Saturday, March 8, 2008

Prince Castle and Cock Robin Together Again

1961 Prince Castle Ad

1962 Prince Castle Ad

1965 Prince Castle Ad

1958 Cock Robin Ad

1983 Cock Robin Ad, ignore the blue, work scanner is terrible



Before a few days ago, I had never heard of the Prince Castle chain of ice cream and burgers. I came across a newspaper ad the other night while searching for Chicken Unlimited and saw the font of the logo and figured that maybe it was a White Castle knockoff. What I found in doing some research was so much more than that and now I feel ashamed I even pondered it that way.

The business was the brain of Earl Prince and his ice cream company owning friend Walter Fredenhagen. Prince built the first freestanding location in 1928 and his friend Walter joined him two years later and over several years gradually expanded the business by specializing in squared scoop ice cream, fresh fruit sundaes and One In A Million Malts. By 1931, they had five Prince Castle (later known as Cock Robin) stores all located in suburban Chicago: Downer's Grove, Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn, LaGrange and Naperville. In time they would expand to other locations in Evergreen Park, Harvey, Oak Lawn, Skokie and many other suburbs. However, the longest lasting location was the one in Brookfield, Illinois. The company called it a terrible location at 8861 Burlington, Avenue, but this terrible location would last well over seventy years.

In 1955, the company started to gradually change the name of their stores to Cock Robin. The reason is unknown. I find it odd especially since one great article says that it was hard for folks to accept the name change because they still wanted the Prince Castle name on their ice cream, even though it was exactly the same ice cream. I don't know if it made good business sense to do this. Initially when I did a Google search on just Prince Castle, a site for food service pops up and that company happens to be from Carol Stream, Illinois and was started in 1955, which according to the article on the ice cream version of Prince Castle I cited above was also the same exact year they began changing their name to Cock Robin. I wonder if the name change is what slowly led to the demise of this once great chain that as Prince Castle began serving hamburgers and hot dogs in 1949 long before McDonald's Big Mac, Burger King's Whopper and Steak-N-Shake's Steakburger.

A fellow Remembering Retail comrade emailed me to tell me that he has fond memories of Prince Castle serving up deals on their burgers mostly like the ones printed in these ads. The last Cock Robin location in Brookfield seems to have been serving up these goodies until fairly recently. This person told me he tried calling the location only to get a disconnected message. I received the same message when I tried so it is safe to assume that this last location is now gone. Sad ending for a story that once had a prominent local ice cream history before chains like Baskin Robbins, Dairy Queen and Cold Stone became the law of the land.

An interesting Chicago Tribune article from 1941 told of a robbery of a Prince Castle in Des Plaines located at 709 Lee Street by two teenage twits capable of mastering classic 1940s film noir dialog. This article was just too good to pass up on sharing.

"...The pair both from Chicago, are Oliver Patrick Forrest, 19 years old, of 139 South Halsted street, and Horton (Horton hears a who!) V. Anderson, 18, of 807 North LaSalle street. Forrest, who readily confessed to at least a dozen burglaries was formerly an inmate of the St. Charles School for Boys.

"Let me tell you about the cops in Chicago," he said. "Anderson and I and Bill Smith [who lives at 804 North Wabash avenue and is also under arrest] were riding in a stolen car thru a park on Dec. 28 when two policemen stopped us for speeding.

"I told them I didn't have any idea of speeding, but I didn't have any driver's license and the cops took us to a drug store, where they called my mother and asked her the number of the license. She gave it and the cops wrote it down on a ticket for speeding.

"One cop said 'Shall I check the license on the car outside?' The other one said 'No, Ollie has an honest face.' What a break that was. If they had looked at the car license it may not have gone so well with us. Wouldn't it give you a laugh that they didn't? Now it doesn't look look like I can get to Speeders' court Monday, as I'm supposed to do."

The men got another laugh out of their experiences in the Prince Castle ice cream shop in Des Plaines. Anderson told of that one.

"We broke in and looked the joint over for money," he said. "I was stopped over searching under a counter when I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned to see a man in a white coat.

