Wille’s Tavern

Does MPHS have photographs: Yes

Address: 22 W. Busse

Is building standing: Yes

What is at site: Dug-out Military Surplus and Antiques

When was business founded: Circa 1900

Is business still operating: No. Closed circa 1988.

Who owned business: Adolph Wille

Interesting stories, facts, history:

William Wille, one of Mount Prospect’s most prominent builders, built Wille’s tavern in the early twentieth century. Wille had also constructed the Central School and Wille Hall. This saloon was a center in the community, even for elected officials, who were reported to meet in Wille’s Tavern after holding meetings in Wille Hall or the Central School. Around the turn of the century Mount Prospect was beginning to grow and was starting to develop new organizations. People interested in developing a community had few places to meet. Wille’s Tavern became one of the main locations for meetings. Much of what we know today as Mount Prospect was hashed out in this building. The village was incorporated in Central School, early meeting of the Village Trustees and the Chamber were held in Wille Hall and almost every one met in Wille Saloon. During prohibition Wille Saloon remained in use, although it no longer sold alcohol. It became Wille’s Buffet and attracted locals as a place to meet, play cards or play pool. The first barber shop in Mount Prospect was also in of Wille Saloon, tucked away in the back room. Adolph Wille, William Wille’s son, was granted a license allowing one barber’s chair in 1922. Shortly after starting in the hair cutting business, Adolph built the small shop next door and brought in a professional barber named Baldini. Adolph went back to running a saloon in 1933 with the repeal of prohibition. Wille’s Tavern remained open, although it moved in 1951 to 32 W. Busse. Adolph Wille remained the head barkeeper until 1986 when he was killed in a car accident at the age of 93. His son, R’Dell continued running the business for a few years, until he retired. After the family sold Wille Saloon, it changed hands a number of times, being used as everything from a comic book store to storage space. In 1994 it was bought by Tom Neitzke who put in countless hours and thousands of dollars to restored the building to it’s original appearance and now runs a military surplus and military antiques store.

 

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