Thursday, September 16, 2010

Demolition: Des Plaines Motor Sales (Chevrolet), 1723 Busse

Now being demolished is the old Chevrolet dealer on Busse. It's no great loss; not a significant, attractive, or really even reusable building, but this blog is about history so here it is.

The dealership was built in 1950 for Des Plaines Motor Sales, the local Chevrolet dealer. W.A. Townsend started the business on Prairie Avenue in 1926, then moved to 1500 Miner, the Manuel Building. After World War II, Des Plaines as a whole was booming, and so were car sales. In 1950 Des Plaines Motor Sales erected their new building on the edge of downtown, where Busse, Campground Road, and Northwest Highway meet. The building would also house Maine Leasing Corp., Townsend Building Corp., and W.A. Townsend Agency.

Through its life, it would house a series of Chevrolet dealers:
1950-1970 Des Plaines Motor Sales (W.A. Townsend)
1970-1978 Sondag Chevrolet (In 1979 Sondag built a new dealership at Golf & Mount Prospect, which closed in 1982; the franchise moved back to the old building)
1983-1991 River Chevrolet
1991-2002 Park Plaines Chevrolet (After closing, the Chevrolet franchise moved to Bredemann's in Park Ridge)

In 1986, River Chevrolet was proved to be aptly named by that year's devastating flood.

The recently built Rand Park Flood Control and Multi-Use Trail Project, better known as Levee 50, was designed in part to protect these properties from flooding again.

Demolition is underway this week, but in this case perhaps a vacant lot will look better than this 8-years-vacant dealership.


  1. Before long we're going to regret the loss of allour mid-century modern structures, much the same way we curse short-sighted people in the 50-60-70's who were knocking down underappreciated (at that time) buildings from the turn of the century through the 30's.

  2. Oh, I couldn't agree more. I'm a huge proponent of mid-mod. There are a couple of excellent Don Erickson buildings a little farther down Busse. But this one was not a good example of its type, lacked design integrity, and could not be considered part of any sort of district. There are plenty of worthy midcentury buildings in Des Plaines, as well-demonstrated by the Landmarks Illinois Recent Past Survey.

  3. I remember how Des Plaines let the Chevy dealer go to Park Ridge.

    Back then, people were fat and happy as a good economy kept tax revenue to the city healthy.

    I now laugh at the cuts in education and police budgets the city has to endure.

    Let's keep scaring away businesses just to keep the crabtree people happy.

  4. My dad used to work there, before he went to another Chevy dealer, as a kid I was taken to work a few times ! I loved the place !

  5. my dad used to work there, back in the 1960's. he would take me to work, every once in a while, I loved all the new cars !


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