"I said, 'All right, I'm caught.' But it was just Forrest, laughing at me fit to kill. He had put on a soda jerker's coat. We mixed up some sundaes and banana splits and had a fine time."

The pair told of stealing a car which they used in a number of burglaries. They abandoned it in Milwaukee avenue and were much surprised to find it still there a week later..."

I wonder what Ollie and Horton's lives turned out to be like. Full of more ice cream capers or did they actually grow up to become honest law abiding citizens? My guess if they are still alive is that they are most likely cranky old men.

75 comments:

Dave said...

I remember both the Cock Robin and Prince Castles stores. At least one - the one in Summit - remained a Prince Castles until the end, which was around the early '80s or so. We used to trek down there once in a while. The Maywood and Brookfield Cock Robins I ate at many times. The Cock Robins had the same "One in a Million" shakes with the same graphic on the cups (using a Robin instead of Castle, of course). Their standard ice cream cones had square scoops, believe it or not! CR later offered round ones as an option, I guess to compete with Baskin Robbins.

There's some more interesting history about "Prince Castle Sales" - Earl Castle was a part-time inventor and invented the "Multimixer", the first machine to have multiple spindles to make more than one shake at once. He used them for the "One in a Millions" and also sold the machines to other operators, through his friend, super-salesman Ray Kroc, who he convinced to set up Prince Castle Sales with Ray as part owner. When Ray called on the McDonald Bros in California a few years later, he fell in love with the phenomenal business they were doing at their one hamburger stand and decided to make an offer to buy the rights to franchise McD's, and of course the rest is history. Kroc sold his interest in Prince Castle Sales a few years after McDonalds began to take off.

Didi said...

Wow! That is so weird. Right before I read your post, I was editing the entry over a few minor spelling mistakes and I was wondering if Prince Castle was serving up huge burgers and steakburgers, long before others, how come they didn't end up as huge as McDonald's? Then I read your post about the Ray Kroc connection and I am utterly fascinated. I suppose it wasn't Kroc's loss. But just think, a few minor mishaps and we would be seeing Prince Castles on every block today instead of, err, that other restaurant.

One of the articles mentioned Prince invented machines. I think the square scoop thing was something he did as well. Some recent reviews on the Brookfield location now closed said the ice cream was really nothing special. Any truth to that? I know I have seen people before say Cock Robin had really great ice cream. Wanted to know if you remember it as being great.

I guess they didn't change all teh names after all if tehre was still one last Prince Castle as recently as teh early 80s. That name wasn't easy to get rid of obviously, so it still boggles my mind as to why they bothered changing it in the first place.

aryan666 said...

Cock Robin? Sounds like the name of a porn movie!

Didi said...

LOL! I know! Believe me you aren't the only person to point this out.

Still don't understand the name change since Prince Castle was normal and less giggly than Cock Robin. You would think it would have been the otehr way around. Change the embarrasing name to something normal.

Dave said...

It was nothing special. It was kind of like "OK, we've already been to this, this and that lately, let's go to Cock Robin" Their shakes were decent.

The Prince Castle was kind of cool since it had a stone facade and looked like a mini castle (at least the Summit one did). Must have made the ice cream taste better.

Didi said...

If the PC prototype looked anything like it does in that first ad, then it sure did look like a cool place. Would make anything seem good even if the ice cream was subpar. Hey, I loved Dairy Queen as a kid so there. Haha!

This whole thing still fascinates me. Prince and the other man, could have done more like market their ice cream in supermarkets and such. Maybe early on in the company's history the ice cream was really good. Sounded like it may have been around the 30s-40s-50s period.

Larry said...

Nice piece on these places! Of course we have nothing like them here on the east coast, although at one time we had White Towers and some Carrol's Hamburger outlets.

Didi said...

I read about Carroll's. There is a lengthy but great discussion about it on Road Food. Seems that it was very much loved and apparently they were a big Burger King franchiser and all the locations ended up as BK. Sad. It's too bad that the ones that lasted were the substandard ones and the ones that were remembered as being great were the ones that died. Red Barn is another one that comes to mind that I will be profiling sometime in the future.

