702 S. Market St., Marion, Illinois

702 S. Market Street appears to have been built very shortly after the turn of the century for Charles W. Schwerdt. It was built specifically for Shwerdt by Robert Sparks, a local contractor who also built the Marion Opera House at 400 N. Market St. I suspect this house was built ca 1902 ,not long after Charles married Bertha Cantor in December of 1900, because they are occupying the home by 1907 and photos were made for the 1905 Souvenir History Book in 1904.

Charles Schwerdt was born in Indiana in 1858 and was living in Evansville, Indiana in 1894. By the late 1890’s he had made the move to Marion, Illinois and began operating a store on the square called Schwerdt’s Bazaar. The store was located at 902 Public Square in a building called the New York Store on the south side belonging to F.M. Westbrook. Schwerdt’s store sold home furnishings and necessary items for the home. Some of his ads indicate hardware and cutlery, tin and graniteware.

Having a German father and being a retail businessman put Charles at the top of the list as a suitor to the daughter of Manhiem Cantor. Manhiem was a full blooded Prussian German immigrant and also a retail businessman living with his two daughters at 512 S. Market St. When Charles married Bertha Cantor in 1900 they established their new home at 702 S. Market, only two blocks from her parents.

After Manhiem Cantor’s death in 1912, his widowed wife Sarah came to live with the Schwerdt’s and that is where she stayed until her death on February 4, 1933 at the age of 75.

Charles and Bertha Schwerdt didn’t ever have any children. I never did find death records for either of the two but what I did find was that Charles was still going strong at 75 when his mother in law died in 1933 though the depression had likely killed his business. He was selling groceries on a commercial level in the 1930’s. The house was still listed in his name in city directories up to 1955 then switches to Bertha Schwerdt’s name in 1965.  Bertha was born in 1879 so she made it well into her mid 80’s at least.

The 1970 directory indicates ownership by Bennie L. Hartman and his wife Margaret. Bennie was a corrections officer with the Marion Federal Prison at the time.

1980 thru 1985 show Patrick Wehrung as the owner. Patrick was an employee of Old Ben Coal Company.

Beyond this I have no records of ownership and am not certain of current ownership.

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(Data from 1905 Souvenir History, Federal Census Records, Marion City Directories; compiled by Sam Lattuca on 03/14/2013)


702 S. Market St., Marion, Illinois — 4 Comments

  1. Bruce and Linda Mitchell bought the house in 1991. We . told when we bought the house that it was built for the Schwedt’s as a wedding gift? How true that was, one will never know. The house was sold by Linda Mitchell to Dr. Scott in December 2014.

    • The house could very well have been a wedding gift. His father in law Manheim Cantor was a very well to do businessman, but I’ve yet to verify the gift theory. Thanks for updating the history. BTW, Bertha was a friend of someone I know. When she knew her time was short, she gave my friend a box of photographs of her and her parents families. Most are unidentified, but there was no one else to pass them on to. I have since passed the box onto the Williamson County Historical Society.

  2. The house is currently owned by Gary Schafer and Linda Mitchell and is up for sale.
    The front porch was demolished by a massive maple tree in the 2009 wind storm, and was built back exactly to its previous specs.

    See 604 South Market and 600 for two more houses north of this that deed records record as 1902 completed houses– currently the McShannon house at 604 and the Jeter house at 600.

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