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Museum History

Family History

Frederick William Müller was born in Teterow, Mechlenburg-Schwerin, Germany, on July 1, 1848(9). His father, Jacob Wilhelm Leonhard Christian Müller was a merchant who died in Teterow in 1866. His mother, Sophia Wilelmina Christiana Sass Müller died the following year. Frederick was the eldest of five children. He received a fair education according to German customs and worked as a clerk in his father’s store before traveling to the United States. On Frederick’s arrival to this country in June 1868, he traveled to Chicago. There, he found employment with Sass and Hefner, manufacturers of soda water until March 1872. Louis Carl Henry Sass, one the partners of this firm was Frederick’s half-brother.

He arrived in Arlington Heights, then known as Dunton, Good Friday, March 1872. Here Frederick and his half brother became partners forming the company Sass and Brother, manufacturers of soda water. The bottling works were located at what is now 116 S. Dunton St. Their partnership only lasted until the end of 1872 when Frederick purchased his half brother’s interest in the company and formed F.W. Müller Carbonated Beverages.

Frederick and Elizabeth Sievert, daughter of Frederick and Catherine (Geils) Sievert, were married on March 14, 1873. Elizabeth was a native of Hanover, Germany. The couple resided in a home at 110 S. Dunton. In 1882, Müller built the home and soda factory on the corner of North Vail and West Fremont St.

Frederick and Elizabeth had five children, Minnie, William C., Marie C., Henry F. and Adeline A.

Frederick, known as “Pop” Müller, retired from the family business in 1923. His two sons took over the business renaming it Arlington Club Beverages. F.W. died in 1925.

Minnie, the eldest child of F.W. and Lizzie Müller, married Nathaniel Moore Banta on July 17, 1901. Her husband was the first president of the Arlington Heights Park Board and Minnie was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of A.H. They had a daughter named Elizabeth, and she married Herbert E. Müller on June 18, 1927. Minnie died on January 19, 1963 in Old Orchard Manor Nursing Home, Skokie, Illinois. Nathaniel died on February 5, 1932 at the age of 65.

William C. was born 1876-married Mary Putnam. They had four daughters. Wilhelmine, Lorraine, Marie and Adeline. William died February 13, 1960 in Las Vegas, New Mexico and was buried there. He was survived by his wife Mary, 2 daughters: Wilhelmine Engel of Cheyenne, Wyoming and Lorraine Leftwich of Las Vegas, New Mexico, 10 grandchildren, and 15 great grandchildren. Preceding him in death were his brother Henry, and two daughters, Adeline (who married William Erb of Las Vegas, New Mexico) and Marie. Marie married Eugene C. Stroker on March 27, 1925 in Arlington Heights.

Henry married Huldah Elizabeth Hallen on April 26, 1906. He died October 1947 leaving his wife, daughter Mrs. Willard Pate, a grandson, and his three sisters. Huldah celebrated her 100th birthday in the Americana Nursing Home, Arlington Heights in 1982. Marie never married. She was a public school teacher. She died in 1962. Adeline never married. She sold the family home to the Historical Society in 1967 for use as a museum. She died in 1971.

Nathaniel Moore Banta was born December 3, 1867 in Rensselaer, Indiana to Henry and Mary Jane Banta. He was the eighth of ten children. He graduated at Valparaiso University and took a post graduate course at the University of Chicago. He was also a student at the Berlitz School of Languages and at the Soper School of Oratory. He was active in school teaching and administration for 16 years. For two years in Indiana, eight years as the principal at Niles Center, three years in Arlington Heights, and three years in Barrington. Banta came to Arlington Heights in 1900 as principal of the public schools. He married Minnie Muller on July 17, 1901. According to his obituary, Banta as a “leader in almost every activity of a community nature in Arlington Heights”.

He became a member of the First Presbyterian Church of A.H. in 1906. He was ordained as a ruling elder in 1908 and served as a trustee from 1915 to his death. He was acknowledged as an “earnest, energetic, and efficient leader in upholding the financial welfare of the church”. He was the first President of the Community Library Board in 1926. Through his leadership, the library became a permanent publicly supported entity in Arlington Heights in 1927. He continued as a member of the Board after it was chartered by the village and served until his death in 1932.

