THREATENED: CVS to Close Wicker Park Located in Landmarked Home Bank and Trust Company Building

“CVS is closing its retail store and pharmacy at the corner of Ashland Avenue and Division Street in Wicker Park.

“The location in the historic Home Bank and Trust Company Building, 1200 N. Ashland Ave., will close March 7, spokesperson Amy Thibault said Thursday.

“The store’s closing is part of a larger plan CVS announced in 2021 to close around 900 stores over three years, Thibault said. The company considers several factors when deciding to close locations, including population shifts, the density of the surrounding neighborhood and “local market dynamics,” Thibault said.

“The Home Bank and Trust Company Building is a prominent landmark on Chicago’s Polish Triangle, which was once the epicenter of the city’s Polish community. Designed by Karl M. Vitzthum & Co., the building was completed in 1926. Additional tenants besides CVS occupy its upper floors.

“‘Built in the heart of Chicago’s historic ‘Polish Downtown,’ this monumental Classical Revival-style building is ornamented with finely-carved low-relief sculpture and has a dramatic banking hall,’ according to a landmark plaque attached to the building.

“The news of the closing comes less than a month after Walgreens announced it will close its flagship Wicker Park store in the historic Noel State Bank building, 1601 N. Milwaukee Ave. at the end of January.” (Myers, Block Club Chicago, 1/19/23)

“The Home Bank and Trust Building, located at the prominent ‘six-corners’ intersection of Milwaukee Ave./Ashland Ave./Division St. on Chicago’s Near Northwest Side, exemplifies the critical role that banks played in the history and development of Chicago’s neighborhoods in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Focused on catering to, and reinvesting in, their surrounding communities, neighborhood banks provided mortgages, business loans, and checking and savings accounts for middle- and working-class Chicago residents and neighborhood businesses. Built in the heart of Chicago’s former ‘Polish downtown,’ this bank building illustrates the historic importance of the city’s neighborhood commercial centers to the development of Chicago, which allowed residents to do their banking, shopping, and most other business close to home.

“A handsome example of the Classical Revival style, the Home Bank and Trust Building (commonly known as the Manufacturers Bank Building) is one of the finest neighborhood bank buildings in Chicago and is a prominent visual landmark for its community. This imposing structure is readily distinguished from the surrounding streetscape due to its six-story height, which rises above the existing commercial streetscape, as well as its distinctive and monumental
Classical Revival-style design and finely detailed ornamentation.

“The building was designed by Karl M. Vitzthum, an important early 20th century architect in Chicago, whose firm designed some of the city’s most visible tall office buildings, including the One North LaSalle Building (1930). Vitzthum was especially noted for his bank architecture and designed over fifty banks throughout the Midwest, including several in Chicago.” (Home Bank and Trust Building Chicago Landmark Designation Report, 12/1/2005)

Preservation Chicago was instrumental with the Home Bank and Trust Building Chicago Landmark Designation.

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