How to Get North on the Westside?

Guest Blogger-Archie Bentz

Archie Bentz was the last owner of what is now the St. Charles History Museum and over the last few year's he has been compiling a list of the Tri-Cities service stations. When the Museum was creating its new exhibit Serving Gas to Preserving History, Archie was a wealth of information but it also sparked some new questions and we are looking to the community for help.

This is a current Google Earth photo of  311-313 N 5th Street  in St Charles, the present home of Boyle Body Shop.  

This is a current Google Earth photo of 311-313 N 5th Street in St Charles, the present home of Boyle Body Shop.  

I am currently working on compiling a history of Tri-City service stations and automobile dealerships.  I have a limited history of this site going back to 1932 as shown below and would appreciate any information to fill in the gaps in dates and names of those in operation. 

My Remembrances...

Here is what I remember of this area in St. Charles as a kid; The main north-south highway that we know of today as Route 31 or Second Street in St Charles did not pass under the railroad tracks about 3 blocks north of Rt 64.  There had been no provision for a tunnel or underpass of the railroad right-of-way.  I believe there only two ways to go north of St Charles on the west side; 1) travel west on Dean Street and drive over the tracks, 2) there was a tunnel under the tracks either on north 5th or north 6th.  I believe that since there was this early filling station on north 5th it would stand to reason it was constructed to service the northbound traffic leaving town. 
The original filling station would have been the right side of the building prior to the addition of service bays.

313 North 5th Street History

  • 1932 Wheeler's Shell Oil Station?       
  • 1940 Jones Harry (my cousins paternal grandfather, later the operator of Brilliant Bronze on Main St.)
  • 1947-56 Myers Phillips 66 Ph 3595-Clarence C Myers (same Myers @ 611 E State Geneva?)
  • 1958-62 Schulz Phillips 66 and used cars?
  • 1970’s Schulz Body Shop Mike Schulz
  • 1996-Present Boyle Body Shop-Denny Boyle

What Do You Remember?

Who remembers when north 2nd Street and the railroad underpass were constructed and the highway was designated Route 31?

Does anyone have early photos of this location that could be shared with the Museum and myself? 


History in the making: Jeans and a Cute Top Shop

Fashion over forty shouldn’t be formidable. This sentiment inspired Jill Card to open the first Jeans and a Cute Top Shop in Wheaton in 2009. She and her friends often felt caught between stores targeting their daughters or their mothers. Jill wanted to create a warm, inviting space where women of all ages, shapes, and sizes could find on-trend clothing and accessories. It worked! Customers responded in droves and the St. Charles and Downers Grove locations soon followed.

Women respond to the store because the store responds to them. You never have to shop alone (unless you prefer it, which is great too!). Friendly associates will help you find the right denim and create contemporary outfits that fit your lifestyle and flatter your body type. They’ll take your style to the next level by pairing the perfect necklace, scarf or boots, all affordably priced so you can leave with a complete look without breaking the bank. Trust us, you’ll walk out feeling great and looking fabulous.

New inventory arrives daily so you’ll find something fresh and fun every time you stop in. Everyone wants to age gracefully and stay current. Jeans and a Cute Top Shop helps you do just that. So stop by…and fit in!

For more information about what Jeans & a Cute Top has to offer visit

History in the making: Johnny Q's Backyard BBQ

The road on the east side of the Fox River, from St. Charles to Elgin, was not the main route between those two towns. It was actually an interstate route 430 that later became Rt. 31. But that didn’t mean the country road that became Rt. 25 was unused or unknown. Rt. 25 was a local shortcut that continued north from where Dunham Road entered into Wayne, Illinois. Rumor has it that many bootleggers during Prohibition used the Fox River to move their whiskey on its way to thirsty customers in St. Charles, Geneva, and Aurora – as well as into Chicago. And those boats unloaded on the east side of the river – away from prying eyes.

But over time, Rt. 25 became a welcome alternative to the crowded Rt. 31 highway to or from Elgin. And many small businesses sprang up along the route to serve hungry customers. Johnny Q’s BBQ continues that tradition today, serving all sorts of smoked meats, sausages and sides like fries and coleslaw. Also ribs only on Friday and Saturday.

