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From the Archives: Budnik Building a Centerpiece of Downtown Lemont Since 1920s

Take a glimpse into Lemont’s History courtesy of the Lemont Area Historical Society.

The Lemont Area Historical Society (LAHS) has generously offered to share photos and accompanying information with Patch readers each week, depicting people, places and things from the village’s storied past.

This week, the LAHS shares a photo of the Budnik building, which has been a centerpiece of downtown Lemont since the 1920s. Built by Emmanuel Budnik, in its day the building was the hub of commerce for the town of Lemont, providing prescription medicine, cigars, cigarettes, a soda fountain, bus tickets and countless other items.

Budnik Pharmacy first opened its doors to the public on April 6, 1922, at the corner of State and Main streets. A few years later, Budnik purchased the land on Stephen and Main streets, the present site of the building, replacing Hogan's Bar and Saloon. At the time, Stephen Street was still a dirt road and farmers would often herd their cattle past the structure to get them to the Santa Fe Depot.

On Jan. 29, 1927, the new Budnik building held its grand opening and became the "corner drugstore," which offered the kind of personalized service that only a small independent drugstore could give.

If you have been around town for awhile, you may remember sisters Theresa and Marie Budnik, who ran the drug store along with most of the Sniegowski family for many years. Many lifelong Lemont residents grew up shopping at Budniks - and lots of memories were created in the grand old building at Main and Stephen Streets.

“I remember my mom calling Rita Sniegowski and she would open up the store in the middle of the night to get some item to cure one of us kids,” said historical society member John Quinn. “It was a great small town family business.”

Discover more about Lemont history at the historical society museum in the Old Stone Church at 306 Lemont St. The museum is open to the public and welcomes visitors. For more information, visit the LAHS web site at http://www.lemonthistorical.org/ or contact lemontahs@sbcglobal.net.

The Lemont Area Historical Society also invites readers to share their photos of Lemont’s past, to be added to the LAHS archives.

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Steve Larek December 03, 2012 at 02:41 PM
A key phrase in your story is "in its day". This building needs to be repurposed. It's a prominent location, yes, but it's a tattered remnant.
Linda Ozbolt December 03, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Good point, Steve. What do you (and your fellow Lemonters) think would be a good use for the building? What type of business(es) would you like to see there?
Tracy Nappier December 03, 2012 at 05:22 PM
I think a Wine, Bread & Bagel company would be good....like the Wine & Bread Company that is in Geneva, IL....or an old time Candy and Spice shop that also has events for kids....with maybe even an old "Soda Counter"
Steve Larek December 03, 2012 at 06:53 PM
I think the former retail space would make a great coffe shop/diner. Unfortunately, there's very little parking.
Ray December 03, 2012 at 06:57 PM
I agree with Steve L. It would have some character.

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