242 Park Avenue – Max Krasne
Unique in the neighborhood with its massive red tile roof is this house built in 1924 as a retirement home for Max Krasne and his wife, Fannie.
Max Krasne was born in 1857 in Poland which, at that time, was under Russian rule. Fannie Krasne was born in 1863. Max and Fannie were married on December 9, 1882. They had eight children, three of whom were born in Poland. They were of the Jewish faith.
According to his obituary, the family came to the United States in 1886, settling first in Fremont, Nebraska. Ten years later, they moved to Oakland, Nebraska. Max operated a general merchandise store at both places.
Max and Fannie brought their family to Council Bluffs in 1918 where he established the M. Krasne women’s ready-to-wear apparel store in the 400 block of Broadway. He retired in 1926.
Fannie died in 1939. According to the 1940 U.S. census, Lawrence Krasne (son-in-law and distant relative, also named Krasne), Leah (daughter) and their two children, Stanley (14) and Leslie (10) also lived in the house at 242 Park Avenue.
Max Krasne died in 1944. He was 87 years old. His obituary states: “He is survived by five sons, Frank of Los Angeles, CA, Michael, Mose and Joseph of Fremont, and H.W. (Hyman) Krasne of Kansas City, MO; and one daughter, Mrs. Lawrence (Leah) Krasne of Council Bluffs.” He was buried at the Bnai Abraham Cemetery, Fisher Farms, in Bellevue, NE.
Lawrence Krasne was associated with the Peoples Store, in the ladies apparel department on the first floor, as was his wife, Leah, and his son, Leslie.
The Peoples Store was founded in 1907 by Louis and Morris (Mose) Bernstein, and George and Frank Krasne on the site of the former Rhoda Eiseman Peoples Store.*
Sophia and Morris Bernstein lived three doors down the street from the Krasne family, at 210 Park Avenue.
The Peoples Store, located at 308-320 West Broadway, included a grocery store, ladies, mens and childrens clothing, dry goods, housewares, a shoe department and a hardware department. The store closed its doors for the last time with the advent of urban renewal in the 1970s.
The Italian Renaissance house at 242 Park Avenue is listed as “contributing” in the nomination of the Park/Glen Avenues district to the National Register of Historic Places and “may be individually eligible”. It has a brick foundation, and stucco and brick walls. The impressive two-story house with a hip-roofed ell features a massive tile hipped roof with wide eave overhang and a small hipped dormer on the front roof slope; a massive corbelled brick chimney; and a small gable-roofed portico front porch that features a tile roof, stucco and wood faux half-timbering in the gable end, and massive square brick full-height posts. The ell side of the house is actually a two-story enclosed sleeping porch over a sunroom and is original to the house design. The house remains in much of its original condition.
Members of the Krasne family lived here until 1983.
*The Rhoda Eiseman Peoples Store full-page advertisements in the Nonpareil can be found on microfilm at the Council Bluffs Public Library. The Henry Eiseman & Co. store at 418 West Broadway (the address was later changed to 501) was owned by Henry and Simon Eiseman who, by 1886, also owned the Rhoda Eiseman Peoples Store. Both stores closed in 1890. The building at 418 West Broadway housed Western Iowa College for a brief period and, in 1900, it was purchased by the John Beno Co.
The Eisemans lived at 134 Park Avenue.
Preserve Council Bluffs acknowledges the following sources of information for this series: National Register of Historic Places nominations, the reference department of the Council Bluffs Public Library, the auditor’s office of the Pottawattamie County courthouse, individual research and, for this story, Sue Krasne McKinley and Harold Bernstein.
Preserve Council Bluffs is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and preserve the heritage of Council Bluffs through its architecture, sites, and people.
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