Kee Department Store


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Kee Department Store
Posted by: theseos (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net)
Date: August 14, 2009 03:59PM

Does anybody recall the Kee Department Store in the Six Corners neighborhood, located at Cicero, Milwaukee and Irving Park Road? Growing up in that neighborhood in the 70s, I remember that store well, particularly the ramp-like escalators, the big toy department downstairs, the small cafeteria downstairs, and also the parking area on the roof of the store, accessable by a ramp in the rear of the building. I think it closed around the same time I moved from the area, in 1983. Does anyone know when it opened? I know the building it was in is still there, it was turned into smaller stores and a health club.

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Re: Kee Department Store
Posted by: filmhawk (---.colum.edu)
Date: August 14, 2009 04:11PM

It is actually the Klee Building. Developers have renovated it to be condos. There are several stores in the first floor including Vitamin Shoppe, Cricket Mobile, Pearle Vision, and a physical therapy office. It seems there was some question as to the restoration practices by the developers, but the building is there and businesses seem to be thriving.

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Re: Kee Department Store
Posted by: theseos (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net)
Date: August 14, 2009 04:26PM

Filmhawk, the Klee Building is kitty-corner from the former Kee Department store building, which is mainly now taken up by a Bally's Total Fitness.

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Re: Kee Department Store
Posted by: Way Back (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net)
Date: October 03, 2009 01:25AM

I loved going to Kee's and riding the escalator down to the record department. That is where I used to get the record charts. You can see copies of them at oldiesloon.com for both WCFL & WLS.

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Re: Kee Department Store
Posted by: captain54 (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net)
Date: January 25, 2010 08:00PM

Here's a view of the Klee Building in 1938

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4304356069/" title="Six Corner's ... Chicago....1938 by captain54_01, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4068/4304356069_553cdc3f74_b.jpg" width="1024" height="840" alt="Six Corner's ... Chicago....1938" /></a>

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Re: Kee Department Store
Posted by: b.a.hoarder (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net)
Date: January 25, 2010 08:49PM

Great photo, lots of detail to be seen. I like the old, tall barber pole on the sidewalk by the cigar store. There is a (penny?) scale at the entrance to that store too. Times were still hard in '38, all the cars are late '20's, early '30's looks like they weren't buying new ones then either! OSHA would have a field day with the two guys riding the rear of the dump truck, and I think the police officer in the intersection is getting an earful from the local drunk. I remember the wicker seats on the S. Kedzie streetcars, but have no recollection of what they looked like. Are the ones pictured the type car that had those seats?

Thanks for sharing that Captain.

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Re: Kee Department Store
Posted by: shekaago (---.static.twtelecom.net)
Date: January 25, 2010 10:34PM

Wonderful photo! My mother used to take me shopping at "6 Corners" back in the late '60s, early '70s. We used to take a break from shopping at this little pizza place that I can not, for the life of me, remember the name of. The entrance was off of Irving a few doors down from the 6 Corners intersection. There was a "U" or "S" shaped counter and customers sat on stools. If anyone remembers the name of this place, I'd appreciate a shout. Thanks!

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Re: Kee Department Store
Posted by: [email protected] (---.inter-tel.com)
Date: March 17, 2010 07:40PM

My mom was head cashier at Kee, I also worked on the dock and in the stock rooms. Grew up on Byron St right behind the store. I am looking for anyone that may have worked there 73-75.

Mike Daum
[email protected]
480-529-1933

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Re: Kee Department Store
Posted by: Sinthyia (---.hsd1.fl.comcast.net)
Date: April 25, 2010 01:17AM

hello everyone. I remember Kees well. My mother worked there for 15 years. I recall her saying that she worked at Kees since it opened. I have such fond memories of that store and all who worked there. The store did close in 82 or 83. That was really sad. They had a big going out of business sale-they even sold the signs and fixtures. I got my first modeling job in the Kee's sales ads. Who remembers those? After the store closed, the employees, having been friends for many years, continued to hold reunions. Over the years, my family did lose contact with them and my mother past away in 2002. At that time, I did try to find some of her Kee friends to tell them the news, but had no idea how to find them.

