benjamin Franklin Lewis, and he was named Lewis in her honor.

Ainsworthiana said...

Thank you for that background information!