Tim and Danette Meyer bought a house that witnessed many of Arlington Heights' changes during the 125 years of incorporation the village is celebrating this year.
And unlike many people who purchase old homes and yearn to know details about the people who built them and lived there over the years, the Meyers have a well-documented story. That's because they bought their two-story house in the first block of South Mitchell Avenue directly from descendants of the Oltrogge family that built it in 1918.
The Oltrogge saga in what is now Arlington Heights started well before the village's 1887 incorporation.
In 1857 Heinrich Christoph Oltrogge met and married Engel Maria Sophia Senne in Chicago. Like many immigrants to this area, both were from Germany, actually the area called Schaumburg.
They soon started farming at what is now the northwest corner of Algonquin and Old Wilke roads. In 1862 they were among 15 families who started St. Peter Lutheran Church, still a thriving congregation.
One of the couple's seven children, Henry, and his wife, Emilie Luerssen of Palatine, built the Mitchell Avenue house for themselves and their youngest child, 12-year-old Magdalene, leaving a son, John, on the farm.
Henry constructed the two-flat himself with the help of two craftsmen, according to a report from the Arlington Heights Historical Society.
Magdalene Oltrogge eventually married John Meyn Jr. of Mount Prospect, whose brother, Herman, became mayor of Mount Prospect. Magdalene and John Meyn lived in the house, first with her parents and later with their own children.
Magdalene Oltrogge Meyn's house must have been full of good smells because she was known for her baking and "sent things to people when they were moving or had a death in the family," said her daughter, Joan Brandt of Arlington Heights.
Magdalene Meyn left the house her father built only when she died at the age of 96 in 2002. The Meyns' other children are Ruth Goebbert of Arlington Heights and John H. Meyer of Itasca.
The Meyers bought the home from the family that very year.
"My husband and I were so happy to have a young family buy it," said Joan Brandt. "There are so many teardowns, but they upgraded it and kept the original woodwork."
The Meyers' roots also go very deep in Arlington Heights, and they appreciate the history of their home.
"Although the house has been remodeled, the original wood work and hardware was maintained and matched in remodeled areas of the home to retain the original charm of the house," wrote Tim Meyer. "The house continues to be a work in progress, making changes to reflect the times while maintaining the original style and beauty of Magdalene's family home."