The Story of Englewood, Gerald E, Sullivan, 1924
Very early in the eighteenth century the land about Chicago was taken up, even before the Indians had ceded their right to it to the United States Government, and it was possibly not until 1840 or 1842 that the land upon which Englewood now stands was entered for settlement in the Government Land Office at Chicago. There is a confusion both as to names and dates as well as the exact description of this land. One entry would show it to have been entered by a man named Bailey, while the name of Wilcox is also entered for land just west of that entered by Bailey. Inasmuch as Bailey did locate on a tract of land south and east of what is now South Chicago and a stage station was located upon it, known in the old coaching days and now as Bailey Town, the first station south of Ainsworth or South Chicago of today, the claim to the Englewood land may have been entered by Wilcox.
Land speculators and exploiters of all kinds flocked to this rich territory and the Illinois Legislature as well as the Lmited States Congress was flooded with bills for special privileges, stage coach lines, canals and even the newly tried railroads were agitated for and, in the spring of 1852, the first railroad was built through Englewood and on to Chicago. It was known as the Michigan Southern & Northern Indiana Railroad, afterwards the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern, and is now a part of the great New York Central System.
The Michigan Southern & Northern Indiana, later the Lake Shore and now the New York Central Lines, was laid through Englewood February 20, 1852, and was opened through to Chicago May 22 of the same year. This was soon followed by the Chicago & Rock Island, then the Chicago, Pittsburgh & Fort Wayne, and then the Wabash & St. Louis, then the Louisville, New Albany & Chicago, then the Chicago & Atlantic and the Nickel Plate. These eight important lines of railroad connected Englewood and other suburban towns with the city and was the means of rapidly increasing the population and material growth of the suburbs.
Mr. David R. Tipton tells us that when he came to Chicago in 1864, there was no Englewood and even Chicago Junction was a transfer house or shed and the depot was at 62nd Street. Mr. Clark, the then agent, lived in the depot. A few scattered houses along the track and the roadhouses and tavern on State Street, were the only per- manent places of residence. He has still in his possession the following document which may he termed the official birth of Englewood.
In the latter part of 1852 the Rock Island was built, coming from the west, and formed a junction and crossed the Michigan Southern at what is now 63rd and La Salle streets. There was a large grove of oak trees in this vicinity, and the name applied to the district was Junction Grove. Two years later the Fort Wayne Railroad was built and formed a “junction” which made it almost a railroad center, and Junction Grove began to grow. Houses sprang up in the neighboring locality in groups, as pleased the builders, rather than with any definite view of a future city. Previous to the coming of the railroads the “Grove” was a stopping station on the old stage road from the east, which came by way of Michigan City, City West and Bailey Town. The two last towns were in the sand dunes of Indiana. The last change of horses before reaching Chicago was where 63rd Street now crosses Indiana Avenue, following Vincennes Road to 37th Street, then Cottage Grove Avenue, into Chicago. This was the old Indian trail from Chicago to Fort Wayne and was probably the first road of importance built south and west to the village of Chicago.
It was about 1868 that Mrs. H. B. Lewis suggested the change in the name from The Junction to Engiewood. The name Engiewood is derived, doubtless, from the home of the ancient outlaws, Adam Bell, “Clym of the Cloughe,” and William Cloudsley. These noted characters before the days of Robin Hood and his merry men, made their home in the forests of Engiewood, near Carlisle, in England. Many centuries later the name was given to an early settlement in New Jersey and in 1868 was suggested by Mrs. Lewis, who formerly resided there, as a fitting pseudonym for that part of the Town of Lake which now bears the name. At that time the locality was literally a forest of luxuriant oak trees. When the settlers came, the oaks Avere wantonly cut down and the maples and elms which today shade the streets and avenues of Engiewood have been planted in recent years to take the place of those which were originally placed by the hand of nature.
Chicago Tribune, January 17, 1862
Post Office Changes.
The following Post Offices in Illinois were established, discontinued and changed, by the Department, during the month of December:
Established—Junction Grove, Cook County.
Discontinued—Matangas, Mason county.