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Re: Kee Department Store
Posted by: Sinthyia (---.hsd1.fl.comcast.net)
Date: April 25, 2010 01:27AM

The names I remember most are Mr. Wenzel (I made him a pencil holder). He called me Ms. ox because I was always there wearing my (Cubs) baseball cap. I remember Mary Niro, Jeannie the security guard. Oh yes, the secret word Caroline was announced on the intercom when there was a shoplifter.

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Re: Kee Department Store
Posted by: tomcat630 (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net)
Date: April 30, 2010 03:07AM

They used to have a huge selection of plastic model car kits. Now, they are only sold at hobby shops.

When they remodeled and tried to be more 'upscale', it ruined the store.

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Re: Kee Department Store
Posted by: heymoe1 (---.dsl.emhril.sbcglobal.net)
Date: December 02, 2011 04:40PM

I worked at Kee from 1970-1973. Worked weird/odd hours, as I was also going to school! I remember the Sidewalk Sales! Anyone else here work there during that time frame?

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Re: Kee Department Store
Posted by: Chipast (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net)
Date: December 02, 2011 07:24PM

Kee Department Store actually opened up in May, 1966. Before that, It was known as Best Dept.Store.

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Re: Kee Department Store
Posted by: Janicemarie (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net)
Date: December 02, 2011 09:06PM

Wasn't it accross from Sears ?

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Re: Kee Department Store
Posted by: StrayKitten (66.28.242.---)
Date: December 05, 2011 12:11PM

Janicemarie Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Wasn't it accross from Sears ?

Yes, sort of. The bank was directly across from Sears (Irving Park/Milwaukee corner) then Kee's (Milwaukee/Cicero corner). If that makes any sense. It was across the street from Borovik Drug Store.

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Re: Kee Department Store
Posted by: mkasprzy (---.dsl.chcgil.sbcglobal.net)
Date: November 02, 2012 06:33PM

I remember going to Kees as a kid. My mom would park on the roof and we would take the (moving sidewalk?) down. I also remember six corners being quite active. We would usually go to Mr. Steers on Milwaukee for lunch.

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Re: Kee Department Store
Posted by: QlassiQue (---.dsl.chcgil.sbcglobal.net)
Date: November 11, 2012 08:45PM

Speaking of retail in the area, the FC Six Corners tour in September 2012 visited the basement of the former Klee department store (the six-story former store north of Irving Park Road now mostly converted to apartments). We visited the basement, where part of the original floor remains. We also visited the 1940 former Straus & Schram store (later a Spiegel store). Photos may be found here:
http://forgottenchicago.com/articles/five-years-of-forgotten-chicago-part-1-tours/

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Re: Kee Department Store
Posted by: Jazzman (---.bankofamerica.com)
Date: November 15, 2012 09:28PM

Kee was also at one time -- The 12th Street Store... a northside version of the original 12th Street Store at Roosevelt and Halsted.

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Re: Kee Department Store
Posted by: andyglab (---.lightspeed.cicril.sbcglobal.net)
Date: March 17, 2014 08:21PM

Juwst came across thyis site. Worked at Kee Department store from 1970 to 1973.
Very interesting history as to how it got started and opened as Kee.

Does anyone remember the Friday night moonlight madness sales, open til midnight?

This building was built for the 12th street store by Klefsted Engineering Enterprises. That company went under and reopened for a short time as NEST. The rumor was the gvernment shut them down, thus an empty building.

. Klefsted having built the Bell store in Waukegan. contacted them to see if they were interested. Having declined they did lease out a portion of the store for men's clothing and helped bring in other companies to lease space.

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Re: Kee Department Store
Posted by: andyglab (---.lightspeed.cicril.sbcglobal.net)
Date: March 17, 2014 08:26PM

Thus Kee Department store was created, ( Klefsted Engineering Enterprises.

Anybody remember Ms. Bradford ? George Altman ? Marty Schectt ?
(guessing at the spellings)

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