Brizzolara Mausoleum

Brizzolara MausoleumThree generations are interred in this mausoleum, following the maternal line.

There is space for two more but the top two niches are currently uninscribed, and with the most recent interment dating only to 2014, if another generation is destined to join their ancestors, it may be many, many years before they do.

The oldest and original interments in this mausoleum are Louis (1864 – 1909) and Louisa (1873 – 1927) Reppetto Brizzolara.

Louis was born in Italy and immigrated to the US as a teen. He was almost ten years older than Louisa, born in Chicago.

The couple married in 1892 and had only one child, daughter Isabelle (1894 – 1990) who is also interred in the family mausoleum. When Louis passed away in 1909 at only 45, he left behind an estate roughly the equivalent of $4 million in today’s money.

He’s listed as something that’s been scribbled over in the 1900 census and someone guessed “bookkeeper,” but he also said that he could not read or write and later records show that what his actual profession was saloonkeeper. Additional records show that he was heavily involved in real estate with several acquisitions on Madison in downtown Chicago (near where he and his little family also lived along with their live-in housekeeper).

In 1910, Louisa, then a young widow of only 37, was listed as the proprietor of the saloon. She and Isabelle, 15, no longer had a servant living with them. The remaining censuses I can find through 1940 do not include any servants for Louisa or Isabelle, though it’s clear the family had money, so either they had only day help after 1900 or Louisa and then Isabelle preferred not to have servants. Perhaps that was something Louis thought was important, but his wife and daughter did not.

In 1920, Louisa and Isabelle (who at that time was very recently married to a young Greek immigrant named George [1894 – 1985]) were still living on West Madison, and Louisa was still running a saloon even though Prohibition was set to start in eleven days from the date they answered the census-taker’s questions. Louisa also listed real estate as an occupation. George owned a restaurant of his own.

Louisa passed away in 1927, having by that time moved out to Oak Park. Whether she’d sold out and decamped rather than deal with the Prohibition restrictions or what, the public records don’t say. She was quite young, though, a widow at 36 and dead at 47. Very sad.

In 1930, Isabelle and her husband were also living in Oak Park with their three children, and George’s occupation had changed to being only real estate. It’s likely the family made the move west from the city together. It would not be surprising for the family to have cleared out of the city as things heated up under Prohibition, and Oak Park was still quite handy to the city if Louisa and then George continued to have business that needed dealt with there.

The 1940 census finds the family still in Oak Park, still in the same rented flat (in an old, elegant courtyard building). The children are all teenagers but still at home.

Both Isabelle and George lived well into old age, seeing not only grandchildren but great-grandchildren born. In 1954, their oldest daughter Doris (1920 – 2014) married her husband John (1923 – 1990) at the relatively late age for the time period of 34. She and her husband are the most recent interments in this mausoleum, with Doris, like her mother Isabelle, living past 90. If this tradition continues one more generation, perhaps someday Doris’s eldest child and partner will join them.

RIP Brizzolaras and your many generations of descendants.

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