In 1926, the two-story building on the southwest corner of Burlington and Lawn was constructed at the then-significant sum of $125,000. See first photo.
The initial list of tenants included the fledgling Western Springs State Bank, the even smaller Western Springs Building & Loan, as well as offices of doctors, dentists, and realtors.
In 1931, the building was in the news when the bank was held up by gunmen, who took $4,500 amid a hail of bullets. Three people were wounded, including one of the armed robbers.
In the 1940’s (and well into the 1980’s) the north façade of the building housed a variety store, also called a “5 and 10 cent store”. Another tenant during World War II was the local Office of Price Administration, which managed the rationing of food stamps, gasoline, and other scare commodities. And, of course, the second floor offices continued to house dentists, doctors, and lawyers. In fact, at one time, even the noted artist Charles Vickery had a small upstairs studio.
In 1952, the building became home to the U.S. Post Office. Note the post office sign above the corner entrance. See second photo.
But, in 1967, a new post office was built at 4479 Lawn Avenue, resulting in a large amount of vacant first floor space. In addition, the Western Springs State Bank also moved out when it decided to build a brand new building on Wolf Road, now home to the Heartland Bank.
But, the space at Lawn & Burlington would not remain empty for long. By the end of 1967, the Western Springs Savings & Loan had outgrown its space at 817 Burlington. So, it acquired the space formerly occupied by both the State Bank and the Post Office. It also totally remodeled the first floor, including removing the corner entrance and replacing all of the arched windows.
But, who could have predicted the numerous financial institutions that would occupy the space in subsequent years:
1975 - Tower Federal Savings & Loan
1982 - Freedom Federal Savings & Loan
1988 - Household Bank
1996 - Harris Trust & Savings
2005 - BMO Harris Bank
And, while the building no longer houses a “five and dime” or variety store, that space is occupied by Clever Girl, (see photo) which features an ever-changing mix of clothing, jewelry, accessories, gifts and home décor.
Each week, the Western Springs Historical Society presents a “Blast from the Past”. To view prior stories, visit us at www.westernspringshistory.org.