Now the home of Sela Roofing, this site has a rich history. See photos of the Hanke properties by following the link below.
Christopher Hanke built his first house at this site at Huntington Ave., probably soon after he moved to the area. This house no longer stands.
In 1900 Hanke built what was often referred to as “the big house.” The house had six bedrooms, a full basement, and a dining room big enough to use as a dance floor for 75 people.
Then there was the “Little House,” which is gone now. This was the original farmhouse, its location now an apartment building.
In 1930, R.E. Hyer obtained a permit to operate 2 pumps at Excelsior and Highland [36th]. (These streets may have been realigned since then.)
In 1931 Lydia Hanke requested a permit for an oil station on Excelsior Blvd. near Highland Ave. [36th Street] This was the approximate location of the Hanke home at 4100 Excelsior, although it could have been across the street. Relatives who knew Lydia Hanke find it difficult to imagine this stately but fragile woman with her ever-present foxtail furs going into the oil business…
After the death of son Charles’s wife Amanda in 1945, Ralph Hunsaker, proprietor of Brookside Drug, moved his family to the 4100 house and lived there until 1950. One year he and Jack Leslie raised chickens in the back yard. Ralph’s daughter Nancy recalls, “We did the great chicken slaughter and cleaning which was followed by some chicken eating.” Presumably no Chicken Shack resulted from this endeavor.
In 1947 a Mrs. G. Bjorck applied to operate a tea room at the house.
[4100 may also have been the site of a store built in 1951 (address 4116 Excelsior Blvd.), since there is nothing between the current building and the building at 4140 Excelsior, which was built in 1949. The store was at least approved to be built at a cost of $22,500, owned by Richard A. Peterson.]
From 1952-56 the building housed the Park Nursery School. In 1952 it also had Joyce Studios, teaching tap, acrobatic, and ballet dancing.
In 1956 a Mr. Sivanich requested a permit to operate an art, dramatic, and music school in conjunction with the nursery but was denied.
In 1957 it was the office of Dr. C.R. Gustafson.
In 1958 the site was sold to State Automobile and Casualty Underwriter, Inc. of Des Moines with the proviso that the building be removed. It was threatened with destruction, but was moved to 3600 Lynn. In the process of the move, the entire third floor attic was removed.
The building now at 4100 Excelsior Blvd. was built in 1959 for the insurance company. It was designed by Armstrong and Schlichting, architects and boasted 8,400 square feet. Sela Roofing has occupied it since 1992.