For more information visit

History in the making: 2570 Foxfield Road, St. Charles

One might not know a lot about this building; however, it houses a unique St. Charles business and one St. Charles resident that has made a name for herself within the Museum family and St. Charles community.      

Dayspring Pediatric Dentistry

Providing specialized dentistry for children and adolescents in a "child-friendly" environment.  As pediatric dentists, we focus on preventive care to help each child grow a healthy smile that will last a lifetime. Serving infants, children, teens, and children with special health care needs.

Our office is designed to enhance your child's experience with state of the art equipment and entertainment. We are sure to leave a lasting impression on your child in order to promote lifelong oral habits!

Anna Meltzer

Anna first came to the St. Charles History Museum in 2016 after meeting our board president during the St. Patrick's Day Parade.  Our relationship with her grew in 2017 with her joining our fundraising committee, becoming a business member, portraying  Amelia Anderson at our Grave Reminders program during Scarecrow Fest.

Here is a little Anna has to say: "I recently relocated to the western suburbs and quickly fell in love with the St. Charles area. I am involved in several partnerships with the community and love spending my free time serving those committees. I also enjoy reading, being active and staying fit, cooking and spending time with my three grown children. I have an open door policy and welcome questions, comments, and hearing feedback."


History in the making: Chic Boutique

St. Charles is a historic town known that once was known for its antiques.  Nicki Turnbull decided to take a different approach by first bringing workout apparel and then boutique clothing for both men and women to town.     

Here is a little about what Nicki has to say about Chic Boutique:

"When the boutique initially launched, I had one intention. I wanted to carefully curate a collection of women's styles that would be on-trend and flatter all shapes and sizes. Both my family and husband saw the drive behind this project of mine and encouraged me to take the leap to open the boutique.

I was determined to seek out designs that not only looked incredible but also were available at a reasonable price. It was important to me to ensure that the shop had both splurge/luxury styles, and the classic pieces that wouldn't break the bank. Less than a year after my husband and I were married, the store opened. In June of 2016, my dreams officially became a reality in the vibrant scene of downtown St. Charles, IL."

For more information about everything Chic Boutique has to offer visit

History in the making: Two Wild Seeds

Our Story …

Sisters Leslie Sabella (the artist) and Katie Kritzberg (the baker), a.k.a. the Two Wild Seeds, were born and raised in the Midwest where they learned to appreciate a very self-sustaining way of life from their mom, Susan Kritzberg. Both creative souls, the sisters always dreamt of creating a space that celebrated their love of nature, local food, art, and the bohemian lifestyle.

When Leslie moved to California in 2014, their desire for a way to stay connected across the miles became even more clear, and that’s when the concept for Two Wild Seeds was planted. However, it wasn’t until Katie and their mom looked to open their first brick-and-mortar bakery in Illinois that the dream finally came to fruition.

Like seeds, from which all things root and grow, Leslie and Katie are the seeds of those who came before them. Their deep connection to where they grew up has allowed them to infuse a certain passion and authenticity into everything they do, from cooking a meal to creating a piece of artwork. This keeps them inspired each day, all with the goal of sharing it here on TWS.

Today, even though life has taken the sisters in different directions, and they’ve scattered like seeds to opposite sides of the country, their roots will always be grounded where it all started — at home.

Susan Kritzberg: Proud mother and Co-owner/Pastry Chef of Two Wild Seeds Baking Company. Susan was born and raised in the small, (once) rural town of Yorkville, Illinois. She grew up on 4 acres of property that her father purchased in the 50s, which also happens to be where Susan raised her three children and still resides today.
Some of her fondest memories of her country childhood include horseback riding, swimming in their ponds, exploring the woods, learning to garden from her Dad, and drawing, which ultimately led her to study art at Northern Illinois University. With a B.F.A. in drawing and painting, Susan pursued her love of art by teaching privately for more than 25 years, becoming a published colored pencil artist and even opening her own art gallery in downtown Yorkville. In addition to her artistic nature, she has always been known for her gourmet cooking and baking, which to no surprise, is of exquisite quality and taste due to her eye for detail and refined palate.

or anyone who has ever had the pleasure of meeting Susan, you’ll instantly feel as though you’ve been friends for years. Her genuine love for all things nature combined with her passion for creating beautiful food and desserts is unparalleled and every bit authentic.