Changed—Ashby, Coles county, to Hutton; Cherry Grove, Carroll county, to Lanark; Port Clinton, Lake county, to Highland Park; Rattlesnake, Lake county, to Sacramento; Spring Valley, Carroll county, to Shannon.
Chicago Evening Post, October 7, 1868
Englewood Residence Lots.
Among the numerous temptations held out to city residents to break their civic ties and pitch their tents among green fields, and in the face of fresh prairie breezes, scarcely any contend that in attractive features with the property offered for sale bear the Rock Island Junction, and euphoniously named “Englewood.” The lots on Michigan, Wabash and Indiana avenues, in the neighborhood of Sixtieth and Sixty-first streets, which constitute this charming district, are now in the market. The Illinois Central and Dummy Railroad, together with the Michigan Southern, Rock Island and Pacific, and the Pittsburgh and Fort Wayne roads, run fourteen daily passenger trains, having a terminus in the Union Depot, at the rate of twenty minutes. The railway passage is rapid and comfortable, and the contrast between sweltering in a city and pleasurable daily retirement to the suburbs is immeasurable. These lots, which are high and beautifully wooded, are to be sold by Hubbard & Co., 78 La Salle street, and prospective settlers in the outskirts of Chicago would do well to take a glance at Englewood.
The Land Owner, August, 1869
ENGLEWOOD—This suburb is probably attracting more attention at the present time than any other around Chicago, for several reasons, which it is proposed to set forth in this sketch, and to illustrate which more fully we hve called to the engraver’s art, and present our accompanying cartoon, from a glance at which its location and natural advantages can be easily understood, and the sites of its schools and other buildings seen.
Englewood is situar=ted seven miles south of the Chicago court house. The position commands a delightful view of tye prairie on the west; the lake and Cottage Grove, with the Douglas University and Monument on the south, looking towards the north the city rises in a gloomy cloud of smoke. In point of accessibility to the city, this point is all that could be desired. It is only twenty minutes by either the Chicago and Rock Island or Michigan Southern trains, whose tracks, crossing here, trains are always stopped for a sufficient length of time for passengers to get off or on the cars. The Pittsburgh and Fort Wayne railroad also passes directly through the place, which runs four special trains every day, especially for the accommodation of Englewood. The Rock Island railroad has also put on an accommodation train which runs to Englewood six times a day, thereby greatly increasingbthe already superior accessibility of this point. All the above railroads sell commutation tickets, at the rate of twenty for $2, making the fare each way only ten cents, the price of a Wabash avenue or Broadway omnibus. Besides these ways of gettingbthere, it is very pleasant drive up the avenues and across the prairie.
On the 19th of March last, the supervisors of Cook county, by a popular vote, located the Normal school at Englewood, the buildings for which are now in process of erection. They are designed by John K. Winchell, Esq., the well-known architect, at 129 Dearborn street. The building is brick, with a dressing of Athens stone. It has a large stone basement containing a gymnasium, laundry, play-room, etc. This basement is ten feet high. The first story is fourteen feet in height, the second sixteen, and the third eighteen feet. The main structure is eighty-eight by a hundred and forty-one feet, the height from the ground ton the top iof the roof being seventy-two feet. Over the structure will rise a tower, in nthe Italian style of architecture, of a neat and pleasing appearance, and around either side runs a long covered verandah.
Another educational building is also to be located here—the Chicago Female University. The main building is to be 180 feet front, with wings extending 136 feet in the rear on either side. It is to be five stories high, with Mansard roof, the centre being surmounted by an observatory and tower 130 feet in height. The wings will each be surmounted by a minaret, adding much to the general appearance of the structure. The building will have a clear frontage of 452 feet, and will cost two hundred thousand dollars.
The location of these buildings, as well as those being constructed by private enterprises, appear on our cartoon.
We desire, just here, to call attention to the “University subdivision” of Englewood, which is the property of the well-known gentlemen, L.C. Pitner and B. Newman. This tract is well situated—near the school buildings, the depots, etc., and is very desirable residence property. Either of these gentlemen can be consulted at No. 152 Madison street. Stewart avenue, which is 100 feet wide, runs near this tract.
