Eldin H. Lougee was born in Campton, New Hampshire, in 1868. Two years later, his family moved to Plymouth, New Hampshire, where he received his education. Following graduation from high school in 1886, he went to Johnsburg, Vermont, where he worked as a clerk.
He arrived in Council Bluffs in the fall of 1887 and began working as a clerk in the Council Bluffs Savings Bank, the bank he later headed, according to his obituary.
After working at the bank for two years, he returned to New Hampshire as a partner in the dry goods business where he had previously worked, but, within six weeks, he returned to Council Bluffs. He was employed in the loan office operated by J. D. Edmundson and Ernest E. Hart from 1890 until 1897, when he bought an interest in another loan company and became a partner with his uncle, Frank C. Lougee.
He purchased his uncle’s interest in the company in 1906 and continued alone in the real estate and loan business. For many years his loan agency was the largest independent agency in the United States, with branch offices in several Midwestern cities.
Eldin Lougee was one of the earliest promoters of Christmas decorations for the streets of Council Bluffs. He had a leading role in negotiations to build the Hotel Chieftain. He was a city councilman from 1900 to 1904, a past president of the Council Bluffs Real Estate Board and the Rotary Club, a three-time president of the Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Elks Lodge.
During World War I, after serving successfully as local chairman of the second and third Liberty Loan bond drives, he was called east to fill an important executive post with the American Red Cross as a dollar-a-year man, according to his obituary.
On June 12, 1906, Eldin Lougee married Caroline Schoentgen, daughter of Mary and John Schoentgen, and younger sister of architect Edward P. Schoentgen. Edward Schoentgen built this house at 301 Oakland Ave. for his sister and her husband while they were on their honeymoon in Europe.
Schoentgen studied architecture for two years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and for two years in Paris, at the Ecoledes Beaux arts as a pupil of Jean Louis Pascal, in the French provinces and in Italy. As an architect, he established offices in 1899 in St. Louis, then in Council Bluffs with Frederic E. Cox (Annals of Iowa). He retired from the Cox & Schoentgen firm in 1910 to become the vice-president of the Groneweg & Schoentgen Co., taking over his late father’s position in the family’s wholesale grocery business. He became president of the company in 1931.
The buildings designed by Cox & Schoentgen during their decade of work in partnership included the Groneweg & Schoentgen Co. Warehouse, the Council Bluffs YMCA building (listed on the National Register of Historic Places), and the Denison Carnegie Public Library.
This impressive Foursquare house on the large corner lot at Oakland and Fletcher avenues gives a hearty welcome to visitors to the Lincoln/Fairview Historic District.
The two-story square house with ells has a hipped roof with wide eave overhang and hipped dormers on the roof slope. The exterior is clad with wood shake siding, with horizontal bands at the first and second floor breaks, and large wood shake-sided porches on the south and west sides. There is a porte-cochere on the north side with a driveway leading to the original garage that matches the house. The windows include original cross-muntin panes over single pane windows.
When Eldin Lougee died in 1956 at age 87, he was the city’s oldest financier, according to his obituary. He was chairman of the board of directors of the Council Bluffs Savings Bank and owner of the E.H. Lougee Co. Mr. Lougee served as president of the Council Bluffs Savings Bank from 1949 to 1951 following a merger with the First National Bank.
Caroline Lougee continued to live in the house until her death in 1971. The house has had only two owners in its 110-year history.
The Lougees are buried in Walnut Hill Cemetery.
– 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, Council Bluffs Community Development Department, homeowners, family members and individual research. Mary Lou McGinn can be reached by email at email@example.com.