Collection on the Huber Family

MSS 167
2.6 linear feet (2 boxes)

Name of Creator(s):





There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Access points:

Huber family
Catholic Church -- Illinois -- Peoria County

Finding aid prepared by:

Helen Reinold, 2010.


Augustana College Special Collections
Thomas Tredway Library
639 38th Street
Rock Island, Illinois 61201

Custodial History
Historical Note
Scope and Content
System of Arrangement
Related Materials
Container List


This collection was donated to Special Collections in September 2010 by Kamy Beattie, Director of Public Relations. She found the papers in her office during a move. The papers were donated to Kirby Winn in Communications and Marketing sometime in the 2000s, by someone who had them in the family.



The Huber family included Ignatz, Catherine, Otto, Amelia, and Lilile Huber. They were a prominent family in Rock Island, Il, between 1851 and 1948.

Ignatz Huber was born on February 1, 1826 in Bavaria, Germany. He was educated as a brewer by his father and lived in Bavaria until 1849, when he immigrated to the United States. He worked in several breweries in Ohio until 1851, when he moved to Rock Island. He began work in a Rock Island brewery and became the sole owner in 1854. His brewery became one of the most important businesses in the city. He later consolidated his brewery with two others to form the Rock Island Brewing company. In 1854, Ignatz married Catherine Koehler, and the couple went on to have three children: Otto, Amelia, and Lillie. In addition to brewing, Ignatz was also a stockholder in and vice-president of the People’s National Bank in Rock Island. He served three terms as alderman for his home ward. He was the captain of the Rock Island Rifle company, a military organization, from 1858-1861. In addition, he owned property in Rock Island, Moline, Geneseo, and Davenport. Ignatz Huber died on July 28, 1910, at his home in Rock Island, at the age of 84.

Cathariana Koehler was born on January 9, 1832, in Stozback, Hessen, Germany. She attended school there until 1952, when she immigrated to the United States with her parents. They moved to Fort Madison, Iowa, and Catherine lived there until 1854, when she met and married Ignatz Huber. She joined him in Rock Island, where the couple raised their three children. Catherine was very involved in charity organizations and local social groups. Her health began to decline in 1909, after she was seriously injured in a car accident. The gas tank of the limousine she had been riding in exploded, and she suffered from burns on her head, face, and arms. Catherine Huber lived in Rock Island until her death on November 3, 1917.  

Otto Huber was born in Rock Island, IL, on January 19, 1866. He attended local school until 1884, when he began to study at the University of Illinois at Champaign. He attended the university for three years, and then spent two years at the Institute of Technology at Weihenstephan, near Munich, Germany. He graduated in 1889 and went into the brewing business with his father. He was active in the formation of the Rock Island Brewing Company in 1893. Otto went on to organize the Seattle Brewing and Malting Company, the Des Moines Brewing company, of which he was also president, and the Illinois State Brewers’ association. Otto also followed his father into banking, becoming the president of the People’s National Bank in 1903, and president of the German Trust and Savings Bank in 1912. Though he never held public office, Otto served as a member of the Rock Island park commissioners’ board. He never married, but was active in several social organizations, including the Rock Island Club, the Davenport Commercial Club, the Chicago Athletic Association, and the Elks lodge. He also held a lifetime membership in the Rock Island Arsenal Golf Club.
In 1914, Otto began construction on a large home for his family, which he never saw completed. On December 30, 1914, he suffered from a massive cerebral hemorrhage. Otto Huber was in a coma for 63 hours, until he died on January 1, 1915, having never regained consciousness. He was 48.

Amelia Huber was born in Rock Island, IL. In 1909 she was seriously burned in the same explosion that injured her mother. She recovered fully from her injuries. Amelia never married, and lived at home until her death on March 3, 1935.

Lillie Huber was born in Rock Island, IL, in 1862. Like her sister, she never married and lived in the family home on which Otto had begun construction. After the death of her sister, Lillie lived in the house alone, attended to by six servants. She was not active socially. Lillie died in August 1948, at the age of 86, with no survivors. She left the family mansion to St. Anthony’s Hospital.

Otto Huber began construction on the Huber family mansion in 1914. The 35 room home was located at 1000 30th Avenue in Rock Island. The house passed to Catherine Huber after Otto’s death, and she lived there until her death in 1917. She left the house to her two daughters, who lived there for the rest of their lives. After Lillie Huber died in 1948, ownership of the house passed to St. Anthony’s Hospital. It was converted to the Huber Family Memorial Home. This was a retirement home operated by the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. On January 20, 1955, faulty wiring in the chapel started a small fire, which quickly spread through the rest of the house. One nun and one patient died of smoke inhalation. In 1986 the Franciscan Sisters obtained a permit to demolish the building, citing that they could no longer afford to maintain it. The Rock Island Preservation Commission sought an injunction to stop the demolition. The injunction was vetoed by the Rock Island mayor and the interior furnishings were auctioned off. The mansion was demolished in December 1986.



This collections consists of two scrapbooks, one bound memorial tribute, and various photographs. 



The Title of Collection is/are arranged into the following series:

Series I. Scrapbooks

This series consists of two scrapbooks. One contains newspaper clippings related to the Huber family, obituaries of the Huber and family friends, Christmas cards, and telegrams. The second scrapbook contains newspaper clippings related to the Huber family mansion, its conversion to the Huber Family Memorial Home, a 1955 fire at the home, and the auction at the home in 1986. It also has a large section relating to the Peoria area Catholic diocese and the death of Archbishop Joseph H. Schlarman.

Series II. Photographs

This series is comprised of photos of the Huber family mansion. A large portion of them date from the 1986 auction at the house.

Series III. Miscellaneous

This series contains one bound memorial tribute to Otto Huber, issued by the Illinois State Brewers’ Association on the occasion of his death.



None known.




Series I. Scrapbooks

Huber family scrapbook

Huber Family Memorial Home scrapbook

Series III. Miscellaneous

Memorial tribute to Otto Huber

BOX 2 

Series II. Photographs

Mounted photographs of Huber family mansion
Photos of 1986 auction

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