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Images: #TBT Gallery looks back at Elmhurst businesses

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We look back in this week's #TBT Gallery to businesses that anchored the Elmhurst downtown area between the 1930s and 1960s.

Elmhurst, renamed from Cottage Hill in 1870, is an Old English name which means "a grove of elms." Early settlers, many of German origin, made a concerted effort to dot the barren landscape with numerous trees.

Elmhurst's third mayor Otto Balgemann, a real estate broker, was integral in getting Elmhurst's businesses established in the 1920s. Balgemann, a candidate from the People's Party formed in 1919, campaigned on the slogan ""Get Elmhurst out of the mud" because the city had no paved streets. York Street became the first street to be paved in 1921 and set the foundation for numerous merchants to conduct their business.

Many of Elmhurst's 200 businesses weathered the challenges they faced as a result of the Great Depression, while the city continued to serve as a hub for retail shopping in DuPage County. Though bank failures occurred throughout the area, supposedly no banks failed in Elmhurst.

The Elmhurst Sears store opened on the northwest corner of York and Second streets in 1937. The store carried a full range of merchandise including appliances, hardware, sporting goods and automotive supplies. After growing with the Elmhurst community for about 30 more years, Sears closed in the mid-1960s to open at the Oakbrook Shopping Center.

Soukup's Hardware was a downtown fixture at 116 North York St. from 1920 to 1998. The building was expanded and remodeled over those years, before being razed in 1999.

Chipain's Sporting Goods started in business around 1947 and was located at 126 North York St. Besides selling traditional sporting goods, the store sold letterman's jackets for those participating in sports at York High School. Before Chipain's, the property was initially built in 1900 by German immigrant Fred Wandschneider, who constructed Hotel Edelweiss.

Besides downtown businesses, the Elmhurst Industrial Park was created through the annexation of 600 acres north of Grand Avenue in 1962. Within a few years, some 120 companies had located to the area. Also, the retail shopping areas of the city spread out along Spring Rd., South York and Butterfield, St. Charles, Route 83, North Avenue, Grand, and Lake Streets.

For more information on the town's history, visit the Elmhurst History Museum.

