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Collection on the Huber family

Identifier: MSS 167

Scope and Contents

The collection on the Huber family, 1897-1986, contains scrapbooks, biographical information, news clippings, and photographs related to the family and its home, the Huber Family Memorial Home. The papers are arranged into three series.

Series I. Scrapbooks This series consists of two scrapbooks. One contains newspaper clippings related to the Huber family, obituaries of Huber family members and 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 an auction at the home in 1986. Included in this volume is a large section relating to the Peoria area Catholic diocese and the death of Archbishop Joseph H. Schlarman.

Series II. Photographs This series contains images of the Huber family mansion. A large portion of the images 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.


  • 1897-1986


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from Augustana College Special Collections and the copyright holder.

Historical Note

The Huber family included Ignatz, Catherine, Otto, Amelia, and Lillie Huber. They were members of the Rock Island, Illinois, community between 1851 and 1948.

IGNATZ HUBER Ignatz Huber was born on 1 February 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 local 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 six children, three of whom lived to adulthood: 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 to 1861. In addition, he owned property in Rock Island, Moline, Geneseo, and Davenport. Ignatz Huber died 29 July 1910 at his home in Rock Island, at the age of 84.

CATHERINE HUBER Cathariana Koehler was born 9 January 1832 in Stozback, Hessen, Germany. She attended school there until 1852, 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 3 November 1917.

OTTO HUBER Otto Huber was born in Rock Island 19 January 1866. He attended local schools 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 30 December 1914, he suffered from a massive cerebral hemorrhage. Otto was in a coma for 63 hours, until he died on 1 January 1915, having never regained consciousness. He was 48.

AMELIA HUBER Amelia Huber was born in Rock Island in 1857. 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 3 March 1935.

LILLIE HUBER Lillie Huber was born in Rock Island in 1862. Like her sister, she never married and lived in the family home that her brother, Otto, had built. After the death of her sister, Lillie lived in the house alone, attended 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.

HUBER FAMILY MEMORIAL HOME 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, a retirement home operated by the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. On 20 January 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.


0.8 Cubic Feet (/ 2 boxes)

Language of Materials



The Huber family, a prominent family in Rock Island, Illinois in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, included Ignatz, Catherine, Otto, Amelia, and Lilile Huber. Ignatz and Otto were instrumental in the founding and management of the ROck Island Brewing Company and People's National Bank in Rock Island, as well as several other businesses and organizations in the Midwest, primarily related to brewing. The collection on the Huber family, 1897-1986, contains scrapbooks, biographical information, news clippings, and photographs related to the family and its home, the Huber Family Memorial Home.

Custodial History

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 had been given to Kirby Winn in the Office of Communication and Marketing sometime in the 2000s by an unidentified member of the extended Huber family.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Received from Kamy Beattie, September 2010.

Processing Information

Processed by Helen Reinold, 2010. Revised by Atticus Garrison, May 2016.


Collection on the Huber family, 1897-1986.
Atticus Garrison
May 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Augustana College Special Collections Repository

639 38th Street
Thomas Tredway Library
Rock Island Illinois 61201 United States