There will also be noticed on the cartoon a beautiful block of land in Englewood, lying between Sixty-second and Sixty-third streets, and Poucher Avenue and Halsted street. This tract is in the hands of George Barnet, Esq., Real Estate agent at No. 151 La Salle street (see subdivided plat of the same on page 45) and is fine residence property, for those desiring choice homes un this suburban village. A portuon of this plat comprises the extensive fruit garden of Mr. Crocker, where that gentleman grows many different kinds of fruits, and which, by the way, is well worth a visit.
Messrs. Young & Rowley, at 100 Madison street, Messrs. Hulburd & Co., at 78 La Salle street, and J.P. White, at 152 Madison street, also have elegant Englewood property on sale at their respective offices.
Negotiations are now in progress between several large landholders and Messrs. Burdett & Co., manufacturers of the celebrated “Burdett organs,” for the establishment of their extensive manufactory at Englewood, at the point indicated in our cartoon. As The Land Owner goes to press, these negotiations have so far progresses, and the parties are so near together in their figures that there is not a reasonable doubt that this great manufactory will soon be one of the features of this delightful suburb.
BURDETT AND CO’S ORGAN MANUFACTORY.
In this connection we desire to add a short sketch of these extensive works, which are a pride to the west, where manufacturing is fast beginning to be developed. The present establishment is located on Sedgwick street, near Chicago avenue, and is if itself a large structure, but so extensive has the business become so great is the demand for the Burdett organ, that it is far too small to turn out the number demanded by the market. In consequence of this, larger works must be built, and they will without doubt be located at Englewood, as it is a very desirable railroad centre, and easy of access to the city.
The present establishment employs seventy men in its various departments, and turns out 150 instruments per month. They are known as the “Burdett,” “Burdett Combination,” “Burdette Celeste,” and “National Organ.” These organs possess great power and several other advantages over any others in the market, a fact well-known to musicians, and hence the great demand for them. Messrs. Lyon & Healy, corner of Clark and Washington streets, are the general agents for the manufacturers, at whose elegant store these instruments can be examined at any time.
The works for which Mr. Burdett will erect at Englewood will be enormous in extent, and calculated to accommodate his increasing business for the future. The main structure will be 150 feet front, with 100 feet wings running back on either side, four or five stories high, and built of brick. It will accommodate 150 workmen, and the firce will be so increased that 300 organs per month will be turned out, instead of 150 the present capacity of his works.
The location of this establishment at Englewood will tend materially to advance the price of real estate there. Its position is such that it would not interfere with the fine residence property, as the character of the article manufactured will attract many visitors. Chickering’s great piano manufactory is located in the very heart of the residence portion of the fashionable “south end” of Boston, a fact immaterial in itself, but which proves that the presence of such an establishment will be no detriment to Englewood as a residence suburb.
Chicago Evening Post, September 16, 1869
The laying of the corner-stone of the new County Normal School building at Englewood, to-day, was made the occasion of a grand celebration, and, with several thousand citizens, a day of enjoyment and festivity. That an occasion of such moment should be honored by the people, is proper, and the rejoicing of this day is but proof that they are alive to the educational interests of the county, and a little brief time could not be more appropriately used than in a public rejoicing over the event mentioned.
The new building is to be a noble one—a standing monument of the liberality of the people of Cook county, and an edifice which they will feel proud of. Its erection will give a new impetus to the growing cause of education in this county, and the advantages afforded by it to our youth cannot be underrated.
The designs have been furnished by Mr. J.K. Winchell. of this city. The edifice is to be in the Roman style of architecture, and will measure 89 feet front, 142 feet deep, and 51 feet high. Surmounting the roof will be of brick, trimmed with stone. The walls will be of brick, trimmed with stone. There will be four stories and a basement. The roof will be of the Mansard style, and built in a tasteful manner. The interior will be handsomely finished, and the best material will be used.