Jacob said...

The Blue Island Prince Castle in that ad is still standing and very much intact, though it is obviously some other eatery now.

Didi said...

Thanks for that note, Jacob. Worthy of a picture if I am ever in Blue Island.

Anonymous said...

I came upon this site while searching for a copy cate recipe for the Blizzard. I used to really like them on a warm summer day. I used to make them years ago at home, but was hoping to find a recipe. I think I used to use sherbet, pineapple, and Sprite? Does this sound right?

Didi said...

Anonymous, sounds like it might be right. I came across some recipes for some of their other treats but don't recall any for a blizzard. If anyone does know, feel free to post it here.

Anonymous said...

I remember the thick onion slice on the 24-cent (twice the price of a White Castle!) Prince Burger. Taught me to like onions. When I was younger, I could never finish my One-in-a-Million malt. We went mostly to the Evergreen and Blue Island Castles. I liked the old style Castly buildings better than the new glass and metal places.

Didi said...

Restaurants back then used to be distinctive in shape and colors so you can easily identify what it is/was, Nowadays, like the new homes they look the same: cheap and boring.

I wish something would have taught me how to like onions.

unklmot said...

I recall with fond memories the Prince Castle in Wheaton. As an avid collector of childhood memorabilia, I would love to buy a One-In-A-Million cup. Steve Stockley, 1712 S. Delaware Ave., Tulsa, OK 74104

Didi said...

I'm sure something like that will pop up on Ebay one of these days.

S. Margison said...

Ah, the wonderful Price Castle! Downers Grove (where I live) was blessed with TWO of them. The older one, on Fairview Avenue was the first to offer food besides ice cream. The operator of that one cooked homemade sloppy joes and sold them in the VERY early 1950's. I remember my parents and I (I was about 5) going to P.C. for sandwiches and then ice cream. Those that commented here on the inventions, yes the square scoop was an invention of theirs as was the multi-mixer. They were based in Naperville. The son of the original Fredenhagen, now retired, directs a professional dance band in the Chicago area. I remember the ice cream had little water ice crystals in it, from their technique of keeping the scoops in water in between uses. The water would stick to the scoop and then leave crystals in the ice cream. Their fries were the best ever. Mom used to send me on my bike just before dinner to get some fries if she was cooking steak or something, and I'd ride like a bat out of hell to get home while they were still warm in the pre-microwave days. I miss Prince Castle...

Didi said...

It is absolutely amazing to me how many wonderful people remember this great chain. Thank you so much, S. Margison, for providing us with a peek into some great 1950s Prince Castle memories. When I started this blog, I wanted people to do just that and who knew that one little local restaurant chain that has not been known by the Prince Castle name for quite a long time could generate so many wonderfully insightful comments.

I truly wish I had been around to try out the great square scoops!

Jerrie said...

I fondly remember Prince Castle in fact it was a major part of my childhood. My dad Lyle France worked for them, he even ended up as the VP of the company. We were told to refer to Earl Prince SR and JR as Mr. Prince even to this day I am sure if I ever ran into the Jr. he would be Mr. Prince. I have wonderful memories of the smell of my dad's car trunk, It smelled like hamburgers, trying new flavors of ice cream, some of which never made it to the store, visiting the ice cream factory, and going into the store as a young child through the employies entrance "wow". My husband even made the red wood castle logo shaped window diplay sign frames. What wonderful mememories, sadly Prince castle is gone and so is my dad. My children's first hambrger was a Prince Castle burger of course. I am lucky enough to have a Prince Castle multi-mixer and hamburger flipper. What I really want and am always looking for is the square ice cream scoop. anyone know where I can find one? It was nice to share some of my memories with anyone that cared to read this. Thanks

Didi said...

Thank you, Jerrie, for kindly sharing your wonderful memories with us. They sound like perfectly great times that you will always treasure. I didn't grow up in Chicago and as you know did not get to experience Prince Castle but talking to my dad about the things we both remember from my childhood he sincerely said something to me along the lines of "Those were really good times. The best times for us." I couldn't agree more. It was a time when we were the most happiest and reading everyone's Prince Castle memories, I can tell those were their happiest times of their life.

