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Full Business listing

Paddock Publications
Photos Hot Dogs
Randhurst
H. Roy Berry Company
Sammy Skobel's Hot Dogs Plus
Van Driels
Wille Cheese
Wille Coal and Lumber
Wille's Tavern
Zenith Radio

 

Name of Business:                                      Paddock Publications

Does MPHS have photographs:            Yes

Address:                                                       

Is building standing:                                 

What is at site:                                           

When was business founded:                 1898

Is business still operating:                         Is now the Daily Herald

If no, when did it close:                           

Who owned business:                               Hosea C. Paddock

Interesting stories, facts, history:
Hosea Paddock began a newspaper in the developing communities surrounding Chicago. Over the years his company has been able to become the most trusted source for information in the suburbs and has successfully compete against the large Chicago papers. Paddock’s personal goals for the paper were to: “Fear God, Tell the Truth, and Make Money.” His company has continued with these goals and has survived for over a century. In this time, it has increased its popularity by reflecting the views of the readers. Paddock Publications has weathered two World Wars, the Great Depression, the dot com revolution, a fire in the offices, and a gun wielding irate reader.

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Name of Business:                                      Photo’s Hot Dogs

Does MPHS have photographs:            No

Address:                                                        1706 E. Kensington

Is building standing:                                  Yes

What is at site:                                            Photo’s Hot Dogs

When was business founded:                 October 30, 1989

Is business still operating:                         Yes

If no, when did it close:                           

Who owned business:                               Jim Photopoulos

Interesting stories, facts, history:
Jim Photopoulos got the nickname “Photo” when he was a high school student in Buffalo Grove and it stuck. Photo started working in restaurants when he was ten years old. His family ran The Round Table in Libertyville, The Forum in Arlington Heights and Artemis and Sunrise Pancake House in Mount Prospect. When he finished college he worked managing the Artemis Restaurant while looking for a spot to start his own restaurant. In 1989 he found a spot near the Kensington Business center and set things in motion. After opening the store he started a major promotional campaign, brining fliers and free hot dogs and shakes over to the receptionists at Kensington trying to drum up business. This worked and he soon had a lunch rush, sometimes serving over 300 people in an hour. He has used his successful business to give back to the community as well, offering many different clubs and organizations free food or discounts. He received both the Sam Walton Business Leader of the Year award from Wal-Mart and the Business Leader of the Year Award from the Mount Prospect Chamber of Commerce. 

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Name of Business:                                      Randhurst Shopping Mall

See also our extensive essays on Randhurst

Does MPHS have photographs:            Around 2,000 of them

Address:                                                        Rand and Elmhurst

Is building standing:                                  Yes

What is at site:                                            Randhurst Shopping Mall

When was business founded:                 Opened in 1962

Is business still operating:                         Yes

If no, when did it close:                           

Who owned business:                               Originally, Randhurst Corporation

 Interesting stories, facts, history:
    Randhurst Shopping Mall was an incredible project in its time. Built on top of one of the last farms in Mount Prospect, construction started in 1958 and opened to the public in 1962. The mall was originally constructed by the Carson Pirie Scott Company, who purchased the land through the George L. Busse Realty Company. At the time Randhurst opened, it was the largest shopping center under one roof in America and possibly the largest shopping center in the world. People traveled miles to see the first modern shopping mall. In the first month of business there were over one million shoppers in Randhurst. Those who lived in Mount Prospect at the time remember the mall being so crowded that you could barely walk.
    In the late 1960s and 1970s the Randhurst Corporation began hosting special events, such as fashion shows, children’s fairs, and educational programs. In both 1976 and 1977 the mall hosted a full three ring circus. The mall also brought in a number of celebrities such as Robert F. Kennedy, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferigno, and cast members from the “Planet of the Apes.”
    As other malls opened in the area the attraction to Randhurst declined. In the 1980s the mall went through a multi million dollar renovation adding, among other things, an upper level food court. In the 1990s the mall has brought in a number of free standing businesses around the perimeter of the building, such as Home Depot.

