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Western Springs Had Its Own Mr. Potter

In the 1920’s, Western Springs was booming, and so was the realty business; we had our own version of the character from "It's a Wonderful Life."

If you’ve seen the iconic Christmas movie “It’s A Wonderful Life”, you’ll remember Mr. Potter who owned half of the homes and businesses in Bedford Falls.  While Western Springs had its own Mr. Potter, the only similarity was that both were in the real estate business. 

The 1924 picture above shows Richard C. Potter’s “colonial” realty office, which was located at 821 Burlington Avenue.   The building subsequently served Charles Frye real estate and, after that, Bragg’s real estate.  Eventually, the office was razed to make room for a new brick building housing Schlueter’s Pharmacy, which had previously been located one block west.  Today, that building is occupied by John Montalto Hair & Spa, as well as Mécénat Bistro & Gathering Place.

During the 1920’s building boom that preceded the Great Depression, realty offices blossomed in our town.  According to the Western Springs Historical Society archives, local realtors included Richard Potter, Allinson & Co., Cameron Fish Realty, Carroll Bragg Realtors, Knight & Wilson, and George L. Bruckert.  

Click on the advertisements shown above, which span the period from 1924 to 1928.  While you’ll see that two of the realtors’ offices were in downtown Western Springs, George Bruckert was located at East Avenue (now Wolf Road) and 47th Street, while Cameron Fish had an office on the corner of Ogden & Hampton.  

You’ll also see some amazing home prices in these ads … as little as $4,625 for a new home at the north end of town, as well as a like-new “Charming English Cottage” on a 100 foot lot selling for $8,500.

Kevin Harris October 12, 2011 at 01:10 PM
Now you pay more in real estate taxes than it cost back then for the entire house.
Alan Gornik October 12, 2011 at 02:47 PM
The retail building on this location today has "Potter Building" etched in stone along the top.
cuban pete October 12, 2011 at 11:27 PM
"Merry Christmas, Mr. Potter" George Bailey " And Happy New Year to you.... in jail." Mr. Potter
John Devona October 13, 2011 at 04:04 PM
Not sure it's the same building ... this location became the one-story Schlueter's drug store.
Darren McRoy October 13, 2011 at 05:07 PM
Inflation is a crazy thing, huh?

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