Whoops! What Happened Here in 1966?

In 1966, Western Springs was growing by leaps and bounds. So, an old, boarded-up home on prime real estate was an obvious target for a tear-down.

Built in 1888, this home at 1013 Burlington faced the Burlington railroad, just west of what is now Oberweis.  And, in its early days, it served as both a retail store and a residence. See second photo.

In 1925, Nels Henrikson sold the house to Gus Johnson and his wife, Hazel. They had their living quarters on the second floor, while the first floor was devoted to retail activity. According to historical society records, the structure once housed a bakery owned by Mrs. Christine Johnson, as well as a grocery store owned by Charles H. Vaughan.   . 

Unfortunately, Gus Johnson and his wife passed away in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, after which the house fell into disrepair. According to news reports, efforts were then made to locate the couple’s heirs, but without success. So, the village had the home boarded up.  See third photo.

After several years, the home had deteriorated quite badly. So, the village began demolition proceedings in Circuit Court, with the home finally being razed in January 1966.  See fourth photo.                    

The vacant property was eventually developed with a small brick building, which housed the branch office of the First National Bank of La Grange.  And, in 1998, the bank demolished that building and constructed a much larger facility, including space for Starbuck’s Coffee.  See fifth photo. 

This tear-down, like many, was probably inevitable. However, each one takes away a piece of the village’s history. Fortunately, such homes live on in the archives of the historical society. If you remember such a home from the past, stop by our Archives in the Grand Avenue Community Center (Tuesdays, 9 a.m. to Noon), and we’ll be glad to research it, or any other village home, past or present.


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