Life in Black and White

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Hi, friends!

How have you been? How was your Summer? We’re still over here plugging away. In the months it’s been since I updated, we renovated the laundry room, painted the living room, and added a dishwasher. It was a busy summer. 😀

I realized a few days ago that I’ve been saving all my best content for Instagram and that this blog is in dire need of a big update! What I’m going to do today is add some old black and white photos to catch you all up on what else we’ve uncovered.

REALLY soon I’m going to do a post on our laundry room project and show you our updated living room.

I’m also going to update you on an amazing phone call I had two days ago. I finally, finally, finally summoned the courage to call Peter Romeiser’s great-grandson Bob. We spoke for 90 minutes all about his family, the house, and ancestry. I left that phone call filled with even more love for a family I’m not even a part of. It feels like it, though. He also told me about a really fascinating familial connection to a historical figure with ties to the Civil War, Denver, the Northern Pacific Railway, and the New York Evening Post. The details merit an entire blog on its own so I’ll save that for a different day as well.

For now, just enjoy life in black and white.


This first photo is not of the Romeisers, but that is the house and the lot they owned until 1919. This photo is from 1911/1912 time frame and captures the exquisite gazebo that the Romeisers had. This land had a home on it until the mid-1890s. When that house burned, Peter Romeiser purchased the adjacent lot, and had this gazebo and tennis courts installed. It was sold when the house was in 1919, and then our neighbor’s house was built in the early 1920s. I love daydreaming about what this looked like back in the day. As I’ve said before, Emma Romeiser Pannes was married at the house in August of 1912 and I really believe it would have been at this gazebo. Photo courtesy of the Labor and Industry Museum in Belleville.

I found this next photo in a 1914 centennial edition of the Belleville newspaper. They were doing a feature on the grand homes around town, ours included. I wish it were just a tiny bit clearer, but I still appreciate being able to just make out details that are no longer there. Like the awning over the door on the side, the spire on the roof, the front porch, and the rear chimney.



Next is a photo from Will Shannon at the St Clair County Historical Society. It is from a 1974 newspaper clipping detailing the debate about whether or not to turn our district into a historic district. This shows the house without the original front porch, after Mr. Mueller (the family that owned the house for 50+ years throughout the 1900s) built the stone steps himself.


And this last photo is perhaps my favorite. I originally found it on, then it turned up on a flash drive my neighbor loaned me with photos on it from her home’s original family. Then, I also saw it on the Labor and Industry Museum website. The title is “Abend Reunion.” This is twofold because our house is on Abend street. Our original neighbors were the Abend family. So does this mean family reunion on Abend Street or a reunion just of the Abend family? I’m not certain, because there are Romeisers in this photo.


The woman to the far right is Emma Romeiser Pannes. The woman in black two from the right is her mother, Elise. Elise’s sister, Anna, married Edward Abend and lived next door. From photo comparison, I believe Anna Abend is the woman fourth from the left, with the white hair. I believe the person next to her (third from the left) is Romeiser daughter Corona. I also firmly believe that the woman fourth from the right (next to the man in the wide brimmed hat) is Petra Romeiser. Is the man next to her, her brother Theodore?

The boys seated from left COULD be Roland Romeiser and perhaps Alvin. There’s no way to know for sure, other than the feeling in my heart. We know the boy on the lap of the seated girl is Edward Abend, born in 1903.

Inscribed on the front is Easter 1908. (If you look closely, they’re all showing off their Easter Eggs.) However, it is tagged on Ancestry as being from 1906. I rather believe that more, as young Edward Abend (seated on the girl’s lap) definitely looks to be closer to 3 than 5 years old. If 1906 is indeed accurate, then it’s highly likely that my guesses are correct. Roland (kneeling, wearing glasses) would be 16 and about to graduate high school. He would die in November of 1906.

Of course none of this is for certain, except for young Edward Abend. And Emma. I KNOW that’s her. She has the same neck, same, chin, same birthmark just below her lip. It just IS her.

I’m fascinated by this photo. I’m fascinated by all photos. I’m fascinated with this entire family.

Thanks for hanging on this long! Be sure to check back for updates on our projects around the house, as well as an intro into that historical figure connection. Any guesses on who it is?

Stay sweet, friends,

3 Responses

  1. I know you may have already pursued this option, but when I was trying to find any property line records for my 1939 house, I went to the county archives. I looked at phone directories, city counsel meetings about zoning, even my neighbor’s property. I found a treasure trove of letters written by neighbors (people often donate their paper archives) a notice about movement of an entire block of houses, a neighborhood one-plane airport (now a garden center), important people in our city. Each presented a new lead, and it was FUN. I also search postcards., so if you have a local postcard club, they may help. This is great for finding advertising. Good hunting!!!

  2. 1st Photo, Automobile : 1909 – 1910 Inter-State 40Hp Model 30 Touring

    Manufacturer : 1909 – 1919 Inter-State Automobile Co. – Muncie, Indiana.

  3. Emily, as a Belleville history hobbyist, it is refreshing to see when another shares common interests. Sometimes, when I ask myself why I care, I think of Sir Edmond Hillary’s answer when asked why he climbed a mountain. “Because it’s there.” Best regards. jw

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