The rooms will be well adapted for the purpose intended, and so arranged that communication and access will be easy, and the space in each ample enough for many years. The best means for ventilating buildings will be used—that known as the steam fan system. The boiler for heating the room will be in a separate building, erected especially for the purpose, so that there need to be no fear of an explosion doing harm to the pupils in the school building. The grounds will be fenced and laid out in a style commensurate with the handsome institution which will soon be erected upon them, and when the whole is arranged the Cook County Normal School will be among the noted educational institutions in the land.
Northwest Corner 59th and Halsted Streets
Chicago Evening Mail, April 22, 1872
Englewood, next to Chicago, the most easy of access at the junction of the Pittsburgh and Fort Wayne, Michigan Southern, and Rock Island railroads, six and a half miles south of this city. Chicago has, for the past few years, been rapidly enlarging her borders, and extending her arms in every direction, not the least of which have been the southern movements. More especially has this progressive spirit shown itself subsequent to the fire of last fall, when many, taking advantage of the real estate and other inducements, pushed so far sunward that now Michigan avenue, Indiana avenue, Kankakee avenue, and State street, each 100 feet wide, and built the best gravel all the way to Englewood, are lined with neat, attractive dwellings, many of which are really handsome, and which make the entire distance seem more an extension of Chicago than a drive into the heart of this delightful suburb. In noting the advantages of such a village as Englewood, we will first speak of how to get there, and then what’s to be seen when there.
RAILROAD ACCOMMODATIONS, ETC.
The railroad arrangements are of the most convenient character. There are 22 daily passenger trains to and from Chicago, each of which is required by State law to come to a full stop. These trains reach Englewood in twenty-five minutes after leaving the depot, which is less time than it takes to ride half the length of any horse car road. For those who may be desirous of attending devine service in the city on Sunday, seven trains run each way/ The commutation tickets are but little more than ‘bus or horse car fare. One hundred ride tickets are sold at the ticket office for $8 and twenty rides for $2. There is also an omnibus line, which has been in operation about six weeks, and makes three trips a day each way. Single fare on the ‘bus is 15 cents, and the length of the ride an hour. This ‘bus stands at the Postoffice at Harrison street. The follow is the Railroad
Since this table was compiled the M.S.R.R. have put on another train, due at Englewood, Indiana, every morning at 9:35, and leaves Chicago at 4:20p.m., thus making the entire number of daily trains forty-four. Having ascertained how and chosen the road by which to reach Englewood, we will now see what is to be seen there. The first great object of interest to intelligent city and county readrs is
THE COOK COUNTY NORMAL SCHOOL.
It will be remembered that the Normal School was formally and originally situated at Blue Island; but was removed to its present location by the action of of the Board of County Supervisors, whi accepted the liberal offers which the property owners and others of Englewood made them, the protests of Blue-Islanders to the contrary, notwithstanding. The interesting institution is located in the southern part of Englewood, about a quarter of a mile from the Rock Island depot. The building was erected on the present site in 1869, and is model of architectural skill, admirably arranged for the multitudinous uses to which it is put. It is handsome externally and commodious internally, four stories in height, has a tall tower or observatory on the top, and is the centre of a twenty-acre lot of well laid off grounds. The building was comparatively cheap, and has been exceedingly serviceable. D.S. Wentworth, Esq., is the excellent and efficient principal, whose success in his literary and educational labors in Chicago and elsewhere are ample proofs both of his ability and energy. He is assisted by a corps of teachers whose whole time and thought are devoted to their profession of teaching the young idea how to shoot. The thoughtfulness of the manner and the individual responsibility which it implants, allowing each student to fashion and fix his own particular character, are features of the school which push it to the front rank of educational institutions. The building contains nineteen rooms, besides halls and clothes rooms. There is on the fourth floor a large, well ventilated and pleasant hall, with accommodations for seating upwards of 1,000 persons, and in which the annual exercises of graduation take place. There are in all four departments, the Normal proper, the High School, the Intermediate and the Primary School.
