Save Main Newsletter - May 2020 - "Read all about it"
"THIS PLACE MATTERS" - The Duane Street Junior High School (Civic Center) - Preservation Month
In honor of Preservation Month, Citizens for Glen Ellyn Preservation is hosting a series of posts highlighting some of the places in Glen Ellyn worthy of special recognition. Our series is called "THIS PLACE MATTERS". Here is the third post in the series.
Did you know….
that the Civic Center, the most prominent building in our downtown, was not always the home of our village government? Earlier incarnations on these grounds were enriched by generations of students, the site of four earlier school buildings.
The first school house at this location on Duane Street was a small framed building constructed on the property in 1853, when Glen Ellyn was known as Danby. It was called the Danby Duane Street School.
The Danby School House was the second school structure built on the property in 1862, later renamed The Duane Street School. It was a two-story wood building with a belfry on the front. A vestibule held the staircase that ascended to the second floor. The school house had no running water, so the students would have to go fetch water in 2-gallon buckets from the wells of neighboring properties. The trips to fetch the water were made twice during the day: once in the morning, and once in the afternoon. The closest well was on the property of J.S. Dodge, where the Soukup’s (Nobel House and Sushi Ukai) building stands today. The boys preferred to go to the well of Horace Brooks, who lived near Hillside on the west side of Main Street, thus allowing more time away from school. This second building remained on the property for 30 years before it was moved to the north side of Crescent Boulevard, between Forest Avenue and Park Boulevard. Once on Crescent, the building housed the Gas Company office, The Woman’s Exchange, and The Johansen Real Estate Company. It was demolished in the 1960s to make way for Cee Bee’s Finer Foods. A 5-story apartment building occupies that space today.
Our village changed its name from Danby to Prospect Park in 1874. In 1885 Prospect Park changed its name one final time to Glen Ellyn, as we are known today.
The new Duane Street School was the third school to be constructed on the property in 1892. It was a three-story building made of red brick, with a tower on the front. In 1894, the first high school, the predecessor to Glenbard West, occupied the building, but moved out a year later due to lack of funding, only having one class graduate. Primary grades continued to be housed in the building. In 1919, 7th and 8th graders were the only students taught there.
On March 24, 1928, the Village Board voted to build a junior high school on the Duane Street property. The Glen Ellyn Junior High School, completed in 1929, was the fourth school to be built at this location. This Classical Revival 3-story brick building contained 12 classrooms, and featured a pillared portico and clock tower on the front facade. Beginning in 1956, with the completion of the new Glen Ellyn Junior High School (now Hadley Junior High) on Hawthorne Boulevard on the west side of Glen Ellyn, the building served 5th and 6th graders, and through 1960 was once again known as Duane Street School. From 1960 to 1972 it was used as District 41 administrative offices. At that point, with Village government and the police department having outgrown their offices on Pennsylvania, the building was sold to the Village, and it became known as the Civic Center.
The building was designed by architect Ephram Norman Brydges (1883-1956), and modeled after Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Brydges began his career in Steinway Hall--in the same office building as Frank Lloyd Wright--located on Van Buren Street and Michigan Avenue in Chicago. A successful architect, he was hired for his designs all over the Chicago suburbs. In addition to designing schools, he also designed hotels (e.g., The Hotel Ritz in Chicago); churches (e.g., Grace Episcopal Church in Oak Park); and private residences (e.g., the Arthur W. Cutten country estate in Downers Grove). Other notable designs were The Grand Theatre in Wheaton. Ephram Norman Brydges lived in Elmhurst. He died in 1956 and is buried in Elm Lawn Cemetery. When the Village acquired the building in 1972, Glen Ellyn resident and architect (and former student at the Junior High) Jerry Perkins was hired to modify the building for its new use, including interior changes and the addition of an elevator. One of the building’s original architectural highlights was the front staircase that lead up to the 2nd floor main entrance (see photo). That feature was removed as requested by the police department, who required a different form of entry. Today the Village offices remain, but the Glen Ellyn Police Department has relocated to its new facility on south Park Boulevard. Innovation DuPage, associated with the College Of DuPage, has moved into their vacated space after a remodel of their own in 2019. The building has returned to its educational roots.
