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BUSSE BUICK - MOUNT PROSPECT ILLINOIS


Guest BJM

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As an amateur sociologist, a lot of my research is focused on suburban growth (economic growth) and the reasons for the growth. Mt. Prospect Illinois is now a fully enclosed suburb of Chicago Illinois. At the turn of the 1900's it was prairie. The local economy was agrarian through 1950, approximately. If a new business was built in town, it was based on the agrarian economy. Such as a Creamery, a greenhouse, and an onion warehouse.

As with most communities, leaders became prominant local businessmen. One of these was William Busse. In 1908 Busse bought a Buick from a Chicago dealer. He then contacted Buick asking for an agency license. In 1910 he was granted an agency and a brick building was built in 1912.

The photo showing all the Buicks in front of the brick building is because the dealership would drive every car out of the garage every day then bring them back in every evening. Note the large display windows in this brick building, which was essential to a car franchise in the early 20th Century.

2 years later, approximately 1915, a (crude) cinder block service garage was built and this building was demolished in 1927. I have 2 photos of this building.

The dealership was in business until 1966 and was sold to another businessman, but by 1966 Mount Prospect was well into it's "bedroom community" phase- aka a Suburb and the agrarian society of the time was a distant memory.

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Guest Rob McDonald

BRYAN, these are terrific photos, even though they appear to be copied from printed material. That view of the parts and service counter is precious.

The brick building with showroom below and apartments/rooms above is (or was) duplicated in many towns and cities across North America. There's one near me, which was built in 1912 for a Cadillac franchise. A disastrous economic collapse occurred here in 1913 and the car dealer could not pay for his new building. The local brick supplier legally seized the building and that family owned it until the 1970s.

For most of that time, the main floor was used as an automotive service garage and residents continued to occupy the upper floor. It remained as "rooms" only, with no kitchens, and everyone sharing a large central bathroom. In 1975, the building was finally sold to a restaurant chain, which boarded up the apartments but has successfully operated its dining room and bar on the main floor for over 35 years.

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Rob

Wonderful story. The building is spectacular and I am glad it survived but I think they are losing money by not building "loft" apartments out of the 2nd floor.

You are correct on the source of my photos.

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I believe the building with the gas pumps in front still exists. It has been modified over the years. It has been a pizza place for as long as I have lived in Mount Prospect (33 years). The Busse name is on the chimney. i believe it was originally Busse/Bredeman Buick. The partners split and Bredeman opened a Buick store in Park Ridge Illinois. That was in 1912. The Bredeman family is still in business selling Chevy, Ford, Toyota and Lexus. The Busse family was one of the founding families of Mount Prospect. There are a few businesses in Mount Prospect that are owned by descendants of the original family. There are also several streets named after the family. The Mount Prospect Historical Society can probably provide more information if you contact them.

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