Forgotten Merchants: Hollenbach Seed Company

On the building at 808 W. Lake Street on the Near West Side, the name HOLLENBACH is in big letters.

The Hollenbach Seed Company was founded by Peter Hollenbach, a German immigrant, in Chicago in 1877. He was originally on West Randolph then North Halsted and finally, this building, built in 1909 by Worthmann and Steinbach. Additions were made in 1919, but this is where the company finally settled. Peter managed the company for 50 years, finally retiring in 1927. His son Charles, who started working for the company when he was only 14, then took over the business. Peter died suddenly three years later at the age of 80.

The company did eventually move out of this building in 1958, relocating to Algonquin in the Northwest suburbs. Charles passed in 1961 at the age of 82. There is little mention of the company anywhere after the 1960s.

The building, which is on the market, has a very notable current interior, thanks to its present tenants.

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