IRA A. SHHUERTLESS
is principal of the High School, and has in training a class which will be ready for college in a year. He is assisted by Miss E.A. Merglee, who teaches music, drawing and German. W.C. Dodge, a graduate of the school, has charge of the Intermediate, and Miss Sarah Curtiss of the Primary School. In this connection an important feature of the school ought to receive more than passing notice. Mrs. Addie B. Benedict, an artist of the high order and acknowledged ability, has opened a studio in the building, and her paintings which decorate the walls are simply gems of artistic genius. There re several, especially a sea shore scene, which we consider equal to anything from the easel of Rembrandt. The intellectual part of our being is naturally followed by the physical, and a brief mention of the
STORE, MARKETS, ETC.,
may show that Englewood is not a-wanting in that particular either. There are in the centre of the village three grocery stores, three meat markets, one dry goods store, one drug store, and one hardware store. Each of these are managed by business men who keep on hand an abundant and varied stock of the articles in their special line. There is, in addition to these, a cistern manufactory of considerable dimensions. Jevne & Almini, dealers in artists’ materials, have a large establishment for the making of stained-glass, which the people of Englewood consider quite an acquisition.
THE TELEGRAPH, EXPRESS AND POST OFFICES.
The telegraph and express offices are at the railroad stations, which have large and comfortable waiting-rooms for the convenience of passengers. The operators in the telegraphy department are skilled and experienced. The postoffice is east of the railroad track and on an extension of State street It has a daily mail each way, and ought to have, if they have not already, the Evening Mail every day.
CHURCHES, MINISTRIES, ETC.
The churches are three in number, Methodist, Baptist and Presbyterian; the two former worship temporarily in a hall and School house, and the latter occupy and own a roomy edifice west of the track. Rev. Walter Forsythe, formerly of this city, is the popular pastor of this church. The other ministers are Rev. C. Garrison, Baptist, and the Revs. Messrs. Stokes and Stout, Methodist. Services are held regularly every Sabbath by each of these churches, and their Sabbath schools are in a flourishing condition.
PARKS, WATER, ARTESIAN WELLS, ETC.
The largest park in Englewood contains thirty-five acres of fine, arable land, and is called Beck’s Park. It is adjoining the Normal School grounds, and is beautifully situated. Many improvements have been made upon it, there being now one thousand trees planted. It has two lakes, numerous hills and knolls, many fine walks, and extensive lawns. The lakes are supplied with water by an artesian well which produces 800 gallons per minute. The well water of the town is of the most delicious taste, and can be struck almost anywhere in abundance by going a few feet below the surface. There is a fifty-acre grove east of State street whose superior can not be found in the county.
POPULATION, HOUSES, ETC.
It is very difficult to give an accurate estimate of the population of Englewood, both because of its rapid growth and developing character. Its inhabitants number not less than 1,500, nearly all of whom do business in Chicago. The society is composed of the best families, none other receiving either place or patronage. There are, perhaps, 300 houses, some of an architecture at once skillful and handsome, neatly and tastefully surrounded, and all betokening happiness, hope, home. One firm has in contemplation and process and process of erection from forty to fifty dwellings, well adapted to the wants of many who intend making their homes in suburban towns.
It will be seen that in almost all respects Englewood is admirably adapted to meet some of the growing wants, and its people undoubtedly propose their liberal offers to make it one of the most desirable residence retreats that fringe and beautify the outskirts of Chicago.
Bird’s-Eye View of Englewood
Englewood Rock Island Depot
North: 55th Street; South: 75th Street; West: Ashland Avenue; East: State Street.
“X” indicates location of Holmes’ Castle, at 63rd and Wallace Streets. However, despite what a popular novel claimed, there was no devil at the 1893 Columbian Exposition. The criminal Herman W. Mudgett (H. H. Holmes). Mudgett was already being hunted by the Philadelphia police for the murders of his partner and his family. Mudgett was tried and hung in Philadelphia on May 7, 1896. However, for sensationalism, newspapers of the day hinted that the correct total would be nearer 200, pointing out that great numbers of persons who visited the Fair in 1893 disappeared. It was neither possible nor necessary to trace the fate of each of Holmes’s victims.
Englewood Times, February 6, 1906
The year 1905 was the most prosperous Englewood has known, and every indication is that there will be even greater expansion in business throughout the current year.
