August Ekdahl was 35 and single when he arrived in Western Springs. Six years later, in 1892, he married Augusta Sophia and they had four children between 1892 and 1899. To accommodate his growing family and business, Ekdahl build a second house at 810 Hillgrove Avenue. The original house was later rented by the Pearson family. Hilma Ekdahl remembers “ The town jail was located to the rear of the little house (808) and Mr. Holden (the town Marshall) asking my mother to cook dinner, lunch or whatever if some one was kept there (jail) more than the usual time .” Her sister, Anna Ekdahl was the only girl from Western Springs to graduate from LT in 1914. She was a nurse in the area for many years before moving to California. According to her sister, “she especially liked rolling down the hill in front of the water tower”.
August was a family man, citizen, entrepreneur, and member of the SwedishChurch while Augusta was known in town for her angel food cake. She also helped to deliver many of the village’s early residents (Erickson, Bergland, Gustafason, and Johnson). After August’s death, Augusta remained in town and raised her family, including an adopted child. She also worked as a cook for many local families.
Both 808 and 810 Hillgrove have had commercial businesses and renters over the years and the original Ekdahl store was sold in 1971. Prior to its purchase and restoration by the Western Springs Historical Society, the building was home to the “Spaghetti Bowl”.
Ekdahl was an ordinary man who lived in an ordinary house in an ordinary time. The Ekdahl house is a remnant of life gone by, in an earlier era and a simpler time.