Sears Roebuck and Co. Store stood at 170 N. York Street, the northwest corner of York and Second Streets. The store was in operation circa 1937 to circa 1964.
Sears Roebuck and Co. Store stood at 170 N. York Street, the northwest corner of York and Second Streets. The store was in operation circa 1937 to circa 1964.
Photo courtesy of the Elmhurst History Museum
Businesses in 1945 along West First Street were anchored by the Schram Buick dealership at 145-147 W. First Street.
Businesses in 1945 along West First Street were anchored by the Schram Buick dealership at 145-147 W. First Street.
Photo courtesy of the Elmhurst History Museum
People walk along the west side of York Street, looking south from 124 N. York Street in 1965.
People walk along the west side of York Street, looking south from 124 N. York Street in 1965.
Photo courtesy of the Elmhurst History Museum
A view of York Street looking north from the Chicago & North Western Railroad tracks around 1965.
A view of York Street looking north from the Chicago & North Western Railroad tracks around 1965.
Photo courtesy of the Elmhurst History Museum
The Jewel Food Store located on the north side of Schiller Street looking east from York Street in May of 1966.
The Jewel Food Store located on the north side of Schiller Street looking east from York Street in May of 1966.
Photo courtesy of the Elmhurst History Museum
The Elmhurst Bicycle and Key Shop on the north side of West First Street in September of 1945.
The Elmhurst Bicycle and Key Shop on the north side of West First Street in September of 1945.
Photo courtesy of the Elmhurst History Museum
A view of York Street looking north from First Street in the 1960s. Businesses include W.T. Grant Co., Pfund & Clint Florist and Walgreens.
A view of York Street looking north from First Street in the 1960s. Businesses include W.T. Grant Co., Pfund & Clint Florist and Walgreens.
Photo courtesy of the Elmhurst History Museum
Elmhurst Federal Savings & Loan Association was located at 131 W. First Street and Northern Illinois Gas Company had offices at 129 W. First Street.
Elmhurst Federal Savings & Loan Association was located at 131 W. First Street and Northern Illinois Gas Company had offices at 129 W. First Street.
Photo courtesy of the Elmhurst History Museum
An Elmhurst Furniture Company truck is parked in front of the Elmhurst Furniture Company at 134 N. York Street around 1930.
An Elmhurst Furniture Company truck is parked in front of the Elmhurst Furniture Company at 134 N. York Street around 1930.
Photo courtesy of the Elmhurst History Museum
The Elmhurst bartenders picnic group gather for a photo in 1936.
The Elmhurst bartenders picnic group gather for a photo in 1936.
Photo courtesy of the Elmhurst History Museum
Interior view of the Elmhurst Furniture Company at 134 N. York Street around 1930.
Interior view of the Elmhurst Furniture Company at 134 N. York Street around 1930.
Photo courtesy of the Elmhurst History Museum
A view of the York Theatre at 150 N. York Street and the west side of York Street, looking south around 1931.
A view of the York Theatre at 150 N. York Street and the west side of York Street, looking south around 1931.
Photo courtesy of the Elmhurst History Museum
The Elmhurst Ford dealership, also known as Elmhurst Motors, shows its night lights at 183 N. York Street around 1965.
The Elmhurst Ford dealership, also known as Elmhurst Motors, shows its night lights at 183 N. York Street around 1965.
Photo courtesy of the Elmhurst History Museum
Photo courtesy of the Elmhurst History MuseumPfund & Clint Florist & Gifts at 123 N. York Street moved its business to this location around 1967.
Photo courtesy of the Elmhurst History MuseumPfund & Clint Florist & Gifts at 123 N. York Street moved its business to this location around 1967.
Press Publications was located at 112 S. York Street. The firm was at this location circa 1933 until closing in 2000.
Press Publications was located at 112 S. York Street. The firm was at this location circa 1933 until closing in 2000.
Photo courtesy of the Elmhurst History Museum
A view of York Street looking north from First Street showing the York Street business district in 1937.
A view of York Street looking north from First Street showing the York Street business district in 1937.
Photo courtesy of the Elmhurst History Museum
Moses' Barbershop and Stemple Bicycle Shop was located at 140 and 142 S. York Street in 1966.
Moses' Barbershop and Stemple Bicycle Shop was located at 140 and 142 S. York Street in 1966.
Photo courtesy of the Elmhurst History Museum
A view of North York Street and Burton's Shoes looking southeast from the alley near 112 N. York Street in 1968.
A view of North York Street and Burton's Shoes looking southeast from the alley near 112 N. York Street in 1968.
Photo courtesy of the Elmhurst History Museum
Cars line the street in front of Elmhurst Memorial Hospital on Schiller Street and Berteau in 1946.
Cars line the street in front of Elmhurst Memorial Hospital on Schiller Street and Berteau in 1946.
Photo courtesy of the Elmhurst History Museum
An aerial View of downtown Elmhurst in 1957.
An aerial View of downtown Elmhurst in 1957.
Photo courtesy of the Elmhurst History Museum
Soukups Hardware Store at 116 N. York Street looking northwest. Soukups was at this location circa 1921 -- 1998.
Soukups Hardware Store at 116 N. York Street looking northwest. Soukups was at this location circa 1921 -- 1998.
Photo courtesy of the Elmhurst History Museum
A view of Mahler Block at 124-126 Park Avenue, looking southwest.
A view of Mahler Block at 124-126 Park Avenue, looking southwest.
Photo courtesy of the Elmhurst History Museum
Chipain's Sporting Goods and the Elmhurst Surplus Mart were located on the west side of York Street around 1965.
Chipain's Sporting Goods and the Elmhurst Surplus Mart were located on the west side of York Street around 1965.
Photo courtesy of the Elmhurst History Museum
Walgreen Drug Co. was located at 100 N. York Street on the northwest corner of York and First Streets in 1946.
Walgreen Drug Co. was located at 100 N. York Street on the northwest corner of York and First Streets in 1946.
Photo courtesy of the Elmhurst History Museum
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