When Susan isn’t helping run Two Wild Seeds Baking Company with her daughter, Katie, she enjoys raising her flock of chickens, caring for her two dogs (Midgy & Beau), tending to her ever-expanding garden, and most of all — spending time with her family and new baby grandson, Emerson.

Leslie Sabella: The first “Wild Seed,” Contributing Editor to Two Wild Seeds & Owner of True Spirit Art.

After graduating from Northern Illinois University with Honors in Art History, Leslie decided to switch gears and, with the support of her parents, realized a dream of opening her own eclectic shop filled with products to inspire the soul. For five years, Blue Orchid Studio was an outlet for her creative and entrepreneurial passion, and provided her the opportunity of learning about building the foundation of a business. Leslie carefully hand-picked each and every item for the shop, scrutinizing the design, packaging, message, and quality. Although it was difficult to close her shop’s doors in 2011, new pursuits were on the horizon for both she and her husband, Jonathan Sabella, a CG artist. After living in Vancouver and Los Angeles, they currently call San Francisco their home-away-from-home.

Along the way, she decided (with much encouragement from Jonathan), it was time to do something with her love of drawing. In 2012, she opened her Etsy shop under the name Leslie Sabella and hasn’t looked back since. Today her brand True Spirit Art offers fine art prints, greeting cards, recipe cards, and newly released adult coloring book “Boho Soul” worldwide. “Knowing my art is lovingly appreciated by people from all corners of the world is humbling.”

With the 2016 launch of Two Wild Seeds online, and the brick and mortar bakery location in Illinois, Leslie is excited to showcase her brand True Spirit Art for new buyers, as well as helping hand select retail products and design TWS’s marketing materials.

When she’s not immersed in her world of art, she loves spending time with her husband and dog, Bella, traveling to new and old places, cooking vegetarian dishes, knitting, practicing yoga and seeking out the comfort of natural open spaces in this busy world.

 Katie Kritzberg: The second “Wild Seed,” Contributing Editor to Two Wild Seeds & Co-owner/Pastry Chef of Two Wild Seeds Baking Company.

Katie is a bonafide Midwestern girl. Born and raised in the rural suburbs of Chicago, she grew up on four acres of property that can only be described as a magical oasis. From running around barefoot eating wild raspberries and foraging through the woods for morel mushrooms, to cracking walnuts with her grandpa and picking green beans from her mom’s garden, Katie has always felt “at home” in the outdoors — and with food, of course.

Though she’d always dreamt of doing something culinary-related, Katie followed her lifelong love for writing and graduated with honors in Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She then moved to Chicago to pursue a career in food writing, and it was only a short while after dining in some of the city’s best restaurants that she decided to follow her passion for cooking by attending the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts

After a few years of working for some of the top farm-to-table restaurants, bakeries, and cafes, Katie grew tired of the city’s fast-paced lifestyle and returned home in search of something more personal … something that would feed her entrepreneurial spirit and desire for a simpler way of life. That’s when she and her mom had the opportunity to launch their gluten-free baking company, which is now one of the most sought-after GF bakeries in the Chicagoland!

Katie is thrilled to return to her roots by combining her passion for both food and writing here on Two Wild Seeds with her older sister, Leslie, and mom, Susan. 

When she’s not in the kitchen or nose-deep in cookbooks, Katie strives to lead a self-sustaining, natural lifestyle and enjoys traveling, exploring the outdoors and spending time with her dog, Lola. 


For more information and the daily menu visit

History in the making: Kilwins

Float down 1st Street between Illinois and Main in St. Charles to Kilwins Chocolates, Fudge, and Ice Cream.

Since 1947 Kilwins has been a celebrated part of Americana having earned a reputation for providing high-quality products and excellent service. Our heritage was built on the simple premise of creating our products from the finest ingredients and providing customers with great service. Today we continue the tradition by uniquely combining high-quality products with a warm friendly customer experience that is supported by a successful community of caring owner-operators. We continue to offer the finest quality, traditional down-home confections and ice cream that are kitchen made fresh from premium ingredients and original recipes.