On a side note, anyone out there know where to get a squared ice cream scoop, do let us know. Like Jerrie, I would love to get my hands on one.

Anthony B. Ward Sr. said...

Well the best store though not mentioned was the one in Berwyn today it is a Taco Bell
When I was much younger we when money would allow it get my dad to frive out Ogden ave. and it was manditory to stop.
I remember the cones amd one in a millions. And don't forget the Sundaes.
As I remember it the Top Hat Sundae was to use todays term "THE BOMB" it was 3 scoops with a topping and chopped pecans with whipped cream.
My favorite was 1 scoop Strawberry 1 scoop New York Cherry and 1 scoop Butter Pecan topped with strawberry topping with Pecans and lots of whipped cream.
Now that was GOOOOOD Eating, as I remember now I believe it was about 65 cents.
One of the things that stick out in my memory was their was where the alley is now between the bank and Taco Bell there was a Machine that you cold by Milk from and I want to say there was an Ice machine also.

There was the amusement park down the road well there were two one was I beleive " white City " on Ogden, then there was another on Harlem where Phelan chevy is today.

Those were the days.

Anthony Ward Berwyn, Il

Didi said...

Anthony, the Top Hat Sundae sounds awesome. Thanks for sharing your Prince Castle memories with us as well as bits about the White City amusement park. It sounds so great!

Jerrie said...

I love all of the memories and comments. I loved the Top Hat sundaes too. Actually everything Prince Castle since it was a part of my life. I still can smell my dad's car trunk it smelled like hamburgers. Anyhow I have a few One In a MIllion Cups I might be persuaded to part with a couple for a price. PS I was lucky and got an original multimixer, malts anyone? I still need that square scoop. Mr. Prince claims he doesn't have one. By the way Naperville Illinois did a nice movie about Prince Castle and Cock Robin. Check it out you can still probalby buy a video.

Didi said...

I heard about the film. Any diea where we can purcahse a copy?

Jerrie said...

I got my video from the Naperville cable tv station they are the ones that created the program. Good luck.

Jerrie said...

I got my video from the Naperville cable tv station. They are the ones that created the program. Hope you can still get a copy.

Jerrie said...

The video came from the Naperville cable tv station. They are the ones that produced it. They may still have copies for sale.

Jerrie said...

Tha Naperville cable tv station did the documentary. That is where I got my copy from. Call them they should still have copies.

Didi said...

Thanks

CarolynA said...

My Prince Castle/Cock Robin memories are of the Elmhurst store. It was a Sunday afternoon destination for take-out cones. The yellow butter pecan and orange New York cherry was my favorite combination. And that square scooper made it so unique and different from other ice cream spots.

I google-mapped and street viewed the Brookfield address, and discovered that the store, with its Cock Robin sign and drive-thru awning was still there when they were doing the Street View photos - but Google seems to think it is 8874 Burlington instead. It does look closed, but a chance to recapture the past.

Didi said...

I would love just one chance to go back to the past as well, Carloyn. Thanks so much for sharing such great memories!

Anonymous said...

When I was young, in the 70's, my mom and I used to walk to Manheim Rd and go to the Cock Robin there. I LOVED their hamburgers. Just something about them. I honestly wish there were back around. I live in Michigan now, but really miss those times. I would LOVe to have a vintage photo of one if anyone has one to email me, at gsd@datawise.net. I sure would appreciate it. The 70's were great and just like the Hillside theater orb sign, we'll never see them again! :-(

Didi said...

I second that request for a photo@ Thanks. Anonymous for sharing your memories.

Solameanie said...

I actually knew Earl Prince's son. and his sister Pat. They both lived in Sterling where I grew up. I went to school with Earl's stepson, Charlie (now deceased). I was sad to see the Prince Castles go. They were an after-church tradition on Sundays. The chain didn't close because of poor sales either. As the story goes, Earl decided he wanted to go into race cars and basically shut the chain down. Not sure where he is now. Florida, I think. Anyway, the home office for Prince Castle was in Sterling.