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Name of Business:                                      H. Roy Berry Company

Does MPHS have photographs:            Misc. Images

Address:                                                        Somewhere in Chicago

Is building standing:                                 

What is at site:                                           

When was business founded:                

Is business still operating:                        

If no, when did it close:                           

Who owned business:                              

Interesting stories, facts, history:
H. Roy Berry Company was one of the largest developers in Mount Prospect. The Chicago based company was responsible for some of the largest developments in Mount Prospect. In 1924 H. Roy Berry Company purchased the 74 acre Burke farm, which was subdivided and named Colonial Manor. The company also purchased the 164 acre Russel farm and the 83 acre Katz farm that was subdivided into Castle Heights. The company generally did not build houses in the community. They subdivided the land, platted the streets, installed the basic utilities and then sold the property. Some of the homes in these subdivisions were built by the individual home owners and others were constructed by other developers who purchased blocks of home sites and built homes on them for sale to the public. One of the most important things that H. Roy Berry Company did for Mount Prospect was the construction of the first sewer mains in the village. These were put into the Colonial Manor Subdivision and soon after Mount Prospect took out a contract to build the sewer and water lines for the rest of the village. The H. Roy Berry Company worked extensively with the village leaders in a number of different civic improvements. In the September, 1927 issue of Real Estate News H. Roy Berry, the president of H. Roy Berry Company, is quoted as saying:

“Another thing which drew us to Mount Prospect was the co-operation which we received from the officials of this suburb. They are progressive and active and are quite willing to co-operate with us in everything that will help not only our properties but the village as a whole. We have had no trouble in Mount Prospect in securing sewer and water improvements as well as street paving. Mount Prospect, by the way, has the right to point with pride to the splendid paving they are installing. Instead of using all different forms of non descript paving material they have adopted concrete as the one and only material to be used on every street in this suburb.”

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Name of Business:                                      Sammy Skobel’s Hot Dogs Plus

Does MPHS have photographs:            Yes

Address:                                                        Main Street

Is building standing:                                  Yes

What is at site:                                            Site is empty but building has Baby Lou’s Pizza in front

When was business founded:                 January 11, 1967

Is business still operating:                         No

If no, when did it close:                            Late 80s early 90s

Who owned business:                               Sammy Skobel

Interesting stories, facts, history:
Sammy Skobel is one of Mount Prospect’s local celebrities. He was a famous Roller Derby Champion, during the sport’s heyday. He was born on Maxwell Street in Chicago and became legally blind at the age of four from scarlet fever. However, Sammy never let this hold him back. He tried out and made one of the Roller Derby teams, without telling anyone that he was blind and went on to glory in the sport, winning MVP awards, and setting the speed record for the mile. Following his retirement, he moved to Mount Prospect and started Sammy Skobel’s Hot Dogs Plus on Main Street next to Busse Avenue. This store became an institution in the community, which is still fondly remembered by many who grew up in town. Sammy has also gone on to start golf and down hill skiing organizations for the blind.

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Name of Business:                                      Van Driel’s Medical-Surgical Supplies

Does MPHS have photographs:            Yes

Address:                                                        100 E Northwest Highway

Is building standing:                                  Yes

What is at site:                                            Van Driel’s

When was business founded:                 1942

Is business still operating:                         Yes

If no, when did it close:                           

Who owned business:                               Originally, Herb Van Driel

 

Interesting stories, facts, history:
Herb Van Driel moved to Mount Prospect in the early 1940s. He bought an existing drug store at the corner of Emerson and Northwest Highway. The Drug store had first been started by George Englbom who sold the store to F. O. Merrill and Dr. Burda, who sold it to Herbert Van Driel. When Van Driel came to Mount Prospect, the two doctors in town already had an agreement with another pharmacist. So Van Driel branched out and added a lunch counter, serving ham sandwiches and home made pies. He said that in the first few years most of his business was in food. While there was rationing during World War Two, Van Driel was a distributor for different foods and cigarettes and was able to establish himself as one of the important businesses in town. He later went on to be one of the founding members of the second incarnation of the Mount Prospect Chamber of Commerce (originally founded in 1926, dissolved in 1932 then founded again in 1947). In 1968 he sold the business, although it still maintains his name. He died in 1970.

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Name of Business:                                      Wille Cheese Factory

Does MPHS have photographs:            Yes

Address:                                                        Wille Street and Northwest Highway

Is building standing:                                  No

What is at site:                                            Northwest Highway

When was business founded:                 1880

Is business still operating:                         No

If no, when did it close:                            1902

Who owned business:                               William Wille

Interesting stories, facts, history:
Founded in 1880 the Wille Cheese Factory operated for over twenty years at the corner of Northwest Highway and Wille Street. William Wille would buy milk from local farmers, turn the milk into cheese and butter and then take wagon loads of cheese and butter to Chicago for sale. In a 1977 interview, William’s son, Adolph, remembered going to Chicago with his father in the spring when the roads were muddy. He recounted how the wagon would get stuck in the mud and the cheese and butter would have to be taken off, the wagon freed and then all the cargo reloaded. After years of doing this, William Wille, got tired of the hassle and closed the factory in 1902. The building was demolished in 1928 when Northwest Highway was widened.

