Prospect Place falls to the wrecking ball, but iconic clock saved

  • The 71-year-old Prospect Place shopping center in downtown Mount Prospect was demolished Monday to make room for a five-story mixed-use building, but its clock and arch will be preserved.

    The 71-year-old Prospect Place shopping center in downtown Mount Prospect was demolished Monday to make room for a five-story mixed-use building, but its clock and arch will be preserved. Steve Zalusky | Staff Photographer

  • Developers are planning a five-story mixed-use building for the Prospect Place site in downtown Mount Prospect.

    Developers are planning a five-story mixed-use building for the Prospect Place site in downtown Mount Prospect. Courtesy of the Village of Mount Prospect

 
Posted9/28/2021 1:00 AM

A slice of Mount Prospect history fell to the wrecking ball Monday, when demolition crews tore down the Prospect Place shopping center.

In its place will rise a mixed-use development featuring four stories of luxury apartments above first-floor retail space.

 

But a piece of the center, built in 1950 and bounded by Prospect Avenue, Main Street, Evergreen Avenue and Wille Street, will be preserved -- its iconic clock.

For the time being, the clock will be stored by the village's public works department. Ultimately, the clock and its arch likely will be relocated on Prospect Avenue to span the street and act as a gateway to the downtown area south of the railroad tracks.

"It's like a landmark in the area, one of the older commercial plazas in town. It feels like it's been here forever," said Public Works Director Sean Dorsey. "So we're trying preserve this as a piece of it."

Dorsey said it probably will be kept for now at one of the village's water storage facilities. A flatbed truck was on hand to cart it away Monday.

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Former village trustee Steven Polit was an advocate of preserving the clock.

"We need ties from the past to the future," he said. "And this is one of our main drags in downtown, from a retail standpoint."

A small crowd gathered as demolition machinery gradually ate away at the shopping center.

It stirred up memories for the Mount Prospect Lions Club's Fred Steinmiller. He remembers how the shopping center used to house a bakery, a meat market, a women's shop, a music store and a real estate office.

Longtime resident Jill Friedrichs said she was torn between nostalgia for the center and the pull of progress.

"It's bad that it's coming down. This is a part of Mount Prospect's history," she said. "But we're making progress. I like the idea of the arch going up. It reminds me of Lincoln Square. It's going to be a nice little entry into this area."

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