Recently bank reports show that Englewood financial institutions are among the most successful in the city. One local bank, in fact, paid its stockholders the highest dividends during the year of any national bank in Chicago.
In the stores there has been a decided increase in the volume of business over former years.
Real Estate in Englewood is now showing a more active demand than for many years, and a steady, healthful increase in values of both business and residential properties is apparent. More new buildings, both commercial blocks and dwellings, are in course of construction than ever before and ground will be broken soon for a number of other projected business blocks of stone, granite or brick.
Englewod is that part of Chicago between W. 55th st. and W. 75th st. and W. 75th st. S. State st. and S. Ashland ave. It has at this time a population of nearly 200,000.
Englewood has more and better schools and churches than any community of comparative size in the United States.
All of the east half of Englewood from S. Halsted st. to S. State st. is strictly a prohibition district and very few saloons are to be found in the residence district west of S. Halsted st.
There are two union depots in Englewood used by 10 railroads, each of which has suburban as well as regular trains. There are main street car lines on S. State st., S. Wentworth ave., S. Halsted st., Centre ave. (now Racine ave.) and S. Ashland ave. There are cross town street car lines on W. 59th st., W. 63rd st. and S. Wentworth ave. The S. Wentworth ave. line will soon be completed to S. Centre ave. to give Englewood the best facilities of any outlying area in Chicago.
Englewood has a complete retail shopping district of not only small stores but large well-stocked establishments in the hands of competent and enterprising business men.
Six good banks, two newspapers, two theaters and two fine public parks make this the best local business and residential district of Chicago.
Englewood is a center of culture and has the Chicago Normal College and a fine library where the intelligent people find much to interest them.
Notwithstanding the fact that Englewood is, politically speaking, a part of Chicago, it is, in all commercial and social significance, a municipality in itself, possessing all the advantages of being able to paddle its own canoe and ride on the topmost waves of properity and progress.
It has the most progressive merchants, the soundest banks, and the finest churches and schools and the best business colleges, excellent fire and police protection, good mail service, modern business blocks, substantial homes and wealth.
The prosperity and growth of Englewood during the past year has created an activity in building almost unprecedented in the history of this city.
This has been made possible only by public spirit and loyalty of the citizens to the home town merchant. The disposition of shoppers to buy at home where everything is offered fron furniture to clothing, food and drink, jewelry and other luxury items.
Electric Trolley Car
Francis Gregory, Conductor, was a long time resident of Englewood, from his birth in 1876 till 1940.
Suburbanite Economist, February 16, 1906
A potent factor in making Englewood a popular trading center is the excellent department store of Becker, Ryan & Company, located at Sixty-third and Halsted streets. Quite recently this popular establishment has enlarged its building by the addition of two stories and adding to its stock in new lines and increasing old ones in a manner that has almost doubled its former capacity. Now the house occupies four floors and a basement with an aggregate of 93,750 square feet of floor space—upwards of two acres. Its wares and prices compare favorably with the downtown stores of the same character. and it possesses the advantages of plenty of room, daylight and efficient help and plenty of it.
The basement is used for various lines of goods. It is nicely finished, well lighted, has cement floors and ample room for display.
The main floor, which has entrances on both Sixty-third and Halsted, cotains complete stocks of clothing, dry goods and drugs. The latter department—a “Cut-rate” drug store, being reached from the Sixty-third street entrance.
Second floor departments are boots and shoes of all the leading manufacturers, upholstery goods, muslin underwear, corsets, infants’ wear, cloaks, suits and millinery, including all kinds of ready to wear garments for women and children. General business offices for the house are also located on this floor.
The third floor departments include carpets, rugs, mattresses, furniture, pictures, and the “S. & H.” Green Stamp premium parlor. These fill one-half the third floor. The other half contains the grocery, wines and liquors market and cold storage. But a visit to the grocery and market is a startling revelation to the visitor, for nothing more complete in its appointments can be found in Chicago. Becker, Ryan & Company certainly have spared no skill or expense in its construction, for it is complete in every detail. An immense cold storage, the temperature regulated by a twelve-ton capacity ice machine in the basement, runs the full length of the market, and through plate glass doors and window displays all varieties of meats, poultry, game, butter, eggs, vegetables and other perishable commodities, separate compartments providing for each variety in storage. In another section of the market the smoked and salt meats and fish are displayed—a very large and choice assortment. Pyramids of canned and bottled goods of every description are tastily arranged throughout the grocery department, and special sales are always in evidence on staple articles which the house has secured at a bargain.