Historical Notes: This building is designated as a local landmark by the Village of Glen Ellyn’s Historic Preservation Commission. It is in the Glen Ellyn South Historic District, designated as a National Landmark by the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
“The Duane Street Junior High School Building—now known as our Civic Center—matters."
Research credit: Zak Wilson
Photo credits: The Glen Ellyn historical Society, The Story of an Old Town, by Ada Douglas Harmon, and Zak Wilson
"THIS PLACE MATTERS" - The Glen Art Theater - Preservation Month
In honor of Preservation Month, Citizens for Glen Ellyn Preservation is hosting a series of posts highlighting some of the places in Glen Ellyn worthy of special recognition. Our series is called "THIS PLACE MATTERS". Here is the second post in our series.
The Glen (now officially known as The Glen Art Theater) is Glen Ellyn’s second downtown movie theater. The first was a one-story theatre on the East side of Main Street at 481 (Re-New) and 483 (Fresh Nails & Spa), which presented silent films in the early 1900s.
The Glen was constructed at 540 Crescent Boulevard over the summer of 1926, on the former site of the Nadelhoffer Livery Stable, owned by John & Christian. The building’s architect, William B. Betts, of Betts & Holcomb, from Chicago, designed the “Old English” style building for its Glen Ellyn owners: Charles W. Hadley; Alfred C. Hoy; And Roy V. Spading. Betts & Holcomb also designed movie theaters in neighboring suburbs, including: The Des Plaines Theater (1925) in Des Plaines; The Catlow Theater (1927) in Barrington; and The Deerpath Theater (1928) in Lake Forest. Of those theaters, The Glen and The Catlow are the only theaters still operating today.
The Glen Theater opened its doors to the public on January 30th, 1927, with its first film screening and dedication. The film was “The Nervous Wreck”, with silent screen era stars Harrison Ford and Phyllis Haver in the leads. A square marquee and vertical sign adorned the front facade of the building. When The original auditorium was designed to replicate a baronial hall of feudal days. It held 1,002 seats, with room to add 450 more. It featured a full-size pipe organ in the orchestra pit below the stage.
As movie-goers arrived in the theater, they were treated to a 30-minute concert by the organist. Attendees paid 50 cents for a chance to win prizes in giveaways and raffles. To encourage attendance on Thursday nights, dishes were given out, and many wives returned each week to fill out their dish collections. Before the main event began, which often included a double-feature, the public was treated to travelogues, coming attractions, newsreels, and cartoons.
At one time there was a working bowling alley in the basement of the building. You entered the doors to the right of the entrance to the theater. After descending the stairs you were greeted by four lanes with manual pinsetters. The maple wood lanes and equipment are still there to this day, though they are not in operational condition.
Hollywood has come calling on The Glen’s doorstep over the years: the most notable result being the movie “Lucas”, released in 1986. The film stars Corey Haim, Kerri Green, Charlie Sheen, and Winona Ryder in her screen debut. It also marked the screen debut of Tom Hodges, who grew up in Glen Ellyn and attended Glenbard West. "Lucas" was filmed inside as well as outside of The Glen (as well as at other Glen Ellyn locations), which also hosted the movie’s premier.
The Glen Art Theatre Matters.
Research credit: Zak Wilson
Photo Credits: Zak Wilson, Kim Lloyd-Eichenauer, Barb Lemme
Historic exterior photo courtesy of Russ Ward
Did You Know....
Lawsuit Status Update - May 16, 2020
Status update: counts remain, plaintiff has standing, and the lawsuit continues against Apex and the Village. The next court date is June 8th.
