Fire damages apartment in historic Rock Island building | Local crime and courts

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Rock Island firefighters are investigating the cause of a fire Saturday at one of John G. Scheuermann’s historic apartment buildings.

Deputy Fire Chief Bob Graff said the fire was reported at 3:25 p.m. at 1820 21st St.

Firefighters who arrived on the scene found smoke and flames coming from a second-floor apartment at the south end of the building.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze.

No one was in the apartment at the time and no injuries were reported, Graff said. No damage estimate was available.

The apartment buildings were built by Rock Island entrepreneur and developer, John G. Scheuermann, born April 8, 1870 in Hechingen, Zollernalbkreis, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The family immigrated to Rock Island. Scheuermann married Edna Mae Gingles on December 31, 1891.

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According to a Rock Island Argus article dated Friday, December 31, 1937, the first of three apartment buildings was going up at the corner of 21st Street and 18th Avenue, and was expected to be ready for occupancy by April 1, 1938. The cost of this building was $28,000, or $568,353 in 2022 dollars, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator.

Each of the units was to be of similar design, two stories high with an English-style basement and a gabled roof, according to the Argus story. “A mere 24-inch excavation is required, making the basement virtually ground level,” according to the story.

In each of the buildings, there would be three apartments in the basement, five on the first floor and five on the second floor, making a total of 13 apartments in each building. The apartments had to be two, three and four rooms.

According to the story, “every apartment should be equipped with the latest type of electric refrigerators and gas stoves. Provisions are made for abundant storage space and latest cabinetry sinks.

Scheuermann had built many “dwellings on Rock Island”, according to the story, most of them being in the western part of town. He had also built a number of houses on 42nd Street between 18th and 20th Avenues.

Scheuermann died on November 14, 1960, aged 90, and is buried in Calvary Cemetery, Rock Island.

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