The fourth floor is devoted entirely to storage, and by having so much available space always at hand the firm is enabled to buy large quantities on a declining market and give its patrons the benefits of its profits. This is an advantage over the downtown stores (where high rents mean cramped quarters) the reader will readily appreciate.
Becker & Ryan Building
Northeast Corner of 63rd and Halsted Streets.
Telephone Wentworth 1200 reaches the firm’s private exchange which connects all departments of the store. The Lamson Electric Cash Carrier system, propelled by a motor in the building, reaches the counting room from all parts of the store, and eight cashiers are kept busy with change and accounts. As many as two hundred and fifty employes have been on the pay rolls of Becker, Ryan & Company at one time, efficient help and prompt service being a maxim of the house. Electric freight and passenger elevators convey passengers and goods to all floors of the big store, and a new elevator is now being added to meet the demands of increased business. Upwards of $40,000 has been expended during the past six months for improvement, and still more are being added.
The firm of Becker, Ryan & Company was organized four years ago when it purchased the business of S. Lederer & Company. The members of the company are Messrs. Louis Becker, Simon Becker and J.J. Ryan. Mr. Louis Becker, the senior member, who has lived twelve years in the city, was formerly at the head of the Cash Buyers’ Union on the South Side. Mr. Simon Becker, who has lived here two and one-half years, was formerly a resident of New York, where he was engaged in the manufacture of leather goods. Mr. Ryan was formerly manager and buyer for S. Lederer & Company, whom the firm of Becker, Ryan & Company succeeded in business. The familiarity of all members of the company with various departments of trade and with business matters is a general way makes an exceptionally strong firm—one whose business is certain to go steadily forward and keep fully abreast with the increasing demands of trade. Residents of Englewood have shown their appreciation of the opportunities afforded by this new department store, and its business is showing the rapid and highly satisfying increase which its enterprise deserves.
63rd and Halsted Streets
63rd and Halsted Where the Elevated R. R. and Interurban Meet
Suburbanite Economist, September 24, 1929
Controlling interest in the Becker-Ryan and company department store, at the northeast corner of 63rd and Halsted sts., was acquired last Saturday by Sears, Roebuck and company, when a deal was closed withe Thomas J. Madden, Max J. Adler, H.A. Loeb, Martin R. Burns and Henry L. Stern, owners of the Becker-Ryan concern.
The consideration involved in the transaction was undisclosed.
Mr. Madden is the vice-president and general manager of the Becker-Ryan concern, and under the new regime he will remain as head of the institution. All employes of the concern are to be retained.
It is understood that Mr. Madden will assume charge of the retail business of the Chicago stores of the Sears, Roebuck organization soon after the first of the year.
Jeran to Be Superintendent
N,W, Jeran, general merchandise manager of the Becker-Ryan concern, will have a position of considerable importance in the retail merchandising operations of the entore Sears, Roebuck organization.
Plans for the erection of a new building on the present site of the store are indefinite, according to Robert E. Wood, president of Sears, Roebuck and company. It is understood, however, that a new building will replace the present four-story structure in the near future.
The Becker-Ryan store is the eighth which the Sears, Roebuck organization operates in Chicago. With the acquisition of the Becker-Ryan concern bringing the volume of business to nearly $30,000,000 annually, the Sears, Roebuck institution becomes the largest mercantile organization in the city. The Becker-Ryan concern alone is credited with an annual business of nearly $5,000,000.
At Fifth Busiest Corner.
The importance of the acquisition of the new holdings, in the opinion of Mr. Madden, hinges on the fact the Becker-Ryan concern is an individually trained and specialized organization, the influence of which will extend beyon one store.
