Another disappearing part of Chicago's history is the family run neighborhood Savings and Loans that have either been squeezed out of business or swallowed up by National Competitors. Many of these institutions are responsible for generations of immigrants being able to purchase their homes. Because they were locally run and part of the neighborhoods many of them catered to specific ethnic groups where a immigrant would feel comfortable speakig their own language and where a deposit of a few dollars a week saved would not be too trivial for a big downtown bank to concern themselves with.
The Savings and Loan that my family did business with was Northwestern Savings and Loan on Western Avenue. They catered to the Polish Communnity and used to advertise on Polish radio shows. Later they also acquired other Savings and Loan locations before they sold out to first MidAmerica who was acquired by National City who then was taken over by PNC.
Another neighborhood Savings and Loan that still exists and I believe still is family run is Liberty Savings.
Feel free to identify any neighborhood Savings and Loans that you remember or that may still exist.
Kchi, The Bohemians/Czechs were practically the kings of the old building and loans. By 1924, 15 state and federal banks in Chicago were controlled by Czechs; they also controlled more than half of the assets of Chicago’s building and loan associations. The groth of Cicero and Berwyn were the result of so much ethnic Eastern European savings in these organizations. In the 1920s, Berwyn was called the fastest growing suburb in America at that time. There was street after street of bungalows, two-flats, and large apartment buildings that were built where empty prairie existed before that. In the years following the Great Depression, Cermak Rd. was called "Bohemian Wall Street" because of the many banks and savings and loan organizations that lined the street.
This is a page from a book from my collection that was put out for the 1933 Chicago World's Fair which lists every Czechoslovak organization in the country at that time. The long list on this page shows just the A's through H's of building and loan organizations in the area. There are many more then that.
Here is a copy of an original charter from the State of Illinois for the Bohemian Pisek Building & Loan that was originally located on 18th St. in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood. The charter, which dates from 1886, was held by the original organization until the 1970s when they merged with the very well known Olympic Savings and Loan in Berwyn. Many years earlier, Pisek had moved west to Cermak Rd. in Berwyn before being bought by Olympic. Olympic Savings and Loan, which was started in 1937, was bought out by one of the larger banks in the late 1980s or very early 1990s. A friend of mine who gave me a copy of the charter is a member of the original family that started the S&L. He is now very wealthy as a result of his family's years in the business.
Northwestern eventually took over a branch at Milwaukee & Belmont, close to my family's home, around the time the neighborhood was experiencing a tide of new Polish immigrants. (I'm third generation, myself.) I grew up with my relatives speaking Polish around us mostly when they didn't want the kids to understand, and I had seen one Polish shop after another close down before I went away after college. It felt very strange to come back home and stop off at Northwestern -- where I kept a small account -- because the tellers all spoke Polish by default and would stop and look at me a bit oddly before switching to heavily accented English. I believe my mother got the reverse treatment -- because she was clearly older than the current immigrants, they assumed (wrongly) that she had no Polish, and would address her in English -- but then gossip among themselves in Polish in front of her.
And the king of the family owned Savings and Loan Associations was of course Ben Bohac's Talman Savings and Loan which survived longer than most. It grew from a small store front at 55th and Kedzie to encompass nearly both sides of the 5500 block of Kedzie. I think the only thing they didn't take over was St.Gall Church.
> And the king of the family owned Savings and Loan
> Associations was of course Ben Bohac's Talman
> Savings and Loan which survived longer than most.
> It grew from a small store front at 55th and
> Kedzie to encompass nearly both sides of the 5500
> block of Kedzie. I think the only thing they
> didn't take over was St.Gall Church.
Talman.....another Bohemian Savings and Loan. According to my Chicago Czechoslovak Organizatiosns book from 1933, Talman was located at 2641 W. 51st St. in this building at that time.
Berwyn Frank Wrote:
> This is a page from a book from my collection that
> was put out for the 1933 Chicago World's Fair
> which lists every Czechoslovak organization in the
> country at that time. The long list on this page
> shows just the A's through H's of building and
> loan organizations in the area. There are many
> more then that.
Whoa! Small World! / Couldn't help noticing . . . [b]Charles Svobododa[/b]!
90 years old and still heads a ministry called Bible-Related Ministries (BRM)
He's a semi regular guest-speaker at Cicero Bible Church.
The man is sharp as a tack! And I love the way he uses Acronyms to organize ideas
Funny thing is that I was reading this last post, while speaking on the phone with the above named Charles Svoboda! I was scanning Forgotten Chicago while making my daily call, and noticed the post about him! He's one of my closest friends, and we speak daily. He has retired, however, and now is Director Emeritus of BRM. Rev. Dave Bauer now leads the ministry.
Hugh and Berwyn Frank, I was born at 51st and California, and I believe my family(my grandparents in particular) knew Ben Bohac personally right from the very beginning of the original Talman Bank pictured here on 51st(they originally lived at 53rd and Talman)
They also used to rent office space to a Dr.Vanecko at the same address, who I believe was also the grandfather(or great grandfather) of the younger Vanecko who is in the news today.
As a side note, the Unity Savings (Bass Family), later taken over by Talman, then eventually by LaSalle Bank, building at Cullom and Harlem was recently demolished. Bank of America bought out LaSalle, cut off the line of credit to Maurice Lenell Cookies so that firm collapsed, then demoted this office from a key office to a minor branch, with a new building across the street where Starks used to be. So glad to see a conglomerate like Bank of America come in and cut so many jobs in the area. It appears that Harlem Irving Plaza is now expanding to the north.
I remember Crawford Federal...and 1st Nationwide, Pathway Financial, and one or two other iterations until it's acquisition by Harris Bank. Still a customer from the old days...and my mother even longer; one iteration back from when I began to bank there.