Sigh.

Didi said...

I am sighing as well. If that's true, that's kind of sad. Shutting down your business because you want to do something else while not unheard of is generally not the way to go if you run a chain that is successful. Why didn't he just sell the whole shebang to someone who would have the money or the passion to keep up the tradition?

Thanks so much, Solameanie, for the info you provided.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I wrote to Mr. Prince, Young Earl as my dad refered to him. A little over a year ago. I found him in Stering. He probably lives in Florida also. I remember my dad going there with him to play golf. I still miss P.C. My dad had the sad job of informing the managers and workers of the store closings. I can still smell my dad's car trunk it smelled like hamburgers.
Jerrie

Didi said...

So did Mr. Prince ever write back?

Hamburgers in the car trunk? Too bad your dad had to break the awful news. Those are bittersweet memories though.

Jerrie said...

Yes Mr. Prince did write back and was very nice and said to write anytime. He claims he doesn't have any iceream scoops. I am still on a mission to find one. My dad's trunk was filled with paper work from the stores so they paper did absorb the smell of the burgers. He also had the paper hats that employes would wear so I would get one to wear when I wanted to. I was very easy to impress. Such wonderful memories.
Jerrrie

Didi said...

Sounds like fantastic memories, Jerrie. Paper hats? Does anyone even wear paper hats anywhere anymore?

Anonymous said...

hi everyone! i'm 22 now and when i was 16 Cock Robin was my first job at the Brookfield Location. i loved working there! it was fun and entertaining... i also learned some history while working there, Dairy queens blizzards are a knock off of one of the ice cream mixes we used to make, and mcdonalds as you all know, stole from cock robin also. i used to have people offer big amounts of money for the square scoops all the time. i lived up in Illinois until february, but Cock Robin has been gone for a while. since i worked there, they had 2 other owners/store managers who could not keep the restaurant successful. but the place and the sign are still there! it's nice to have the memories of the people i worked with and going there when i was little after baseball games at kiwanis park.

Didi said...

Thanks, Anonymous. It is great for someone to have a good job they enjoy. Sad that it had to end.

I don't have a clue what or if any other restuarant chain stole what from whom, but I do know, that Earl Prince, who started Prince Castle/Cock Robin was good friends with Ray Kroc, who was an early investor. It just may be that alot of these places borrowed or influenced each other heavily.

But thanks again for making this comments section the most active on my blog.

Fairview said...

Oh, what fun childhood memories I have of the Prince Castle/Cock Robin in Glen Ellyn! People referred to that little shop by either name; it didn't matter what you called it. I remember my dad would always bring home Cock Robin hamburgers (loved their onions) for my brother and I whenever my parents would go out to dinner with their friends. That was such a special treat for us. And I still dream about the square triple-scoop sherbet cones (raspberry, lime and orange)...those were pure icy, creamy goodness! We used to ride our bikes across town to get those cones on hot summer days, and the anticipation was the best part. If I recall correctly, we paid 16 cents for a triple-scoop cone. And it took forever to eat the whole thing! That was a very long time ago, but the fond memories of Cock Robin are still so vivid! I'm so glad that others have such wonderful memories as well! Thanks for letting us all reminisce!

Didi said...

I wanted something like this: a platform where people can come together anf fondly remember something, anything. Thank you so much for contributing beautifully with the rest.

Anonymous said...

Steak and Shake was selling "Steakburgers" as early as 1934.

Didi said...

Correct, Anonymous. Thanks for clarifying that. However, I based what I said in the post relative to the Chicago area. Prince Castle began in business in 1928 and added the burger food in 1949. While Steak N Shake was based in Indianapolis, IN, the closest Steak N Shakes were in Hammond, Indiana. Steak N Shakes didn't start popping up in the Chicago-land area landscapes until the 70s as far as I can tell. Therefore Prince Castle was one of the chains in the area to offer steakburgers as Steak N Shake didn't quite make it here yet at the time.

KateKate said...

