Fell Co. building may be in its last days
A 1970s look at 332 Park Ave., then occupied by The Fell Co. JPMorgan Chase Bank wants to raze the buiilding and build a new bank there.|Glencoe Historical Society photo
Updated: February 7, 2013 12:15PM
GLENCOE — A page of Glencoe history may soon turn with plans to raze and replace a 113-year-old uptown building with a new bank.
Since 1977, nothing very interesting has happened at 332 Park Ave. A series of banks operated there: Skokie Federal Savings, Comerica Bank, Affiliated Bank, LaSalle Bank and Bank of America, which left it vacant March 25, 2011. JPMorgan Chase Bank now plans a new building.
Yet, from the late 1950s through 1977, it was home to the Glencoe branch of The Fell Co., which few older residents can forget.
“Almost everyone I know bought their clothes there,” local architect and historian Scott Javore said. “It was great for holiday shopping. Everybody knew Rusty, who worked there forever – Rusty and his wife.”
Since boyhood, Javore, now 57, shopped at the 332 Park location and the earlier one on Vernon Avenue, south of Park.
“We all had house charges. They gave us a slip, and the bill went to our parents,” he said.
All the Fell stores are now shuttered, but at one time, the Glencoe branch boomed.
“There was absolutely nothing a customer thought of that Rusty and Ida wouldn’t do,” former executive Joe Fell said. “They spoiled their customers royally.”
Chester “Rusty” Razkiewicz retired in the 1970s, and his late wife went to work in the Highland Park store, Fell said. He said their departure doomed the Glencoe store when independent clothing stores faced stiff competition.
Before Fell, the building’s served as a restaurant, going back at least to 1947.
Two separate second-floor apartments were built, front and rear. They housed the Razkiewiczs, Joe Fell’s family, at least one doctor and Glencoe Youth Services.
The building was built as two separate structures, joined by the Fells in 1958. They also remodeled the storefront.
Skokie Federal gave the building its existing Tudor appearance, which includes a false second-floor wall hiding the irregular structure of the two apartments.
The Chase plan is to raze the old building and build a modern structure atop the old foundation. The new bank’s high-ceilinged first floor will appear two stories tall, Glencoe Community Development Analyst Nathan Parch said.
Chase won a recommendation from the Glencoe Zoning Commission last summer to skip on-site parking, typical in most area downtown projects. The bank hasn’t returned for design review approval, but hopes to do so before the end of the year, spokeswoman Christine Holevas said.
She wouldn’t say why Chase needs another branch so close to its Hubbard Woods location.
“Too much bank here already,” grinned Charlie Kim, 32-year owner of North Shore Cleaners, next door at 336 Park. “Glencoe people have a lot of money, but not that much.”