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Western Springs Drug Stores: Past & Present

Since 1897, no fewer than eleven drug stores have called Western Springs home. How many do you recall?

Today, the village’s only two pharmacies are located in the Garden Market.  However, early Western Springs residents were accustomed to going “downtown” to fill a prescription or buy a newspaper, comic book, candy bar, pint of ice cream, or make-up.

Now the home of G. Grant Dixon & Sons Realty, 812 Hillgrove Avenue was the long-time home of Keil’s Drug Store, which first opened in 1897. In addition to its pharmacy business, Keil’s was well known for bottling its own deep well Ginger Ale, which was served by many area hotels, restaurants, and railroads. While the family sold the drug store to Prosch’s in 1969, the new business only operated until 1972.  

Any local resident who has bought an Oberweis ice cream cone is familiar with 927 Burlington Avenue. However, few realize that this same building housed Berend’s Drug Store in the 1930’s. In 1944, Kaspar’s Drug Store bought the business (see large photo above) and operated it until 1954 when Sauerberg’s Pharmacy took over. In 1970, Arthur Stange purchased the store, but kept the well-known Sauerberg name until 1976 when he decided to rename it Stange’s Drugs. In 2001, Mr. Stange closed the store and became a pharmacist at the expanded Dominick’s store in Garden Market. 

If you’ve shopped at Casey’s Market, you’ve been to 911 Burlington Avenue. But, did you know this was home to Neill’s Drug Shop in the 1920’s? They always advertised as being “Opposite Depot”, a reference to the Burlington railroad station, which was directly across the street. During the 1930’s, the R. F. Emery Pharmacy took over this location. In 1941, Schlueter’s Pharmacy purchased the business, but in 1958 moved next door to 909 Burlington, where Snackers Cafe is now located. By 1967, Schlueter’s had moved into a new building one block east at 821 Burlington. But, due to increased price competition, Schlueter’s was forced to close, the village’s last remaining downtown pharmacy. That location is now occupied by Mécénat Bistro.

As one of the Garden Market’s original 1959 tenants, a much smaller Walgreen’s was initially located at the north end of the strip mall, with Krogers (Dominick’s predecessor) directly south. Walgreen’s even had its own fast food restaurant named Corky’s, which was located at the very north end of the mall.

Subsequently, when Dominick’s wanted to enlarge its space, Walgreen’s agreed to close Corky’s and move its store south, where L.A. Tan and the in-store Starbucks are now located. That freed up more space for Dominick’s at the north end.  

In 2001, Walgreen’s also wanted to expand and built its current store with a drive-through window, replacing Vaughan’s Garden Center on the corner of 47th and Willow Springs Road. Then, as part of a major expansion and renovation, Dominick’s took over most of Walgreen’s old space and added a Dominick’s Pharmacy.    

To view a collection of local drug store advertising from the Western Springs Historical Society archives, just click on the small images shown above.

Darren McRoy November 09, 2011 at 07:56 PM
Is there a connection between the two Kiels? Is this a well-known WS family?
Alan Gornik November 09, 2011 at 11:04 PM
Mistyped Kiel's - should be Keil's.
Melissa Madigan November 09, 2011 at 11:42 PM
Great article! I am a pharmacist who moved to this area in 2003 so this was very interesting to me.
John Devona November 10, 2011 at 12:33 AM
Glad you enjoyed it. This town has a rich history relating to pharmacies!
John Grier March 19, 2013 at 05:24 AM
Came across this. Good stuff. I remember Keils, Schlueters and Sauerburgs. Lived there 1945 -1972.

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