Gertrude Lochner

Interview Date: November 10, 1978
Interview Location: Narrator’s home, 6724 Dempster Street, Morton Grove
Interviewer: Denise Rossmann Christopoulos
Duration: 1 hour, 36 minutes


Gertrude Lochner’s grandfather came to this area (not yet known as Morton Grove) about 1846 and settled near other friends from Germany, the Gabel and Dilg families. Gertrude’s father moved to a new house located on the north side of Dempster Street after marrying her mother, Gertrude Witty of Niles Center (now Skokie). This original homestead was located where the Prairie View Community Center is today and was later moved to its present location at 6734 Dempster Street (alongside of the Lochner’s Greenhouse). On this property, Ms. Lochner’s parents farmed, and in the interview she talks of onions being grown as their main crop contracted to Vaughn’s and their pickles being sold to Henning’s Pickle Company. The farm consisted of thirty acres.

The Lochners also ran a vegetable stand off of Dempster (before their house was moved down) and Gertrude remembers working at the stand with her sister and her brothers. Next to the vegetable stand, the family also had a refreshment stand known as the “Rest A Bit” where they sold hamburgers, hot dogs and ice cream.

After the Lochner farm had been sold, there was only approximately five or six acres left. Since the Lochners could not farm on this any longer, Gertrude’s two brothers came up with the idea of the greenhouse. They felt the only way they could build the greenhouses was to do the work themselves and they did it in the height of the Depression. The Lochners have been in business for more than fifty years and throughout the majority of that time, Gertrude ran the store end of the greenhouse business.