He was an author of 27 books, including the “Brownie Books” for children and many books about nature and bird life. His first book The Brownie Primer was published in 1905. These books were widely used as supplemental texts in area schools. He became Managing Editor of A. Flanagan and Son, Publishers, in 1906 and continued in that position until his death. As a former school teacher and principal in Arlington Heights, Banta served as President of the School Board until 1914 and under his leadership, a High School program was added. Prior to this, A. H. youth were required to attend Charles Schurz or Des Plaines High.

He also served as President of the Park Board from 192 5-1928 and was an early environmentalist. His gardens were well known in the area. His opposition to the intrusion of traffic through the town was carried all the way to Springfield in 1928 when he fought against Northwest Highway. His early leadership in preserving recreational areas was the beginnings of a highly regarded Park District. During his tenure, the District took over control of the railway parks and war memorial park.

The efforts of Mr. Banta in providing good schools, parks, and a public library made Arlington Heights attractive to developers in the late 1920’s. The developments which were begun then and which were turned to again after a depression and a World War, made the community one of the fastest growing suburbs in the Chicago metropolitan area.

Banta was also a member of Arlington Heights Lodge No. 1162, A.F. and A.M., Arlington Heights Chapter No. 992, Order of the Eastern Star, and Royal Arch Masons, Palatine Chapter No. 206. Aside from his civic activities, Mr. Banta’s principal interests were in nature. “His beautiful garden in season is famed as one of the principal beauty spots in Arlington Heights; a joy to all beholders.”

Banta died of myocarditis on Friday, February 5, 1932. He left behind his wife Minnie, and daughter Elizabeth Banta Mueller. Today, a park at Phelps and Waterman is named in honor of Nathaniel Moore Banta in recognition of his contributions to the community of Arlington Heights.


Business History

Brief History of The Beverage Company

The company was organized as “Sass and Brother” manufacturers of soda water in 1872. The proprietors were Louis.H. Sass and F.W. Müller. The bottling works were located at 116 S. Dunton. They manufactured Ginger ale, Sarsaparilla, Lemon Soda and Strawberry Soda. By 1873, F.W. Muller bought out his half-brother’s interest in the company.

The bottling works were relocated in 1882 to 500 North Vail Ave where F.W. Muller erected a brick building. The basement was used for a factory and the first floor for a home. (now part of the Arlington Heights Historical Museum complex.) F.W. Muller Carbonated Beverages delivered soda pop along the dirt roads of the Northwest Suburbs. By this time, new flavors including Lemon Sour, Klondike Fizz, Buffalo Mead and Cream Soda were added.

In 1906, the property at 110 and 112 W. Fremont St. was purchased and a new building was built.

The building housed the bottling factory, offices, and garage on the first floor and apartments for Muller’s sons William and Henry on the second floor. Mr. Muller retired in 1923 and his sons William and Henry took over the business and renamed it Arlington Club Beverages.

  • In 1945, they sold out to Harvey Shumaker and William Schild. Later Mr. Schild sold his share to Rod Wille.
  • In 1956, the plant was purchased by Robert Thompson. In 1960, Harvey and Marion Lutz bought the business.
  • In 1964, the business moved to 1326 W. Central Road in Mt. Prospect due to changes in zoning laws.
  • In 1978, the business was sold to Robert Phelps.
  • In 1986, the business was sold to Richard Vandenbark. At that time, it offered 33 flavors, and yearly sales were approximately $550,000. Its appeal was its low price, 7 and 10 oz. Bottles, freshness, and multiple flavors. Vandenbark declared bankruptcy in 1991.
  • In 2015, the Arlington Club Beverage product was revitalized and returned to the Historical Museum after partnering with Avery’s Beverages for production.

These handcrafted sodas follow the original recipes used by the Sass and Brother manufacturers in 1872, and use the finest quality ingredients including real cane sugar. Those familiar with this 140-year old tradition will rejoice. There are fourteen flavors for sale: Lemon, Strawberry, Ginger Ale, Sarsaparilla, Orange, Diet Cola, Cola, Black Cherry, Lemon Lime, Cream Soda, Golden Ginger Ale, Lime, Grape and Klondike Fizz (a mix of strawberry, orange & lemon).

Produced & Bottled by Avery ‘s Beverages, New Britain, CT.

Available at the Museum Gift Shop. All proceeds from the sale of this product benefit the Arlington Heights Historical Museum.



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