Then & Now, The Northeast Corner of Elm Street & Lincoln Avenue.


Ayres Boal Building, c. 1913

The top photo was taken soon after the building was constructed in 1913 for Ayres Boal, a prominent Winnetka resident and real estate developer, and it shows the building standing alone in the block. (Note that the railroad tracks are unprotected by crossing gates.) The building, designed by architects Chatten & Hammond, was cited in the 1921 Plan of Winnetka as “an especially good example of attractive and harmonious treatment of a suburban business block.”  The Winnetka State Bank was the first occupant to lease the corner storefront.



The Winnetka Boal Building, c. 1925

The middle photo, taken c. 1925, shows the block with additional building to the east and north. The increased traffic congestion reflects the growth of the Village population to approximately 10,000 people, which is more than two and a half times the number of residents at the time of the first photo in 1913.  The Sweet Shop opened on the corner in 1922 (after the bank moved to a new site just east) and remained a popular destination for more than 80 years, becoming the Depot Diner in the 1980s, and finally closing in 2008.



The corner of Elm Street and Lincoln Avenue, 2013

The bottom photo, taken in October 2013, shows the corner looking much the same as it did in 1925 with the exception of the railroad tracks. The railroad grade separation project, desired for many years, was finally completed in 1942. Cafe Aroma—the most recent occupant—opened in the corner space in late 2010.  In June 2012, the current building owner’s application for Village Landmark Designation was denied by the Village Council.

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