William Busse

Does MPHS have photographs: Yes

Address in MP: Currently stands at 808 and 804 E. Central, but was originally on Busse and Main

Birth Date:  January 27, 1864

Death Date: July 16, 1955

1885 to Sophia Bartels (b 3/28/1866 d 2/20/1894)
8/09/1894 to Dina Busse (b 1/29/1873 d 10/14/1941)

Spouse: See above

Children: William Busse Jr, Martha, Mathilde, Albert, Sophie (with Sophia) Helen, Fredrick (with Dina)

Interesting information on life, career, accomplishments:

William Busse was probably the most influential person in Mount Prospect’s development. He was responsible for the construction of the Central School, Mount Prospect’s first public school; the founding of the Mount Prospect State Bank, Busse Buick, Busse Biermann Hardware, and the laying of Northwest Highway, the road that put Mount Prospect on the map. William Busse was the first Mayor of Mount Prospect; he was also a Cook County Commissioner and he used his political connections and his business sense to bring a lot of development into Mount Prospect. He was the founder and president of the Mount Prospect State Bank, which was the bank that made most of the loans to the home buyers who built Mount Prospect.

William started out in life working on his family farm. He then began working in a local creamery until 1890, when, at the age of 26, he was offered a position as a Deputy Sheriff. From here he became increasingly involved in political and business circles.

In 1911, William Busse founded the Mount Prospect State Bank and used it as the financial backbone for his developments. The Mount Prospect State Bank started out in a tiny corner building and continued to serve the community from this modest location through WWI. Then, in 1928 at the height of the boom of the 1920s, the bank moved to a larger building a block north at 2 W. Busse. This building was originally the home of Busse Buick. In this location the bank weathered the Great Depression of the 1930s and was one of very few financial institutions to go through the depression with uninterrupted service. During this time many banks went out of business. In 1933, shortly after his inauguration, President F. D. Roosevelt ordered all banks in America to close and work out their books. The Mount Prospect State Bank closed its doors for the first time. However, it was one of the first Banks in Illinois to reopen in a time when only about ten percent of the areas banks ever reopened. The bank then worked through the second World War. Following W.W.II, Mount Prospect went into its largest building boom ever and the State bank was here to finance it. Between 1950 and 1960 Mount Prospect’ s population grew almost 500%. In 1967 the Mount Prospect State Bank moved again. They built the building that is now the Mount Prospect Village Hall. They continued to lend money and act as the community’s largest saving bank through the suburbanization of the 1960s. In 1975 they moved again to the building that is today known as the Bank One Building. There, they eventually merged with the First Chicago Bank and then later BankOne.

The influence of William Busse can still be seen all around downtown Mount Prospect. In the center of town, near the intersection of Busse and Main there are two very similar buildings, one of which has Busse written in the chimney. William Busse built these two building at the same time. The buildings were constructed between 1926 and 1927 and by the time they were completed, were a dominant part of downtown Mount Prospect. The building on the corner of Busse Avenue and Main Street, which is Baby Lou’s Pizza today, was built in 1912 and was the home of William Busse’ hardware store. The building was also the home of Busse Buick, the first car dealership in Mount Prospect. The story of the birth of Busse Buick starts in 1908. In that year William Busse was walking along Michigan Ave in Chicago with a business associate when they passes a Buick dealership and were both fascinated by the car they saw in the window. They were a little cautious but agreed to go into it together and bought a car. William Busse enjoyed the car and two years later upgraded to a larger engine car and was so impressed that he contacted the manufacturer and offered to become a local agent. He was told that dealers in Chicago had an agreement covering all of Cook County, so it was not possible. Two years later when he was finishing the roof of this building, a stranger climbed up the ladder and asked to speak to William Busse. He explained that he was a Buick representative and had come to offer Busse a charter for a local agency. Busse jumped at the chance and signed the papers while still on the roof and Busse Buick was born.

The influence of William Busse can also be seen out side of downtown. You just have to go down Central Ave and look for his houses. Both of his houses were originally located on Busse Ave between Main and Emerson. However, his first home in Mount Prospect was moved twice. The building originally stood at the corner of Main street and Busse Ave but it was moved in the late 1940s to Emerson Street to make room for the construction of Meeske’s Market. Then in October of 1958, both of William Busse’s houses were moved out of downtown to Central Ave, where they still stand.William Busse’s first house was a beautiful white frame building with decorative wroght iron work along the roof line. With a sunken garden behind the house and a formal parlor, this house was certainly the most impressive space in Mount Prospect. It was used for weddings in the community, as it was the most formal space. As Commissioner Busse was the founder of a bank and an elected official it was important for him to have an appropriate space for entertaining. As Busse grew older and his children moved out, he felt he didn’t need such an elaborate building anymore, so he built his second home and gave the first to his oldest son, William Busse Jr. Eventually, the development that William Busse had championed caught up with his houses, as downtown expanded and there was a need for the space. Both houses were moved and the third home of the Mount Prospect State Bank, which later became Village Hall, was built in their space.

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