I practically LIVED on Prince Castle burgers, fries, and butterscotch shakes from their spot on North Avenue in Oak Park. The name changed to Cock Robin sometime in the 1970s. I can still taste the deliciousness of those shakes! I also loved the square scoops of ice cream in their cones.

Didi said...

Square scoops, square scoops, must seek out square scoops! Don't we all practically live out of the ice cream places of our childhoods? LOL! Thanks for the comments, KateKate!

Anonymous said...

I used to go to the Prince Castle in Summit all the time. I'd always get the sherbert cones because you got 3 scoops for the price of 2! My dad always thought the hamburgers were dry when they were under the hot light to keep them warm...that was progress?
What great memories.

Didi said...

LOL! Heat lamps seem to make all types of food dry. Thanks for the comments, Anonymous!

OzarkPatti said...

I managed the Prince Castle in Oak Lawn, Ill at 95th St. and 54th Ave, from 1964 until December, 1969 when my daughter was about to be born.
We had great ice cream and hambumgers.
Prince Castle owned by the "Prince" family really had a company separate from their friends "Prince Castles" but they operated the same way for most things, the "Prince" Prince Castles never did turn into Cock Robin It was the ones further up north and different owners than the Prince's that did that.
I knew Earl Prince and Pat, we had some really great Christmas Parties and summertime get togethers for the management at the Prince home on the Rock River. At least that is what I remember it as being on.
I started a chat on Classmates.com on Prince Castle and it's one of the most active chats, mostly from the Southwest side, but some from the north.
I always believed they should have stayed in the business, or sold to someone to keep it going. Kroc offered the opportunity to Earl Sr, but he wished to keep it a small family business, and that's what we did.

Didi said...

Patti, thank you so much for your wonderful and informative comments! Unfortunately, the small family owned concept seems to quickly become a lost art. It's harder and harder to find the Prince Castles of the world while far easier to spot a McDs or Subway in the distance.

Jane H. said...

The Blue Island Prince Castle--which looked identical to the store featured at the top of the first ad posted above--was torn down a couple of weeks ago to make room for a parking lot. I kid you not! It was a good local burger joint, owned by a Greek owner (? speculation on my part due to Gyros, and greek salads with feta and kalamata olives being offered on the menu, as well as the white counters with a blue Greek key design). They had great shakes... perhaps a hang over from the original owner? We were sorry to see it go.

Jane Healy (resident of Blue Island)

Didi said...

Oh no! Bad news on my part. I had checked Google strret view a couple of months ago and it was still standing and I had planned on taking photos this summer. I guess that won't be possible. Thank you for the update.

BWChicago said...

Here's a flavor list from 1964:
Marshmallow Twist
Peppermint Stick
Raspberry Twist
Butter Toffee
Vanilla
Banana Split
Coffeebreak
Mint Chocolate
Orange Sherbet
Maple Nut
Lemon Chiffon
Neapolitan
Wild Blackberry
Concord Grape
Dutch Chocolate
Burgundy Cherry
Butterscotch Twist
Pistachio Nut
Black Walnut
Strawberry
Raspberry Sherbet
Fudge Twist
Spumoni
Chocolate Chip
French Vanilla
Florida Lime
New York Cherry
Buttered Pecan
Wild Blackberry
Pineapple Sherbet
Almond Chocolate

Didi said...

Some neat flavors. Hope that this will bring back more memories for folks on here. Thank you, BW!

Kenn said...

Growing up in Downers Grove, I remember both of our Prince Castle[Cock Robin]locations. A friend of my mothers worked at the Fairview Ave. store, and we always looked forward, even more then the the ice cream or food, to the toffee that only showed up at Christmas time.Cock Robin toffee was covered with thick chocolate and nuts and I haven't found any better since. Also remember our third or fourth grade class from Hillcrest School touring the factory in Naperville.

Didi said...

Kenn, I have never much liked toffee, but the way you describe it does sound yummy. Thanks for adding to the ever growing ammount of comments. It means the world to me.

Anonymous said...