Another significant point in the transaction is that the intersection of 63rd and Halsted sts. is regarded as the fifth in importance in the country.
The only other corners which have a higher rating in respect to traffic and commercial importance are the intersections of State and Madison sts., Chicago; 42nd st. and Broadway, New York City; Broad and Chestnut sts,, Philadelphia, and Market and Geary sts., San Francisco.
The Becker-Ryan store has 50 departments and employs 450 clerks. The concern has 20 individual buyers.
Ground 216 by 125 feet in extent is covered by the store structure.
63rd and Halsted Streets
Chicago Tribune December 10, 1933
Chicago is to have a new $1,500,000 five story department store, which will be one of the largest Sears, Roebuck & Co. retail units in the country, employing 1,000 persons. It will replaced the old Becker-Ryan store at the northeast corner of Halsted and 63d streets, and it is claimed will be the first bug department store in this city to have an air conditioning plant which will cool the atmosphere during the summer months.
Wreckers will start demolishing the northernmost sections of the old building on Jan. 2, while the main section of the present store will remain open until shortly after the first of February. From then until about the first of November, when the entire new scheduled to be finished, the oresent store temporarily will be out of business.
Eventually Eight Stories.
The new store, which will front 266 feet on Halsted street to Englewood avenues and which will have 124 feet of frontage on 63d, extending from Halsted east to the alley, will have a fifty foot tower at the corner of 63d and Halsted.
In addition the building will have foundations capable of carrying three more floors, so eventually the big department store will comprise eight stories and a basement, according to L. B. De Witt, in charge of Sears’ construction department.
The announcement of the new store, made last night by Ge. Robert E. Wood, president of Sears, Roebuck & Co., followed the signing of an agreement completing arrangements by which a big food store, bakery, and restaurant will be established by the Hillman company in the basement.
Nimmons, Carr & Wright, Chicago architects, designed the above $1,500,000 five story department store to be erected by Sears, Roebuck & Co. at the northeast corner of Halsted ands 63d streets. It will replace the present old Becker-Ryan department store, which wreckers will start removing on Jan. 2. The new store will be ready for business about Nov. 1, 1934.
Confident of Future.
Gen. Wood said:
- Our confidence that the improvement in business conditions will continue was the major factor in our decision to make this investment. If the business of Sears, Roebuck & Co. is a reliable index the upturn definitely is arriving. We venture to believe that the nation’s progress made thus far will be consolidated and advanced during the next year.
In addition to this we regard the south side of Chicago one of the finest business areas not only in this city but in the entire country, and have every reason to believe that the acceptance gained by Sears, Roebuck & Co. there will be greatly extended by the creation of this modern retail unit.
The new Sears retail unit will carry complete department store lines, and in addition the hardware, automobile tires, and accessories and electrical equipment lines featured by Sears which do not appear in most department stores. The stock, Gen. Wood stated, will comprise approximately 48,000 different items of merchandise.
Will Have Escalators.
The first, second, third, and fourth floors will be used as regular sales floors for the department store. The Hillman food store in the basement will resemble the food store operated by the Hillman company in the basement of Sears’ State street store.
Escalators with a capacity of 4,000 passengers an hour will connect the basement, the first, second, third, and fourth floors. The fifth floor will be used for store offices and stockrooms. The bakery for the Hillman unit also will occupy part of the fifth floor.
Of Modern Design.
The new store will be built of Indiana limestone, with black granite trim. The architectural treatment both inside and out will be essentially modern. According to Gen. Wood work has been progressing for some time on plans which when executed will make the new unit the showplace of the entire Sears-Roebuck retail system.
The building was designed by Nimmons, Carr & Wright, who have been architects for Sears, Roebuck & Co. in the erection of many retail stores, as well as the company’s mail order plants. Martin Schwab, for twenty years consulting engineer for Sears, will be in charge of the mechanical engineering.
Becker-Ryan & Co. were bought by Sears, Roebuck & Co. in September, 1929. The capital stock of the firm, which has been in operation since 1905, was acquired at that time by Sears from a syndicate which had operated the store for four years.