Banking in Edgewater

Vol. III No. 2 - FALL/WINTER 1990

By: LeRoy Blommaert

Once upon a time, a least four independent banks called Edgewater home. The premier bank was the Capital State Savings Bank, which opened in 1913 at 5400 N. Clark, and was one of the first state banks in the nation to join the newly formed Federal Reserve System. Nine years later it moved up the street to new quarters at 5435 N. Clark.

Both Capital State Bank buildings still stand, though given over to other uses. The building at the northwest corner of Clark and Balmoral is clad in white terra cotta and has some impressive trim, of which the eagle is the most noteworthy. The imposing structure at 5435 N. Clark has housed the Philadelphia Church for years.

At the southeast corner of Devon and Clark stood another impressive building that was the home of the appropriately named Devon Trust and Savings Bank. This structure remained standing until 1976 when it was demolished to make way for a restaurant.

Further east on Devon at Broadway was the location of still another Edgewater bank, the Broadway National Bank. The address given for it in 1925 was 6371 N. Broadway, which would place it in the Woodruff Arcade Building.

The fourth bank was called the Edgewater Trust and Savings Bank and was located, at least as early as 1921, at 5545 N. Broadway. The small, stone-front building still stands and, until a few years ago, still housed the original vault. A close examination reveals its banking lineage. At one time a four-sided pedestal clock stood in front of it. That clock was removed in the 1970s and placed on Wells Street (when it was being developed as Old Town) where it resides today.

Like so many banks throughout the country, Edgewater’s original four banks folded during the Great Depression or shortly thereafter. Although plans were made through the years for the opening of another bank in the neighborhood, Edgewater residents had to look beyond their community for banking services until 1974. In September of that year, a new bank known as the Community Bank and Trust Company of Edgewater began operations in temporary quarters at the southeast corner of Balmoral and Clark - ironically, just across the street on the diagonal from Edgewater’s first bank.

This new bank, which was organized by Edgewater resident (and current EHS board member) Austin Wyman, Jr., opened its permanent location at 5340 N. Clark on January 30, 1975. Its location was a new building designed specifically for use as a bank. In the fall of 1984 the bank expanded to the corner building to the south. On January 31, 1986, it was purchased by First Colonial Bank-shares and became a subsidiary of that corporation.

On June 20, 1977, Edgewater residents obtained a second bank when the Uptown National Bank opened a new combination walk-up/drive-in facility at Norwood and Clark. Two years later (in June 1979) yet another bank came on the scene when the Broadway Bank opened its doors at 5960 N. Broadway, in what is probably Edgewater’s most beautiful commercial structure.

The space now occupied by the Broadway Bank was originally designed as an auto showroom for the Riviera Motor Sales Company, a Chrysler-Plymouth-Maxwell dealership. A most elegant showroom it was too! The author’s father remembers purchasing his first car there in the early 1930s. Later, the space housed the Chicago Art Gallery.

On February 6, 1989, Edgewater got its fourth banking facility, when the Uptown National Bank opened another Edgewater branch. This time the location was in The Breakers, a senior lifestyle residence center at 5345 N. Sheridan.

In the past 16 years, Edgewater has been able to at least match its pre-depression number of facilities. Guess you could say we’ve been busy compounding our banks with interest.