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Name of Business:                                      Wille Coal and Lumber

Does MPHS have photographs:            Yes

Address:                                                        Wille Street and Northwest Highway

Is building standing:                                  No

What is at site:                                            Parking Lot

When was business founded:                 Circa 1902

Is business still operating:                         No

If no, when did it close:                            Late 70s early 80s

Who owned business:                               Albert and Louis Wille

Interesting stories, facts, history:
Albert Wille and his brother Louis started a business in coal, feed, salt, brick, and sand in 1902 at the intersection of Northwest Highway, Busse Avenue, and Wille Street. A few years later Wille Lumber was founded, a business that provided building materials for many of the homes built in town. The Wille family was very involved in the development of Mount Prospect. William Wille, Albert Wille’s father, built the Central School, Wille Hall, Wille Tavern, and many houses in town. Albert and his brothers were all involved in the business community and the local politics of Mount Prospect.

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Name of Business:                                      Wille’s Tavern

Does MPHS have photographs:            Yes

Address:                                                        22 W. Busse

Is building standing:                                  Yes

What is at site:                                            Dug-out Military Surplus and Antiques

When was business founded:                 Circa 1900

Is business still operating:                         No

If no, when did it close:                            Circa 1988

Who owned business:                               Adolph Wille

Interesting stories, facts, history:
William Wille, one of Mount Prospect's most prominent builders, built Wille’s tavern in the early twentieth century. Wille had also constructed the Central School and Wille Hall. This saloon was a center in the community, even for elected officials, who were reported to meet in Wille’s Tavern after holding meetings in Wille Hall or the Central School. Around the turn of the century Mount Prospect was beginning to grow and was starting to develop new organizations. People interested in developing a community had few places to meet. Wille’s Tavern became one of the main locations for meetings. Much of what we know today as Mount Prospect was hashed out in this building. The village was incorporated in Central School, early meeting of the Village Trustees and the Chamber were held in Wille Hall and almost every one met in Wille Saloon. During prohibition Wille Saloon remained in use, although it no longer sold alcohol. It became Wille's Buffet and attracted locals as a place to meet, play cards or play pool. The first barber shop in Mount Prospect was also in of Wille Saloon, tucked away in the back room. Adolph Wille, William Wille's son, was granted a license allowing one barber's chair in 1922. Shortly after starting in the hair cutting business, Adolph built the small shop next door and brought in a professional barber named Baldini. Adolph went back to running a saloon in 1933 with the repeal of prohibition. Wille's Tavern remained open, although it moved in 1951 to 32 W. Busse. Adolph Wille remained the head barkeeper until 1986 when he was killed in a car accident at the age of 93. His son, R’Dell continued running the business for a few years, until he retired. After the family sold Wille Saloon, it changed hands a number of times, being used as everything from a comic book store to storage space. In 1994 it was bought by Tom Neitzke who put in countless hours and thousands of dollars to restored the building to it's original appearance and now runs a military surplus and military antiques store.

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Name of Business:                                      Zenith Radio Station

Does MPHS have photographs:            Yes

Address:                                                        Central Road and Rand Road

Is building standing:                                  No

What is at site:                                            Mount Prospect Plaza

When was business founded:                 1924

Is business still operating:                         No

If no, when did it close:                            1970s

Who owned business:                               Zenith Corporation

Interesting stories, facts, history:
Mount Prospect used to be home to a pair of radio towers and an early broadcasting station. The Zenith towers operated from 1924 through the 1970s. Zenith built the towers in Mount Prospect to broadcast into Chicago and to all the farmers and small towns northwest of the city. Much of early broadcast radio was done live and this station was no different. Bands would come out to the station from Chicago and around the country to play in the broadcasting station. Some very famous musicians from the big band era played in Mount Prospect. For years these towers were the tallest things in Mount Prospect and could be seen for miles. There was a small broadcasting station in between the towers that was also the home of the Zenith employee that ran the station. Gilbert Gustafson was the first station manager for WJAZ who lived in the station with his family from around 1925 through 1935. In the 1920s, radio was in its infancy. Because this area was still mostly farms and there were only a few radio stations broadcasting, there was little interference and on a clear day you could pick up radio stations from hundreds of miles away. Unfortunately, because the radio signals were much weaker, on a day with wind, rain or clouds you could only pick up the most local stations.

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