Iroquois Theater fire
Fourteen-year-old Robert L. Hippach (b.1889), a student at
the Gowdy School, and his
brother, eleven-year-old Archibald A. Hippach (b.1892),
were the children of Louis A. Hippach (1868-1935)
and Ida S. Fischer Hippach (1866-1940). The family
lived at 2928 Kenmore Ave. in Chicago.
Nothing was reported about
the theater party of which Robert and Archibald were
a part. It could have been made up of family
members or schoolmates; it is safe to assume they
were not alone. Newspaper reporters were
ravenous for information about victims, especially
those from affluent families, but got nothing from
the Hippachs other than funeral times and places.
If Ida took the boys to the theater but survived,
with others of their four children, the omission of
details is understandable.
Robert's body was found at
Sheldon's funeral home and Archibalds at Gavins.
The double funeral was held at the Church of the
Atonement at Kenmore and Ardmore avenues in
Edgewater, Illinois. Many of the boys
classmates were in attendance. They were
buried in the Hippach family plot in Rosehill
Cemetery in Chicago.
Louis Happach was co-owner of Tyler & Hippach, a prosperous
manufacturer of plate glass. He was from Wisconsin
and Ida from Illinois. There were two younger
children left at home after the family's Iroquois
Theater loss: Jean Gertrude Hippach
(b.1894) and Howard H. Hippach (b.1896).
In 1914 the third son, Howard
H. Hippach (1896-1914), died in an
automobile crash in Michigan. Howard worked for an
engineering firm in North Carolina. In 1912 he had
traveled with his father to New York on the
Twentieth Century Limited to meet his mother and
sister arriving on the Carpathia. The Hippach family
donated a new athletic field to the Abbot School in
Farmington, Maine in honor of Howard, who graduated
from the school that same year, the year of his
fateful auto crash. He played on the school baseball,
football and basketball teams. The family of one of
Howard’s friends, John Giles Mohler of Columbus,
Ohio, donated a new field house in Howard’s name,
including a portrait of Hippach.
In the summer of 1915 Jean
Hippach was riding in a car driven by her chauffeur,
Hugo Carlson, on Lakeshore Drive in front of the
Lincoln Park Sanitarium when the Diedling family of
six crossed the road and eight-year-old John
Diedling jr was hit. Carlson and the boy's
father hurriedly got him in the car and took him to
the nearest hospital where he died on arrival.
Jean's suitcase containing her riding boots was in
the car at the time of the accident. While she
and Carlson were out of the car, a thief stole the
suitcase. The Diedling's sued the Hippach's for
$1,000. ($25k today).
In 1922 police foiled a series of bombing targets
among Chicago companies, including the Tyler &
Hippach Plate Glass Company. The plotters were labor
leaders turned mobsters.
Ida Hippach left an estate of $85,000 to Jean in
1940 (comparable today to $1.5 million), who by that
time had married Hjalmar Unander-Scharin of Sweden.
They later divorced and Jean lived in Osterville,
Massachusetts at the time of her death in 1996. She
had three children.