"A family tree can wither if nobody tends its roots."


Antonio’s Cottage

by  Phyllis Zeck


Elieen (Turk), Margaret (Gan), Elvira (Snooks), Antonio

Elieen (Turk), Margaret (Gan), Elvira (Snooks), Antonio

Mary (aka Bear) has sent me several photographs that I’ve been anxious to share.  Bear’s grandmother was Elvira (Snooks) and her great grandparents were Antonio Del Principe and Margaret (aka Gan) Heenan.  Antonio and Margaret were married on Nov 12, 1919.  In 1928 Antonio built a summer cottage in Lake Villa, Illinois. Bear wrote to me that  “During the summer my husband and I go and stay in the summer cottage that Antonio built in 1928!  It is in Lake Villa.  It’s such an amazing piece of family history.”   

To make any of the photos larger, click on the photo and you’ll be brought to a new page.  Click on the photo again and the photo will be enlarged.  Click on the back arrow to return to the blog post.

Bear and her husband have been remodeling the cottage.  They are having a new roof put on and are restoring some beams.  They are also remodeling the bathroom which was not a part of the original structure.   

Antonio"s Cottage 1940

Antonio”s Cottage 1940

This photo was taken June 2, 1940.  The back of the photo says, “Roy + Snook + Aunt Turk + Bernard O’Donnel (Aunt Turk’s old Boyfriend.)  Jack Hoffman and Red Zinger. They liked Snook but Snook liked Roy.”  Elvira (Snook) married Roy Weber and they had four children: Antoinette, Gregory, Madeleine, and Margaret.  Some of Antonio’s brothers went to the cottage to help build it.  I don’t know if my grandfather Gilbert assisted in the building, but I suspect he did.  The brothers were always helping each other.  When my grandfather and father were building our house in Villa Park in the 1950’s, grandpa’s brothers were frequently there to lend a hand to grandpa and my father.

Margaret and Antonio 1940

Margaret and Antonio and Roy 1940

Bear wrote “Roy absolutely loved going to the cottage.  When my dad, Greg, was a kid they’d go up every weekend between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  He’d come home from work and Snook would have packed everything in paper bags by the door.  He’d load up the car and Blackie (their dog at the time) would hop in the car and would NOT leave for anything.  My dad said he’d growl and snarl if anyone would try to make him get out of the car because he knew it was time to go to the cottage.  He’d wait in the car as long as it took.   My dad said that he and Mad and Maggie would start to get anxious in the winter around Feb and they’d ask how many more weeks til we get to go to the cottage? So his mom would count down the weeks with them till Memorial Day weekend.” 

“Pa (Roy) continued to go to the cottage even after Snooks died.   They were very good friends with the couple that lived across the street from the cottage, Wallie and Mickie.  Mickie still lives there, and we see her quite often.  She is one of the most active 84 year olds I ever met!”  

Summer 1939

Summer 1936

Bear explains the photo to the right: “The girls are sitting on the roof of the south side of the cottage.  If you are looking at the cottage from the front, they are dangling their legs off the left side of the cottage. Snook is the third one from the left.  I always assumed Turk was in the photo, but I don’t recognize the other three. One might be Turk.  We just lost the big tree behind them in the photo.  There was a nasty storm last June.  Wyatt (my husband) and I were up there during the storm and it was scary!!  A near by big oak tree was split in half by lightening and the tree in the photo was knocked down by 70 mile an hour winds. We also lost the tree between Gan and Antonio in the other picture.  It was a sad day.”

Wow Bear! Thank you so much for sharing your stories and photographs.  Because of your generosity we are able to get a deeper understanding of our ancestors, which was one of my goals for starting this blog.  


2 Responses to Antonio’s Cottage

  1. 11 years ago by Anthony Winike

    Incredible article Phyllis. Can you ask Mary if she is Familiar with the Lehman Mansion in Lake Villa? It is on Rt. 83 just south of Antioch on Deep Lake. They have a great history on a website and do tours and Civil War Re-enactments there.

    Also, Mary may want to drive up 83 about 5 Minutes into Antioch by the original Antioch Elementary school built in 1892. It is now a museum and the place is a shrine and a treasure trove of pictures from the Lakes region from 1900 to 1950. Someone donated a thousand postcards from all the lakes with cottages and resorts and old hotels. It is only open Saturdays from noon to 3 pm.

  2. 11 years ago by Lori Anderson

    Great story and GREAT pictures! Thank you Phyllis and thank you Bear! I wish I still lived in IL so I could go visit the cottage!


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