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.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

EMMCO Stairs/Denny G's Auto, 1873 Busse

The Don Erickson, Architect blog shares the story of this building on Busse Highway. Don Erickson and his business partner Arthur Stevens were both apprentices to Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin; the Wright influence should be very clear from this picture. Erickson & Stevens' offices were in this building and elsewhere in Des Plaines for some time, and they contributed a number of distinctive buildings in Des Plaines - 69-77 Broadway (Meyer Dental, near Cumberland Circle), this building, the Chicago Quadrill building across the street, the Des Plaines Mall and 701 Lee Superblock, the 640 Pearson office building, the Le Ronde atrium office building at 950 Lee, the Hawthorne Rand Park apartments, and the Des Plaines Travel Agency building at Ellinwood & Graceland (Starvin' Artist). They also completed ambitious earlier plans for Superblock and the Lee Office Plaza "Golden Pyramid" buildings, which were never built.