Architect talks Uptown history
Architect Scott Javore compares notes with former resident Betsy Bear at his recent Glencoe Public Library talk on the v9illaghe's business district. |Irv Leavitt~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 7, 2013 6:11AM
GLENCOE — You could hear people softly booing and hissing when the picture of the building that replaced the Glencoe Theater went up on the screen.
The man behind the projector at the recent packed-house talk about Glencoe’s business district said it wasn’t just because they missed the theater, or because they disliked the blocky early-David Hovey architecture.
“It’s all about ‘progress without change,’” said Scott Javore, Glencoe architect and architectural historian, referring to the unofficial motto of the village. “People respect what they have here, and they don’t like change.”
Chicago-suburban central business districts have been decimated historically, but not in Glencoe.
“If that building hadn’t burned, nothing would have changed except the Glencoe Theater and the Masonic Temple,” Javore said.
The fire to which he referred is the 1989 blaze that burned out Big Al’s, Glencoe’s late lamented short order joint. Also in that block on the west side of Vernon Avenue running north from Park Avenue were the Baskin Robbins, a bookstore, baseball card store and doctor’s office.
Several members of Javore’s audience at The Glencoe Public Library were surprised to hear that the Glencoe News was reporting that a 1909 building was likely about to go: the vacant former Fell Company building at Park and Village Court, which JPMorgan Chase Bank has its eye on for a new facility.
Even if that happens, the pre-1950s home of the Fell Company still stands on Vernon south of Park.
What’s changed, however, is the people, and what they did. Fifth-generation residents like Javore remember when most of everything they needed could be found at Fell’s or Wienecke’s, the Red Garter or Dutch Mill, the Touch of Holland Bakery or Harry’s Deli, which for the longest time was really run by a gent named Mort.
They also remember where all those stores were, and where their successors are.