Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Story Behind a Photo: Aunt Lil’s Store--By Eleanor Ticknor, Town & Village of Lisle Historian

Here is some information on the history of the Howland store building you might be interested in:

The building that became Elmer and Lillian Howland's store first belonged to Reuben Rood. He donated his property in 1830 to the newly formed Congregational Church and services were held there until a new church was built in 1856.

The old church/Howland's store building had been located where the present church is today and was just moved over. An old map in the 1850's shows the building to be an Academy so school was held there. I'm guessing this was for higher education classes as a district school (grades 1-8) was located on the west end of Main Street. In 1869, a two room school was built in the village where grades 1-8 were taught. I don't know anything more about the Academy.

In the old picture of Center Lisle at the top of this story, you can see down Main Street from the bridge.

Howland's store is on the left, then the church. The entrance to the store would have been right there facing Main Street. In 1932, that bridge was removed when the highway (Route 79 today) and bridge were relocated to the other side of Howland's store.

Therefore, the entrance to the store was moved to the other side of the building facing the new highway. The old highway was too curvy. When it was straightened, it bypassed Center Lisle altogether.

Picture One: Center Lisle Main Street Before Road Changed
Picture Two: Aunt Lil’s Store
Picture Three: As you can tell, the store in this picture has changed its entrance to face the new road


CB said...

I am so glad to hear the history of the store! That place carried a lot of weight in my childhood!
Leona told me it started store life as a bike and repair place for Elmer who was handy with machinery. Lil added bread, milk, etc, and from there went to the "anything you need " place it became.

CB [ again} said...

I always seem to have MORE to say! [ yes, I hear you thinking so what else is new?]
When Aunt Lil retired, she tried to sell the store to keep business in Center Lisle but was unable to find a responsible buyer. Evntually she found one, the church! [ for $1] they use it as a parking lot!
And when I said it carried weight in my childhood I meant I carried it after Aunt Lil's generosity! WE seldom saw ice cream, candy or pop at home but she was wonderful!!

Lislehistory said...

I'll always remember Lil standing behind the counter in the store. The store seemed to have everything in it, but what I remember most was the big glass candy counter. In the back were wooden doors that would slide to reveal the large assortment of penny candy. After Sunday School, nearly every kid marched over to the store for candy.
We also stopped for gas there. I wonder what the price of gas was then?
I know the church needed parking space, but a piece of Lisle history was lost forever.

Anonymous said...

I believe Harry and Thelma Underwood bought the store first?

Pat said...

I will check with Eleanor Ticknor and get back to you via comments on this story!

Pat said...

Eleanor Ticknor tells me:

"Harry and Thelma Underwood bought the store from Lillian Howland. Elmer and Lil had the store there for many years."

KiltiMcManus--Thank you for adding the Underwoods to the story.

Thank you Eleanor, for as always, your Center Lisle historical expertise.