Here's the Blizzard recipe,folks. My mother worked there in the 50's and early 60's:

*2 or 3 good scoops of sherbert
*Enough 7-Up to make your desired thickness
*About 1/4 cup of Pineapple Chunks

You will need a malt or shake type blender. A regular blender will chop the pineapple too much.
Have a long spoon handy. This drink will not go through the straw.

ENJOY!!!!!

Didi said...

Thank you for the recipe and the tip for using teh right blender, Anonymous. Very much appreciated.

Wayne said...

Hi Didi,

I remember the Prince Castle on Southwest Highway in Oak Lawn. I have fond memories of going there with my parents as a child. Not only was the food great but the building really looked like a castle unlike the boring White Castles that popped up all around the Chicagoland area. If anyone has a picture of a Prince Castle please e-mail it to me at dry.ice73@gmail.com

Thanks for sharing,
Wayne

Didi said...

Thank you, Wayne, for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

mh0431 said...

When I was in high school, I did a survey to see which fast food facility could sever their customers the fastest. I timed what time a person went in, and wat time they ended in line. Price Castle beat the other 4 I compared them to easily. What many of you may or may not know is that many of the stainless pieces of equipment they made to order for themselves. They made square dipper as you know but they also made the inserts in the freezers or heated compartments where the ready-made hamburgers or milk shakes were kept as you walked through the line. They made the square stainless containers for the condiments too. Scrapers for the grill, automatic hand-held catsup dispensors and much more were also made by the company. I was lucky enough to get a dipper or two when they went out of business. It's amazing how they work.

Didi said...

Wow! That is amazing. It sounds as if the company pioneered many things. Thank you for your comments, MH.

BWChicago said...

http://www.positivelynaperville.com/crobin.html <-Prince Castle pictures

Didi said...

Not sure if I have linked this site before but I think I may have in a different post. i know I have looked at it before. Thank you, BW.

Keith said...

I did not read every post but the reason Prince Castle closed was because after the death of Earl Prince the Prince family slowly closed the chain due to other intersts.

Didi said...

Thank you for that little tidbit, keith. I don't believe anyone's brought up the family having no interest and really wanting it to continue. Such a shame.

ozarkpatti said...

When I manged the Prince Castle in Oak Lawn at 95th and 54th Avenue, the Oak Lawn Tornado hit in 1967, I took all of the customers down into that wonderfully built basement. The tornado took all of the milk cans that were metal then and the garbage can way tint he back of the lot. It took out a few stones in the building, but compared to the rest of the town, the high school, the roller tink, we suffered very little damges, but most of the town was severely damaged. I still am in touch with a few employees that worked for me.

Didi said...

Much earlier this year I did a post on the chain Red Barn which also had a location in Oak Lawn. Someone was kind enough to send me a link to damage that very same tornado did in 1967 to the restarant. Sounds like the Prince Castle endured that same vicious storm. Thanks, Patti!

Chris said...

My mom worked at the Prince Castle in Des Plaines in the late '50s. My sister and I used to go there after school to wait for my mom to get off. Sometimes we got a burger and fries with a milkshake for dinner. I remember the butterscotch topping was the best in the world.

Didi said...

So cool, Chris. My mom glued picture frames for a living. Not quite as fun as making ice cream sundaes. thanks for the comment!

Anonymous said...

I remember Prince Castle in DeKalb. My mom and dad would take us to McD's down the road for the hamburgers but mom always insisted on getting our shakes at Prince Castle to go with them. It was always a treat back then in the early 70's.

Didi said...

Sadly, my parents took me to McDs many a day as well. But I'm glad they changed up occassionally, Anonymous!

Chris Stach said...

I am the writer of the 2005 article in the Riverside Brookfield Landmark, and I am glad to see that it is still so well received, years later. It may interest you all to learn that I have written more about the Brookfield Cock Robin in an Opinion article in the 4-21-10 issue of the paper. Just go to rblandmark.com, and you'll find it. I have taken good interior photos through the windows (that I had to clean up first). As Village Historian, I have noticed a few interesting things that people might miss. Say, did any of you ever hear about the Chocolate-dipped cicadas?

Didi said...

Thank you, Chris, for giving us a link to the article.