And, no, it doesn’t appear as if the photos had been in the basement of 8900 Fairview Avenue for decades and decades, long-forgotten glimpses into Brookfield’s past. The photos were there for about six years.
That’s what Linda Kampschroeder, former co-owner of the Salt Creek Wine Bar, told the Landmark on Feb. 10.
According to Kampschroeder, the photos were given to her by the daughters of Anna May Johnson, a longtime Brookfield resident and former co-owner of Johnson Funeral Home.
“When Anna May Johnson died, her daughters came in from out of state to go through the estate, and found a treasure trove of old photos, etc.,” Kampschroeder wrote in an email. “They weren’t in town for long, so they couldn’t hang around until someone from the [Brookfield] Historical Society was contacted. They also liked to visit the wine bar when they were in town, and, over a glass of wine, told us their dilemma. So we offered to store them in the basement.”
Kampschroeder said there were a few attempts to get the photos to the Brookfield Historical Society, but it never happened for whatever reason. When Kampschroeder sold the wine bar in December 2012, she said she told the new owner about the photos and mentioned the photos to Village President Kit Ketchmark last summer at the farmers market. But the wine bar closed soon afterwards, and the photos remained in the basement of the building.
John Johnson, the son of Anna May and owner of Johnson Funeral Home, said he remembered that after his mother died, his sisters combed through their mom’s belongings in the apartment above the funeral home where she lived.
“When my sisters found these things, they wondered what to do with them, and I suggested giving them to the historical society,” Johnson said. “They had also struck up a friendship with Tom and Linda [Kampschroeder], and that’s the connection.”
Johnson said he wasn’t sure how his mom came to obtain all of the photos, though he said she was involved in many local organizations, including the Brookfield Historical Society. She also had been involved in the organization of the Brookfield Diamond Jubilee in 1968, he said.
Anna May and Raymond Johnson assumed ownership of the funeral home in 1949, according to a piece written by Anna May for the book Brookfield, Illinois: A History published in 1994 to mark the village’s centennial.