M. K. Meyer General Store: One of Winnetka’s Earliest Businesses

The Moth General Store, c. 1880. Max Meyer purchased the store from Moth in 1882.

Updated 2022

One of the early business establishments in Winnetka was the M. K. Meyer General Store, located on the northwest corner of Elm and Green Bay Roads.  Customers could find their dry good needs, hardware, shoes and cattle feed there, among other essentials.

The store was originally owned and operated by Riley M. Graves, who opened the general store in 1855, one year after the arrival of the railroad in Winnetka. The Graves General Store sold a variety of goods such as groceries, hardware, drugs and animal feed.

Twenty years later, Robert S. Moth purchased the store from Graves and renamed it the Moth General Store. 

While under the ownership of Mr. Moth, Max Meyer worked at the store for many years as a teenager during the 1880s.  As luck would have it, Mr. Moth had a lovely daughter, and Max (at the age of 22) married Moth’s daughter, bought the store from him, and proceeded to operate the business and post office for the next 10 years. 

He brilliantly added a safe to the establishment – the only safe in Winnetka – and encouraged his clientele to store their money, jewelry and other valuables in it.  Next came a vault, and eventually the general store gave way to a bank called the Bank of M. K. Meyer – Winnetka’s first bank, for which Max Meyer served as bank president for the next 40 years.  

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