Located at 5454 W North Avenue, this 1950s modern bank building was once known as Austin Federal Savings and Loan located on Chicago’s West Side in the Austin neighborhood. Austin, the neighborhood, began life as a suburb in much the same way that Rogers Park, Hyde Park and Lake View once had. Austin, the bank dates back to at least the mid 1950s and was a crucial part of a changing neighborhood for many decades. I happened to take these photos of the now boarded up bank some months ago when it was still cold out. About a couple of weeks ago when I passed it, it was completely boarded up, not even showing one hint of a colored green window. I am sure that back in its heyday it was a gorgeous place to bank.
Austin Federal Savings and Loan like other savings and loans back in the early to mid-1970s began branching out into suburban areas just as real estate redlining and white flight were taking hold of the neighborhood’s racial changes. By the early 1980s it had merged and became apart of Chicago Federal Savings and Loan. By the mid-1980s it was known as Pathway Financial and just a decade later the name had changed to Household Bank. After 1995, what happened to the bank is a mystery to me. I’m not quite sure what year this location ceased to do business of any kind nor do I know how long it has been sitting there abandoned. Please drop me a comment or an email if anyone out there knows exactly when the building closed up and what has happened since.
Austin like any other Chicago community with its grand Victorians, greystones, two flats and apartment buildings, was once the place where fruit men sold their commodities in much the same way milk men did: the obsolete concept of going door to door. It was and in some ways still is a family neighborhood, where families from all different racial and economic backgrounds came to raise their children into successful people. Maybe one of them one day will come around and rescue the old Austin Federal Savings and Loan building. I’d hate to see this building looking this depressed for the next decade.