791 Elm

Stories and Structures: Downtown Winnetka and Beyond

791 Elm

Winnetka, Illinois 60093, United States

Created By: Winnetka Historical Society


This Chase Bank may seem like a typical bank building, but the site has a long history and the building itself is architecturally significant.

The commercial history of the site dates back to 1855, when early settler Riley M. Graves opened a general store here. In 1875, Robert Moth purchased the store from Graves and in 1882, Moth sold it to Max Meyer, who lived in the house now located at 455 Chestnut. While Meyer continued to sell groceries and goods at the store, he had a grander vision for the historic shop. In 1894, Meyer founded the North Shore’s first bank, the Bank of M. K. Meyer, inside the store.

Over the years, Meyer found the banking business to be lucrative and when a fire destroyed the original building in 1912, he decided to focus on banking. He rebuilt a new M. K. Meyer Bank on the site and in 1917 changed the name to the Winnetka Trust & Savings Bank.

After Meyer’s death in 1937, his son-in-law, Herbert K. Humphrey, took over as chairman of the bank. In the early 1960s, Humphrey oversaw the demolition of the second bank building and in 1964, the current building was constructed. In 1967, Max Meyer’s grandson took over for his father as chairman and in 1970, renamed the bank the Winnetka Bank.

This banking business remained in the Meyer/Humphrey family until 1989 when it was sold to First Chicago Corporation and was renamed First Chicago Bank of Winnetka. It has been a JP Morgan/Chase-owned Bank for almost two decades.

This current bank building has been a hallmark feature of Winnetka’s business district for almost 60 years. It was designed by local architectural firm Mayo & Mayo who also designed several notable buildings in Chicago and beyond. In Winnetka, they designed 140 Sheridan, 593 Arbor Vitae, and 419 Sheridan, which is a Winnetka Designated Landmark.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Stories and Structures: Downtown Winnetka and Beyond


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