Feeling Nostalgic for an Ancestor I’m Still Getting to Know…

Final resting place of my great-grandfather Thomas Keating (1832-1915), a Chicago contractor and builder from about 1860-1910 who helped rebuild the city after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

Final resting place of my great-grandfather Thomas Keating (1832-1915), a Chicago contractor and builder from about 1860-1910 who helped rebuild the city after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

CX_ancestor prayer copy

Thomas Keating was  mason and contractor for the Kankakee Insane Asylum, in 18__.  Still standing, and on the Register of Historic Places, this massive hospital complex, known   today as the Shapiro Developmental  Center, continues to serve residents of Illinois.  Keating also built the Chicago Times Building; a mansion for that newspaper's publisher, William Storey; and a number of churches in Chicago during his 50 plus year career.

Thomas Keating was mason and contractor for the Kankakee Insane Asylum, built in 1877. Still standing, and on the National Register of Historic Places, this massive hospital complex, known today as the Shapiro Developmental Center, continues to serve residents of Illinois. Keating also built the Chicago Times Building, below, in 1875; a mansion for that newspaper’s publisher, Wilbur F. Storey (under construction from 1878 to 1884); and a number of churches in Chicago during his 50-plus year construction career.

Times Bldg 1875 copy - Version 2Obit_Thomas Ktg short

I’m still doing research on  those other structures you built, Thomas. Don’t worry, I’ll find them. And I’ll be sharing them right here when I do…

_______

Copyright © 2014 Patricia Desmond Biallas

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This entry was posted in Biographies, Cemeteries, Chicago History, Family Legends and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Feeling Nostalgic for an Ancestor I’m Still Getting to Know…

  1. Jana Last says:

    Wow! What an amazingly talented man your great-grandfather was! It’s so cool for you to be able to see and touch the very buildings he helped to build in Chicago.

    By the way, I love that poem!

    • Thanks, Jana. That poem (by an anonymous author which I came across on Pinterest), was the inspiration for doing this photo post on my great-grandfather. I love knowing that a part of this man resides within me ~ never thought of our relationship that way prior to reading these enlightening verses. This poet speaks the truth!

  2. donnycr says:

    I had a great great grandfather who owned a masonry business and built churches, schools, and a prison in and around Brookline, Ma. Everytime I go by one of those structures I can’t help but to envision himself and his children building the structure in the late 19th century. Hope you find more buildings!

    Donny

    • Thanks, Donny. I’m working on it! Hoping to learn more next month through research facilities at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago History Museum which I understand have quite a bit on Chicago’s early building industry. If you have any further tips for me on researching an ancestor like yours, please pass them on. I could definitely use some additional guidance!

      • donnycr says:

        The only advice I can really give that was really helpful to me in identifying my g-g-grandfather’s work was obituaries. Not only his, but future generations as well. If it was a well known company in the Chicago area with a large amount of work there might be a good chance some of that work is mentioned in obituaries.

        Donny

      • Great idea, Donny. I actually first became aware of my great-grandfather’s accomplishments in his wife’s obituary. (I guess there wasn’t much to say about the woman who gave him 8 children other than the fact that she was married to a man who was productive in other ways as well!) I’ve done a bit of obituary research on some Keating descendants, but have a lot more to do. Maybe, like you I will strike gold! Thanks for prompting me in that direction once again.

  3. Eva Goodwin says:

    Ooo I love this. I have an ancestor who left an architectural mark as well; the ones that leave a delible mark (buildings, bridges, art, music, writings) are so rare and I so appreciate finding them.

    • Isn’t it cool, Eva? I can’t wait to find out more about Thomas Keating’s accomplishments. What did your ancestor build and when and where did he build it? Do you have any photos? Does it still exist? If you have a blog, you’ll have to post about it. If not, it would make a great initial post!

      • Eva Goodwin says:

        He was a real estate developer in San Francisco. His most lasting legacy is a famous restaurant on the cliffs of Big Sur overlooking the Pacific Ocean a few hours south of San Francisco (restaurant is called Nepenthe, and I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone traveling in that area! It’s worth a visit just for the property and the views). You’re right, that would make a good blog post!

  4. Lorene says:

    Love the poem and the photos, Pat!

  5. Laura says:

    These ancestral tangibles are great indeed!
    My husband’s great grandfather William August Kriner was a stone carver who arrived in America at age 5. Living in St.louis, MO. He saw an advertisement about a war monument being built in Indianapolis. It is our soldiers and sailors monument, it is an oblisck and has a circle drive around it. That is why Indy is referred to as ” the circle city” (I know Pat, it’ll make a good blog post) ;o)

    • See, Laura, I didn’t have to even say it! (But I will anyway–yes, it would make a great post, so start writing!) I circled that monument a number of times during my daughter’s college years at Butler University in Indianapolis and it’s quite impressive! Thanks for following me on GeneaJourneys!

    • Laura, that is so cool! I have been around “the circle” in Indianapolis many times, and of course there are other references: Circle City Classic, the Circle City Mall, etc. Actually, Indianapolis has the 2nd-highest number of war monuments after Washington, D.C. So cool that you know that about your ancestor!

  6. Pingback: How Obituaries can be a Tremendous Source of Family History. | An Amateur Genealogist's Musings

    • Donny ~ Thanks so much for mentioning my post (“Feeling Nostalgic for an Ancestor I’m Still Getting to Know”) on your blog (“An Amateur Genealogist’s Musings”) in your post at http://researchingfamilytree.com/ ) on using obituaries to find those long lost relatives. It seems we both have relatives from northern NY: my great-grandfather Jeremiah Desmond (1818-1897) and many of his descendants lived near Madrid, NY in Lawrence, North Lawrence, Potsdam, Brushton and Brasher Falls! I found most of my information about them (obituaries and other news items) in those northern New York newspapers at: http://news.nnyln.net/ Thanks for reminding us all about that valuable source.

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