Julius Bruhnke--everyone called him
Pop in his expansive old age--
knew the town's "Pop."
In 1907, Bruhnke
bought ten acres
from the town's founder,
They fronted 330 feet east
on Euclid from Dryden,
and reached south to Miner.
Bruhnke commissioned Mr. Schulenberg
to build a square frame house
for his family,
putting in heating and plumbing himself.
Enterprise paid the bills.
Bruhnke sold shoes to women
at Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company.
If you like my shoes, he told
his friendly clientele,
you will love
my White Leghorn eggs
collected from my new henhouse
on my property that was once Dunton's
in my town once called Dunton.
Soon he bumped
to the North Western station
each morning juggling two grips,
each containing fifteen dozen eggs.
From the Jefferson Park station
he pursued his egg route to fortune.
When egg profits
bought a Chevy,
he expanded his clientele--
again from Carson contacts--
to the North Shore,
and expanded his line.
Wife and daughter Elsie
bunched glistening spring asparagus
picked bundles of peonies dewy at
plucked the chickens
which didn't roam freely in Wilmette
as they did in Arlington.
Saturday mornings, Elsie minded the car
and did her homework
while her father paraded
his North Shore Carson-contacts route,
trading bounty from his land
for revenue to pay for the land
It was a good trade
for the part-time shoe salesman.
When the old order changed,
yielding place to new in 1957,
he was left behind,
symbol of the village that was.
He had been mayor 16 years.
Strong, knowing, responsible,
but no yuppie.
At eleven, he told his mother
he'd left his fifth grade schoolbooks
on the railroad tracks
and wasn't going back to St. Peter's.
He was old enough
to help support the family.
He was big at eleven.
Later his son described him as 270-275 pounds,
with "forearms as big as hams.
He could sling a bathtub around.
I saw him carry a cast iron radiator
on his back to the second story
of St. Mary's School in Buffalo Grove."
For him, Creamery Package
was truly "Creamery College."
He learned the skills to set up
a plumbing contracting business
with fellow employee Ernie Malzahn.
Running for trustee in 1928 was "a natural move.
He knew every street, sewer, water line,
had good working knowledge of the community
because of the business."
He was mayor 1941-57.
He wasn't without vision.
Old frames stores were replaced downtown.
Stonegate and Scarsdale expanded.
New manufacturers moved in.
But a plumber/mayor did not fit
commuters' image of a leader.
Selection by caucus,
a professional village manager,
fulfilled the new job description.
At retirement, he could still lift
one hundred pounds
in spite of his arthritis.