Smith, Peter, Sr.
Peter Smith, Sr. was a master bricklayer who recycled bricks from the Great Chicago Fire to build his home in late 1871. Scorching and soot stains from the Great Chicago Fire are still evident on the brickwork! Even more incredible is the fact that the house has never been tuckpointed. The long-lost formula for Smith's mortar cold make some entrepreneur very wealthy today.
Peter Smith, Sr. was a prominent member of the community, then called Ridgeville Township, and served as Justice of the Peace prior to his death in 1876. His son, Peter Smith, Jr. had a daughter Louise who married Fred Fortman and thus began the Fortman family ownership from 1894 to at least 1995. The Smith and Fortman families were originally from Prussia and devout Roman Catholics who worshiped at St. Henry Church a half-mile South at Ridge Avenue and Devon Avenue.