Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Rich and Beautiful Corner

Across the street from Noodles, once the Ditzler and Hosler Dry Goods store, stands ZazĂș Salon and Day Spa which also once housed a far different business in the nineteenth century.

The sturdy Italianate building with its unique granite corner was built by George Reuss in the 1860’s. Originally a tailor from Bavaria, young George sailed to America to fulfill his ambitions — which he did admirably.

After a couple of years in St. Charles, he married his sweetheart from back home and they moved to Naperville. George prospered as a merchant tailor. He employed other tailors and built both the corner establishment and the attached addition.

Successful and well-respected Reuss opened the Bank of Naperville in 1886. The massive stone entrance was added at that time to make the new bank look appropriately impressive.

Eventually George’s private bank grew to become a corporation. Both his son Joseph Reuss and his son-in-law Valentine Dieter were employed by the bank and served on the Board of Directors.

1917’s “Souvenir of the Naperville Homecoming” boasts that “the bank now has a capital of $100,000 and a surplus of $25,000 with deposits of about $400,000. A modern steel lined burglar proof vault has recently been completed and safetly [sic] deposit boxes installed for the security of the bank’s patron.”

Son Joseph Reuss was called to the bar in 1896 and was the attorney for both his father’s bank and the city of Naperville.

George suffered a stroke in his later years and was forced to retire from active participation in his businesses, his church and his city. He died in 1901.

Among his activities, George served in 1880as the president of Naperville, the term used before the city was incorporated.

Son-on-law Valentine Dieter was the last president before Naperville started electing mayors in 1890.