“The Newberry recently acquired the archives of Dinkel’s Bakery, a landmark of the Lakeview neighborhood that closed its doors in 2022.
“If you’ve traveled through the 3300 block of North Lincoln Avenue in Chicago in the last 76 years, you probably noticed the giant vertical neon sign that reads ‘DINKEL’S.’ It is hard to miss this landmark of the Lakeview neighborhood that has hung over Dinkel’s Bakery since 1946. Now it serves as a vestige of Chicago history. Dinkel’s announced its closing in April 2022 after 100 years of business.
“Building on the Newberry’s strength of collecting Chicago history, the records of the bakery came to the library shortly after its closing. The collection includes materials that tell the story of a growing bakery business, a family, and an ever-changing Chicago neighborhood through advertisements and catalogs, sales records, correspondence, photographs, and architectural drawings of the bakery’s physical space.
“Dinkel’s Bakery was started in March 1922 by German immigrants Joseph K. Dinkel (1883-1952) and Antonie Dinkel (1888-1959). Joseph trained as a baker in Germany before immigrating to the United States in 1906. Joseph and Antonie’s son, Norman J. Dinkel, Sr. (1912-1992) joined them in the early 1930s and ran the business until Norman J. Dinkel, Jr. took over in the early 1970s. Many other family members were integral to the bakery’s operations through 2022. The bakery became famous for signature items like stollen, cakes, cookies, and other specialty baked goods.
“In 2023, the Lakeview neighborhood is once again flourishing with new and old businesses alike. The building that was the bakery’s primary home for over seven decades has been sold to developer Senco Properties and will likely become residential properties in the coming years.
“In a February 2021 Chicago Tribune article about the possibility that Dinkel’s might sell their building, Norm Jr. reflected, ‘If you don’t change with the times, they change without you…I’ve loved serving the customers and being in the neighborhood. If we do leave, we want to leave it better for people.’ The fondness that longtime customers felt for the bakery will continue for some time, and while the Newberry may not be able to keep the Dinkel’s sign, we can preserve a little slice of Chicago history.” (Grandgeorge, The Newberry, 2/2/23)