"THIS PLACE MATTERS" - The Downtown Glen Ellyn Post Office - Preservation Month
In honor of Preservation Month, Citizens for Glen Ellyn Preservation is starting a new series of posts highlighting some of the places in Glen Ellyn worthy of special recognition. Our series is called "THIS PLACE MATTERS". Here is our first post.
The Downtown Glen Ellyn Post Office was constructed by the Treasury Department in 1934 as part of the W.P.A. program. Its Architect, Louis A. Simon (1867-1958), started working for the Office of Supervising Architect Of the U.S. Treasury in Washington D.C. in 1896, as the Chief Architect. In 1915 he was appointed head of the Engineering and Drafting Division, after quickly rising through the ranks. He held that position until 1933. In 1934, the same year the Downtown Post office in Glen Ellyn was built, he was appointed Supervising Architect of The U.S. Treasury. Simon designed and oversaw hundreds of projects during his tenure. Notable buildings include the IRS Building in Washington D.C., and many Courthouses and Post Offices around the United States. He held this position until his retirement in 1941. Simon was unwavering in his defense of what he considered a "conservative-progressive" approach to design in which he saw "art, beauty, symmetry, harmony and rhythm”.
The Glen Ellyn Downtown Post office Lobby features a mural titled “Settlers,” done under the “Treasury Section of The Fine Arts” New Deal Art Program. During that time when a Federal building was constructed, 1% of the building's cost was set aside for artwork. The Post Office held juried competitions to select only the best artwork. The mural was painted on canvas by artist Dan Rhodes from Iowa (1911-1989) in 1937. Another of his murals hangs in the cafeteria of the main U.S. Navy building in Washington D.C. The Village of Glen Ellyn has designated this mural, depicting seven pioneers building a log cabin, a Historic Landmark. Many works were commissioned during the depression; only a quarter of those remain, this being one of them.
The Downtown Glen Ellyn Post Office Matters.
Photo and research credit: Zak Wilson
In Other News:
SAVE MAIN LEGAL FUNDRAISER
POSTPONED - NEW DATE - TBA
Did you know...
that although we are postponing this event for now, we are continuing to plan, and will announce a new date as soon as possible. In the meantime, the homeowner of this Architectural Gem of Glen Ellyn is working hard to prepare his home and grounds to welcome you. He has quite a wonderful collection of early toys. Here's one of them.
SAVE THE DATE - SAVE THE DATE - SAVE THE DATE
Save Main Legal Fundraiser
Sunday, April 26, 3 to 6 PM-
-Postponed--New date TBA
Join us for a rare opportunity to tour one of the historic Architectural Gems of Glen Ellyn while you sip wine and help Save Main pay our legal expenses.
Please Help Fund The Fight:
Save Main Lawsuit Update:
Tuesday, January 14th, 2020
We know everyone is interested to know the status of our lawsuit in regard to the Apex 400 development. We want to stress that we continue to move our case forward. As in all court cases, we operate within the court’s timetable. We remain prepared to meet any challenges.
Notably, Santa Fe has joined in our efforts to prevent Apex 400. Judge Bonnie Wheaton has scheduled a status hearing on February 5th, at which she will decide if Santa Fe will be allowed to join in the suit as an additional plaintiff.
The results of the site investigation including ground penetrating radar, soil borings, and installation of ground monitoring wells done recently by the Village in the Main Street parking lot have not as yet been revealed. We have submitted a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request to see the results.
We pledge to keep you informed as developments occur. Keep in mind that legal expenses continue to accrue. If you would like to help us fund this ongoing fight, any amount of support will be greatly appreciated. Please go to: https://www.gofundme.com/f/savemain
In The News:
The Patch headline is inaccurate.
The lawsuit is not over. There are at least two substantive counts remaining that will be heard in early November. We remain strongly committed to this effort.
Keep those Save Main Yard Signs up!
The Presentations from our "Save Main" Rally on Saturday April 6th, 2019
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Ways You Can Help The Fight:
"Action Steps" - That you can do to help stop the Apex 400 Development.
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