Fifteen-year-old Irma Weiskopf (b.
lived in a six-room
flat at 4939 Champlain in Chicago with her mother,
siblings and maternal grandfather. She was the
daughter of the Rosa Schwarz Weiskopf (1859-1951)
and the late Adolph Weiskopf (1854-1897). She had
three siblings, two older and one younger.
Irma's brother, David W.
Weiskopf (1885-1970), found her body at Rolston's
funeral home. Burial was probably in the Waldheim
Jewish Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois.
Irma was one of eight hundred students at the South
Division High School at 26th and Wabash, and
probably a good student. She had received an
academic medal upon graduation from the Frances
Willard school in June 1903. A replacement for
the South Division High School was under
construction at Prairie and Thirty-third. Dubbed the
Wendell Phillips High School, striking galvanized
iron roofers delayed completion for three months.
Students were due to make the switch to the
new school in January 1904, after the Christmas
holiday. Irma did not have the opportunity
to join her friends at the new school.
In 1880 Irma's father, a young immigrant from
Czechoslovakia, had owned a hat store on the first floor of the Honan's Block building at 108 Main Street in
Woonsocket, Rhode Island. He employed his landlord and future father-in-law,
Joseph Schwarz, as the shop's manager.
Adolph and Rosa's two oldest children were born in
Rhode Island; Irma and the youngest son were born
after the family moved to Chicago, around 1886. A
fifth child died before 1900. Adolph worked as a
traveling salesman initially after relocating to
Chicago, for Louis Stein Hatters, and with Rosa in a
confectionary store. He later opened a grocery at
378 39th St. and 3510 Vincennes with a relative
named Harry Weiskopf. Their company was named H &
Co. Adolph was active in the Congregation B'nai
Abraham in Chicago. Adolph was only forty-three at
the time of his death, leaving Rosa with four
children aged six to fifteen.
In the years after the fire
After the death of
Rosa's father, Joseph Schwarz, around 1911, the Weiskopf family left
Chicago. Rosa and her oldest daughter, Amy Mae
Weiskopf (1882-1963) relocated to Kansas City, MO
around 1919, returned to Chicago by 1930 and in 1940
lived in Queens, NY. At that time they lived with
Ezra and Margaret Moscrip and Rosa was identified as
Ezra's mother. Not sure what that was about, maybe a
census recording error. Both Weiskopf sons, David
and Edwin, married and moved to California. David
named one of his daughters after his sister Irma. As
a young woman, she too became a teacher. Rosa
lived just long enough to endure the death of
another of her children, Edwin, the youngest.
"Lilly" Doerr (b. 1887)
was the daughter of a German
immigrant, architect John P. Doerr (1854-1912),
and Anna Rupp Doerr (1866-1939). The family lived at 4924 Champlain
Avenue in Chicago, a few doors away from John
Doerr's brother and business partner, Jacob Doer.
Lilly was a student at the Xavier
Academy. She had three siblings. The
year after the fire her sister, Anna, named her
firstborn after Lillian.
John Doerr and his brother
Jacob operated J.F. & J.P. Doerr architectural firm
in offices at 138 Washington. A third brother,
William, worked as a draftsman in the company.
He was the one who found and identified Lilly's
Before starting the
architectural firm, John Doerr worked as a car
designer for the Pullman company. A month
before the fire, the J.F. & J.P. Doerr firm was
working on large homes for William H. Morris on
Another architectural project that year was the Chicago
Riding and Driving Club on 51st St.
Among the founding officers and the promoters of the
club were Will
manager of the Iroquois Theater at the time of the
Lilly's uncle William P. Doer
(1870-1944)found and identified her body at Rolston's funeral
home. Funeral services were held at the family
home and St. Clara's Church. Her casket was
then transported via a Grand Trunk train for burial
in the family plot in St. Mary Catholic Cemetery in
Evergreen Park, IL. After her funeral,
her parents ran a classified advertisement
expressing their appreciation for condolences of
friends and acquaintances. St. Xavier's Academy at 4828 Evans Ave. held a memorial
mass on January 16, 1904 for Lillian, who had been
due to graduate from the school in June, 1904, and
Florence Corcoran and Viola Delee, who were also