I also live in the neighborhood and was also wondering where the Wieboldt's on Milwaukee and Paulina. According to some internet research, it was located at 1275-95 N. Milwaukee Ave, which is the multi-story building across the parking Jewel/Kmart parking lot (the one with the Radio Shack and Blu Coral sushi restaurant on first floor on the Milwaukee side of the building). I dont know if the current building is the original Wieboldt's building, but the address ranges matches.
I will say *this* about the current building...when i first moved into the area about 15 years ago, the side of the building that faces the kmart parking lot (the back of the building) had no windows...they were painted in. Eventually windows were put in.
FranCarmen (re--your post dated 2/26) the Polk Brothers on Belmont that you're thinking of was a few blocks west of the "L" tracks, maybe Racine rather than Paulina. The building was still standing as of a few years ago--if I get a chance to wander arouund that neighborhood, I'll look for the building and let you know.
I don't recall when Polk Bros. went out of business, but I remember going to one in South Chicago (south and east of Hyde Park, not sure exactly where it was) around 1991 or 1992, and they went out of business shortly thereafter.
The chain officially closed its doors in 1992 in a grand "going out of business" sale. But the company did not go bankrupt. The assets were rolled over into the Polk Bros. Foundation, today one of the Chicago area's largest charitable organizations. With assets of $385 million, the foundation last year dispensed 350 grants totaling $15.7 million to organizations. The foundation has funded organizations such as the Chicago Children's Choir, The Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts), and the University of Chicago. The Polks also had a vast investment portfolio that included stock in such bygone Chicago retailers as Wieboldt's and Goldblatt's. They also held thousands of acres of real estate around the country, most of it divested over the past 15 years. One of the last parcels, 60 acres (240,000 m2) prime in the Malibu Hills north of Los Angeles, has a sale pending.
A Menards currently occupies the rebuilt Polk Brothers store in Melrose Park.
Found a article announcing the construction of the Wielboldt's store on Milwaukee Ave. Was on the former site of the Lion store which burnt down. The date of the article is Nov 30,1898. It describes the building as four stories and basement high with frontage of 96 feet from 937-945 Milwaukee Ave going back 218 feet to Bauwans street (street must have been renamed later also believe the city renumbered the addresses) The building is described as being constructed of Roman pressed brick. The floors were to be constructed of pine covered by maple. There were to be two passenger and one freight. elevator. The building was to be 80,000 feet and a cost of $80,000.
The extraordinary thing is that as of the Nov 30th date, the excavation was complete annd the foundation was being worked on. THE INTENTION WAS FOR THE BUILDING TO BE READY FOR OCCUPANCY BY APRIL 15th. It tells you something about the manual labor back then, completing a building in last then 5 months. Nowdays with all the modern equipment,OSHA and unions it would probably take more than twice the time.
There is another article dated Mar 2,1915 which mentions Wielboldt's buying the adjoining property 1269- 1275 Milwaukee for an extension. Three stories and a basement.
Found another great article Mar 30,1935 about the Wielboldt's on Milwaukee Ave being robbed of $2,000 by five men, one with a machinegun and four with revolvers. They were pursued by police and 12 gunshots were exchanged before they got away.
I remember Wiebolts, as a kid we used to hang out in the store.
SIGN MAKER... I visited the woman who sat at a stool in front of a sign machine where she would select the letters - stencils I think, then line them up on cardboard stock and run an ink roller over it all to make the Sale and other signage...
ELEVATOR OPERATOR... Riding up the old style elevator with a woman sitting on a stool, she would open the inner door that was more like a crisscrossed steel fence, then hit a foot peddal to open the outer doors. The amazing thing was that rotary handled lift control - she could run between floors fast or slow - depending if she was full or empty (with her 'fan' onboard)... The amazing thing was that the walls were open and covered with a steel mesh over a frame - you could see inside the elevator shaft as you zipped up or down...
S&H REDEMPTION CENTER... My Mom used to bring her books of stamps and we would go through to get a blanker or some other household items... Cool bonus for shopping at Chicago stores that gave this bonus...
The Wieboldt's on Milwaukee Ave now houses, among other things, offices of the Social Security Administration. I remember as a kid in the early '70s going to this store with my folks and being amazed that they had everything from groceries to a department selling stationery and pens to clothes and appliances!
The Loft development in the old Weibolts at Lincoln and Ashland should have been named after the store, but is Tower Lofts. It had nice 'Art Deco-ish' letters, 'Wiebolts', on side, but took them down, booo!
The Oak Park store was actually in River Forest, kitty corner from Marshall Fields at Harlem and Lake, SW corner. It had 'Art Deco' glass block windows, too bad wasn't remodeled.
Wieboldts at Harlem Irving used to have the best pound cake in the world in the grocery section they had on the first floor of their store at HIP. It was in an area that must now be the corridor on the north side of Carson's.
Interesting note about William Wieboldt...being somewhat of a cemetery affectionado, I had seen the impressive graves of Marshall Field, and the Scotts from Carson Pirie Scott, as well as the mausolem of Sears, Ward, and Shedd at Rosehill Cemetery. Always wondered where Wieboldt was buried. Finally located his and his wife's very simple graves at Wunder's Cemetery, at Clark & Irving Park Road, right along the fence with Jewish Graceland.
My brother worked and got fired from there. My mom used to take me and I hated going, but they had a candy counter where I first had Swedish fish. I remember they always had a nice soft tone ringing from time to time throughout the store. Never remember why though...
I saw a Polk Brother's Santa on a house in Canaryville this past Christmas season.
It was the first one I'd seen in many years. There cannot be many left. That promotion offered the choice of Santa or the less popular Frosty the Snowman. In regards to Steinberg-Baum, they had a store on 79th just east of Western. Of course, it's been gone for at least 40 years. Illinois Bell built a facility on that site. And I think that, too, may have since been torn down. Lastly, in 1969 I worked a summer job at the downtown Weiboldts store. As an employee, I could eat a very inexpensive lunch in their employee cafeteria or a discounted meal in their public restaurant. I usually ate at the latter because it was decorated in a beautiful Bavarian style, very similar in design to the Berghoff. I was just out of high school and eating there made me feel very grown up. Great memories.