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Libertyville's Historic Milwaukee Avenue
Item 35 of 40
The Bartholomay Building extended the Libertyville business district southward when it was constructed in 1929. Frank H. Bartholomay of Lake Forest commissioned the architecture firm of Anderson & Ticknor to design a mixed commercial-residential property on the large lot on the corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Broadway. Architect Xavier Vigeant of Highland Park also contributed. A one-story addition was attached in 1945. Over the years, the Bartholomay building has been home to a variety of stores and businesses including a barbershop, TV repair shop, dentist, realty agency, and a small grocery.

  • 322-336 N. Milwaukee Avenue, circa 2016
  • Vondracek's T.V. and Repair & Paul's Barbershop, 1955
  • J. C. Reuse and Company, 1956
  • Scottie's Restaurant & Huffman's Grocery, 1955
  • Bartholomay Building, circa 1974-1976
  • The Bartholomay building, 1994
  • The Bartholomay building, 1994

Frank H. Bartholomay was a notable resident of Lake Forest, making his home at the former estate of Charles Garfield King. King’s daughter Ginevra, incidentally, was the first love of author F. Scott Fitzgerald and the inspiration for the character Daisy Buchanan in his novel The Great Gatsby.

Bartholomay purchased the Libertyville property with 112 feet of frontage on Milwaukee Avenue and 180 feet on Broadway from the Kennedy brothers in early 1929 and commissioned Lake Forest architects Anderson & Ticknor to design a French Chateau style structure with six storefronts on the first level and kitchenette apartments above. Stanley D. Anderson was known primarily for his extensive work throughout Lake Forest.  Most of his commissions were done in the Country Georgian style, but he was known to utilize French Normandy on occasion. Many of his commercial buildings and homes still stand today. An example of his lasting influence can be seen in the Deerpath Hill Estates Subdivision of Lake Forest.

Xavier Vigeant of Highland Park also had a hand in the design and was in charge of securing tenants for the building. An early concept of the building included a thousand-seat theatre that would have capabilities for stage and film performances. Somewhere along the way plans for the theatre were dropped and the French Chateau theme was scaled back. The resulting building was more Classical Revival in style.

Real estate firms occupied the south corner of the building for many years. Joseph C. Reuse was a close associate and adviser to energy magnate Samuel Insull. While his official title was superintendent of Insull’s Hawthorn Farm, his duties also included planning real estate developments and expansion of the Public Service Company. Insull’s and Reuse’s Lake County Land Association developed Countryside Lake in Mundelein and Libertyville Highlands among other projects. Reuse established his own real estate company in 1935 with an office at 322 N. Milwaukee Ave. At the time of his death in 1946, the firm was building homes in the Copeland Manor subdivision. Reuse’s longtime assistant, Ila F. Haven took ownership of the firm. J.C “Jack” Forney, once the personnel manager for the Frank G. Hough Co., purchased the company in 1958. Forney operated out of the same Bartholomay building office until the late 1970s. Forney was also very active in local affairs. He was instrumental in the development of Adler Park, served eight years as a village trustee, and 22 years on the police and fire commission. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 99.

Another civic-minded and long-lived Bartholomay building occupant was Willis Overholser. Overholser established a law practice in Libertyville in 1925. The firm was one of the original occupants of the Public Service building to the north. By the end of 1950, the firm relocated to 330 N. Milwaukee Ave. in the Bartholomay building where it operated until about 1957. Overholser served as village attorney for both Libertyville and Mundelein, and as an attorney for fire districts, various associations and school districts. He was a charter member of the Libertyville Lions Club and the Libertyville Chamber of Commerce. Overholser passed in 1995 at the age of 94. Willis Overholser Park at the corner of Butterfield Road and Virginia Avenue is named in his honor.

Many shops and services have called the original section of the Bartholomay building home. The Beverly Dress Shop, Paul’s Barber Shop, Vondracek and Kott, dentist Dr. William Sherwood, Keith Studio, Children’s Classics, Libertyville Office Equipment, Golf Emporium, VictoriAna Antiques & Unique Gifts, UpScale Resale, and Heartland Cornucopia are just a few. Many of the current shops have been long-term tenants. Awards & Engraving moved here from the 600 block of N. Milwaukee Avenue in 2000-2001. In 2006, How Impressive! took over the former location of Buss Flowers which moved to the larger south corner spot. FullDisclosure opened in 2010.

A small addition on the north side of the Bartholomay Building was constructed in 1945 to meet the demands of an ever-changing population.  In the mid-1950s, Scottie’s Restaurant and Huffman Milk & Grocery were in residence here. Baird & Warner real estate used both storefronts in the mid-1970s. Later tenants included Touche Salon, Sutton’s Bay, Changes Hair Styling, Viva La Vine and Serendipity. A nail salon and personal training studio operate here as of 2020.

Coventry, Kim, Daniel Meyer and Arthur Miller. Classic Country Estates of Lake Forest (New York, W. W. Norton & Company, 2013)

"Stanley D. Anderson's Lake Forest 1920-1980s." Lake Forest Preservation Foundation, Fall 2018. (date accessed 7/22/2020)

"Stanley D. Anderson at the End of the Estate Era." Lake Forest Preservation Foundation, Fall 2018. (date accessed 7/22/2020)

“Paul Geier Opens New Barber Shop.” Independent Register, January 4, 1934, p.1.

“Bartholomay Building Greets Newcomers on South End.” Independent Register August 1, 1940, p. 15 .

“Lake Forest Man to Build in Libertyville.” The Lake Forester, March 15, 1929.

“Plan Large Building Soon at Libertyville.” The Lake Forester, March 22, 1929.

“Start Big Building in Libertyville: Owner is Lake Forest Resident.” The Lake Forester, August 16, 1929, p.2.

“Libertyville to Have Handsome New Building.” The Lake Forester, August 23, 1929.

“John H. Noyes buys estate of F. Bartholomay.” Chicago Tribune, August 14, 1938, p.16.

“Geier.” News Sun, February 8, 1996, p.C5.

“Joseph C. Reuse Burial Rites on Monday.” Independent Register, October 17, 1946, p.1.

“Overholser.” News Sun, September 2, 1995, p.D3.

“Forney begins 51st year in real estate.” Independent Register, April 2,3, 1986, p.38.

Zawislak, Mick.“A party until the end: Libertyville mourns former trustee, 99, who lived life to the fullest.” Daily Herald, January 26, 2012, Sec. 1, p.1.

Libertyville telephone books. Libertyville-Mundelein Historical Society collection

Jennings, Sam. "Dr. William S. Sherwood, D.D.S." Libertyville-Mundelein Historical Society collection.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Village of Libertyville.

Libertyville-Mundelein Historical Society. Cizek Collection.

Libertyville-Mundelein Historical Society. Cizek Collection.

Libertyville-Mundelein Historical Society. Cizek Collection.

Libertyville-Mundelein Historical Society. Libertyville Township Assessor Collection.

Libertyville-Mundelein Historical Society.

Libertyville-Mundelein Historical Society.