- Editor’s Note: This article is part of a weekly series on Kane County’s amazing history. Today’s article was submitted by Alison Costanzo, executive director of the St. Charles History Museum.
There are few history stories more personal or more compelling than those of local businesses. They are the lifeblood and the essence of a community, and their history is always fondly remembered.
Featured today are two St. Charles favorites.
Blue Goose: Shop Local
If you haven’t lived in St. Charles all your life, you might not have known that Blue Goose has been in more locations in St. Charles than any other retail business.
In 1928, Annunciata “Nancy” Lencioni opened the Blue Goose Fruit Market in what had been Gartner’s Bakery, 201 W Main St. She decided to name her store after an illustration of a goose painted in blue on the side of a Pooley Fruit Company packing crate.
In the early years, the Blue Goose sold only fruit, vegetables, and a limited number of grocery items.
After years of successful growth, Nancy’s son, Vaco Lencioni, and his wife, Germaine, took over the operation of the Blue Goose and in 1941 moved into a larger space in the building that many know today as Rocket Fizz and The Finery Restaurant at the southwest corner of 3rd and Main streets.
In 1963, they made the leap to a brand new custom supermarket at the corner of First Street and Illinois Street. Blue Goose continued to be a pacesetter in the grocery business by being the first self-service store, scanners at the checkout counters, and the first to have refrigerated display cases.
Progress came knocking again, and in 2008, Blue Goose accepted an offer from the city to move just a block or two south in order to open space for the First Street Development. Interestingly, the site of their newest market was once a booming railroad yard that provided commercial products and materials for people throughout the Fox River Valley.
At their new location, greatly expanded and with more parking, Blue Goose Market continues to do business the way the Lencioni family has for the last 90 years.
The Evergreen Pub & Grill: Home of Rolle Bolle
Driving west from the center of St. Charles, it’s hard today to understand that, for much of the first 75 years that St. Charles existed, 7th Street was the western boundary for the populated portion of town.
But many people lived on farms west of St. Charles, and many people lived in other small towns located west of St. Charles, so civilization did not “end” by any means at 7th Street.
In 1928, Gus Van Glabeke bought Teddy Van Aiken’s house at 14th Street, where he proceeded to make and sell liquor during Prohibition. When Prohibition ended in 1933, Van Glabeke’s place became legal, and he named it “Gus’s Evergreen Tavern.”
By 1948, Gus sold out to Ray Triest, drawing many patrons from the nearby “Belgium Town” — mostly employees of the Moline Malleable company along Dean Street.
The Evergreen soon expanded into pigeon racing and a sport known to many Belgians, called Rolle Bolle. In the late ’80s, Bernie Deutsch and his wife, Patty, purchased Ray’s and kept things pretty much the way they were for another 20 years.
Ninety years later, now known as simply Evergreen Pub & Grill, this is still the west side’s place to go for team sports like volleyball, bags and even trivia nights. With one of the best outdoor bars, even heated in the winter, it’s a great four-season hangout.
Ray’s has a full menu, and the new owners have been careful to preserve all the great atmosphere this place has earned over the decades. Stepping into Evergreen today, you won’t be there long before you agree with something Bernie Deutsch once said: “If these old walls could talk . I tell you, there’d be some stories.”
And if you listen hard enough while you’re sitting at the bar, you’ll hear those stories.
Brown Bag Lunch: The “Great Third Rail” St. Charles, Geneva, and West Chicago
- noon April 18, 2018
- Fee: Members $5, and non-members $10
The Aurora, Elgin and Chicago Railroad offered its first run from Aurora to Chicago in August 1902. A year later, it added the Wheaton to the Elgin leg.
By 1909, the railway had another leg that served West Chicago, Geneva and St. Charles. Somewhere along the way, the company reversed the order of its name to be the Chicago, Aurora and Elgin Railroad, or, as it was known to passengers, the CA&E.
Join the St. Charles History Museum as its looks back at historic photo’s of downtown St Charles along Main Street/North Avenue going past the famous Hotel Baker and passenger’s boarding the trains right across the street at the Texaco gas station now the St. Charles History Museum and historic photos as it runs south on Third Street to Geneva.
All these photos have been scanned in high resolution for a digital slide show by Mark Llanuza. You’ll also see the “after” photos of what those same scenes look like today.
To Register please visit www.stcmuseum.org or call 630-584-6967.
Museum After Dark
- 7 p.m. May 4, 2018
- Fee: $10 Per Person
Have you ever wanted to learn how to jitterbug or learn the Charleston? Join us for our first Museum after Dark event featuring St. Charles’ very own Lux Dance Studio where you will have the opportunity to learn some fun “historic” dances and enjoy some light refreshments.
Space is limited to register please visit www.stcmuseum.org
Saturday Speaker Series: St. Charles Pickle Capital of the World
- 1 p.m. May 5, 2018
- Fee: Members $5, and non-members $10
One might think that the “Pickle Capital of the World” is somewhere out west, in the deep down south, or even overseas, but if you stand in downtown St. Charles and look around, you will see the “Pickle Capital of the World.”
Yes! It’s true.
Come and learn how Pickle Packer’s International changed the face of Pickles in St. Charles when interestingly there is no history of pickles being manufactured, packed or cucumbers grown in St. Charles!
To register, please visit www.stcmuseum.org or call 630-584-6967.
BUY YOUR TICKETS TODAY! BE A WINNER!
The St. Charles History Museum and the Tri-City Exchange Club have teamed up again for the Tri-Cities 50/50 Community Raffle. Last year’s 50/50 winner took away over $10,000. Since kicking off this year’s 50/50 raffle the current winning pot is just over $2,000.
The winner will be announced live on 103.9 the Fox by Eddie Volkman on Saturday, June. 23, 2018, during the museum’s third annual Best of St. Charles Foodie Fest event at 8:30 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased at a number of events including this weekend at the Kane County Fair Grounds and anytime at the St. Charles History Museum.
Tickets are one for $5 or five for $20 and proceeds will benefit the St. Charles History Museum and the Tri-Cities Exchange Club.
BE A FOODIE! TICKETS ON SALE NOW!
Enjoy music and entertainment from 103.9 The Fox’s Eddie Volkman with room to dance and remember the night with a caricature done by Shermanism. Learn a little local history at the restaurant booths, which will feature a history of their building and historic photographs.
Plus, don’t miss out on the opportunity to bid in the live auction, and enter the Tri-Cities 50/50 Community Raffle with one chance to win half the pot!
The event takes place at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, June. 23, 2018, during the museum’s third annual Best of St. Charles Foodie Fest event.
Purchase your tickets today online at www.stcmuseum.org.
Tickets will be available for pickup at the museum prior to the event or at the entrance on the day of the event.
Read The Kane County History Series!
- 1850-1925 Geneva — When Penmanship Was Mightier Than The Sword
- St. Charles Museum Site — From Serving Gas To Preserving History
- Elgin Puts 3,500 Priceless Photos Online
- Batavia-Inspired Miniatures Thrilled a Nation
- Aurora’s Maud Powell, World Famous Violinist
- Waxing Nostalgic on Geneva’s WGSB, WFXW
- American Doughboys of WWI — in St. Charles, IL
- Experience High-Tech History at April 21 ‘Open Elgin’ Event
- Batavia, IL — ‘Windmill Capital of The World’
- Meet Andy Aurora, Man About Town
- Celebrating The 50th Anniversary of 9-1-1 in Geneva