416 N. Milwaukee Avenue - A & P
416 North Milwaukee Avenue, built in 1949, is one of downtown Libertyville’s younger buildings. It has housed only three businesses in its seventy-odd years, but each was uniquely distinct from the others. The 8100 square foot building was constructed for A&P groceries which operated at the location for over two decades. It was followed in 1974 by a thirty-seven year run by Arden’s Furniture and Design. In 2015 it was replaced by an upscale Indian Motorcycle dealership that occupied the building until May 31, 2020.
Backstory and Context
Current Building 1949 - Present
In 1949 the A&P grocery chain announced plans to build a store in Libertyville conveniently located in the downtown shopping district. A&P was at the time one of the largest grocery retailers in the U.S., having grown considerably since its 1859 beginnings as the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company. The one story brick building covered two lots on the east side of Milwaukee Avenue and, according to a newspaper article of the time, was planned to have “exceedingly large windows” across the front. The new A&P was one of the largest in Lake County when it opened and followed the supermarket self-service format, marking a shift in the way Americans were shopping for groceries in the mid-twentieth century. It was remodeled in 1963 but struggled with a changing market and was unable to keep up with customer preferences. The location closed in 1973.
Arden’s Furniture and Design began in 1958 in Chicago before making forays into Lake County. In 1974 the former A&P retail space was purchased and after a complete renovation opened as a furniture showroom. Specializing in middle to high end furniture and decorating, the store’s large windows provide showcases for room displays featuring living room suites, bedroom sets, and other home furnishings. For 37 years Arden’s was a fixture in downtown Libertyville. Owners Mike Main and Carla Davidovic liquidated the store in 2011 and the building was sold to Mark Khayat.
Indian Motorcycles received the lease for the space in 2015. After another complete remodeling, the space was transformed into a high-end motorcycle showroom and dealership with workshops in the back. The business was a joint venture between Don O’Shea and former Libertyville Trustee, Todd Gaines. For five years new Indian Motorcycles, accessories, and Vespas lined the front windows attracting the attention of passersby before the store closed in May 2020.
Earlier Building Circa 1880 – Circa 1940
Prior to the current brick building, the frontage on Milwaukee Avenue was occupied by a three story wooden frame building with a wide porch across the front. The building was occupied from the 1880s until the early 1900s by Martha Ann Protine, milliner, and her husband Francis Protine, a tin smith. Mrs. Protine operated her millinery shop in the south side of the building while her husband ran his hardware store next to her in the north half. After Francis Protine retired in 1901, Mrs. Protine continued to operate her millinery shop and was landlady to various tenants for the other half of the building.
In 1914 after over thirty years in business, Mrs. Protine sold her millinery business to Alex W. Lindroth who advertised as “the successor to Mrs. Protine,” an indication of the previous owner’s reputability. The premises were leased by Lindroth for a number of years, however the chain of occupation for the building after that point is difficult to trace. One thing that is known is that in 1929 the building was one of many on the block purchased by a group of investors—a real estate syndicate of business men from Libertyville and Waukegan. The group had aspirations of redeveloping the entire block with theaters, hotels, and restaurants but these plans never came to fruition. The building is shown still standing in 1933 on the Sanborn Fire Insurance map, but was likely demolished before 1947. It was one of the last frame buildings in an increasingly brick downtown Libertyville.
"Mrs. M. A. Protine Sells Ladies Furnishing Store.." Lake County Independent and Waukegan Weekly Sun August 21st 1914. .4.
"Francis Protine (Obituary)." Lake County Independent, 3 Mar 1905, p. 4 March 3rd 1905. .4.
Zawislak, Mick. "Libertyville’s Arden’s Closing after 37 Years." Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL) November 7th 2011. , News sec.Page: 4.
Zawislak, Mick. "Libertyville Trustee Quits." Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL) September 15th 2016. , News sec.Page: 3.
"Store to Reopen." Independent Register July 29th 1982. .
"New Building to be Built for A & P." The Independent Register July 7th 1949. .
Barry, Jenny. Stitches in Time: Discovering Libertyville History through the 1889 Union Church Signature Quilt (part 2), Shelf Life: Cook Memorial Public Library. August 4th 2018. Accessed July 30th 2020. https://shelflife.cooklib.org/2018/08/04/stitches-in-time-discovering-libertyville-history-through-the-1889-union-church-signature-quilt-part-2/.
Maps, Library of Congress. Accessed June 28th 2020. https://www.loc.gov/maps/?q=Libertyville.
Cook Memorial Library Clippings File. Accessed July 2020.
"Local Syndicate Buys Block in Business District of Libertyville." Libertyville Independent (Libertyville) August 8th 1929. .1.
Waukegan and Libertyville Telephone Directories 1905-1951.
Village of Libertyville. HistoricLibertyville.com
Libertyville-Mundelein Historical Society, Cizek Collection
Libertyville-Mundelein Historical Society, Photo Book 2
Libertyville-Mundelein Historical Society, Libertyville Township Assessor Collection
Libertyville-Mundelein Historical Society, Photo Book 2