Our values are simple; Treat others as you want to be treated, Do your best, and Have fun! These values translate directly to a culture of people who are driven to provide an exceptional confectionery experience. Coupled with our high-quality products, in-store craftsmanship, and genuinely friendly staff we create an atmosphere that our customers want to visit again and again. From sight, to taste, touch, smell and sound a visit to Kilwins provides an authentic sensory and taste experience like none other. Our customers have come to know and love us as “My Kilwins” and share Kilwins with friends and family. Kilwins is where people celebrate, vacation, and share the experience of life, family, and gifts in a nostalgic Americana setting.

“Sweet in every Sense since 1947”

History in the making: The Finery & Blacksmith Bar

The corner of 3rd Street and Main Street in St. Charles has been a busy intersection since at least the 1880s. And the stately 3 story tower that crowns the building on the southwest corner bears witness to the importance of this section of downtown. Before the tower was built, in about 1900, this corner had been the home of Klink’s Wagon and Blacksmith Shop, and the space next to the shop, where the Finery and Blacksmith Shop Bar now stands, had been part of that business.

There is some evidence that Mr. Klink was an abolitionist, and local folklore tells that Klink’s wagon shop was a stop on the Underground Railroad for fugitive slaves. Klink’s shop had a special ramp that wagons were rolled up into when they were being repaired. This permitted easy access to the undercarriage of the wagon. But it also provided a way for wagons with secret cubbyholes in them to be unloaded inside the wagon shop, away from prying eyes. Fugitive slaves were said to be the hidden treasure in those wagon cubbyholes, and the fugitive slaves were safely hidden in secret rooms in the shop until they could be smuggled into Canada by other works on the underground railroad.

Even in the early part of the 20th century Week’s Blacksmith shop was located almost across the street from where The Finery and Blacksmith Bar are today.

So, it’s fitting that today, a Blacksmith Bar stands within eyesight of Klink’s Wagon Shop.

The Finery is an ode to the American table with its diversity and global influences. Chefs David and Juliette champion bold, flavorful and sincere cooking while sourcing the finest ingredients the region has to offer. The Finery is among the best regional American kitchens in the Midwest, all the while remaining approachable, affordable and welcoming.  With cooking experience from Mexico and the South of France, Reyes brings that passion to your table.

Some notable offerings:

  • Brunch on Sundays from 11am - 3pm - fantastic brunch dishes, bottomless mimosas, and great bloody marys
  • Live music every Wednesday - the band is different each week
  • Tasting menu that changes monthly - 3 course OR 5 course option available with wine pairings
  • Happy Hour from 4pm - 6pm - 1/2 OFF our burger and select appetizer, beer and wine specials


 or more information visit:

History in the making: Kimmer's Ice Cream

Our founder, Kimberly Yates, was once encouraged to pursue what she loved.  Kimberly is an Iowa Hawkeye, grew up in Batavia and has been savoring all things ice cream since she was a toddler. She worked in an ice cream shop all through high school and studied business and entrepreneurship in college. Her professors told her “do what you love” and she took them literally, attending Ice Cream University right after her graduation from Iowa.

She bought the former Gramps Frozen Custard in St. Charles in October 2010 and has been making ice cream history ever since. The love for our homemade ice cream grew and in 2015 we opened our second location in Wheaton! Our passion is ice cream and our community and we are here to serve you our delicious ice cream which is always "homemade with love". We have 20 flavor options always available and everyone loves our Sparkle Cones!

Kimmers strives to always hire staff locally. Hiring staff from local high schools and colleges helps us to be a better part of the community and they love being a part of their lives and being their introduction into having a job.     

Kimmer's offers fundraising events through the Kimmer's Kares program! They love being a part of the community and supporting the great work that is being done. Through Kimmer's Kares program they partner with local schools, teams, churches, and non-profits to invest in the work they are doing.

Want to know more about hosting your own Kimmer's Kares event? Reach out to our shop at630.762.9480. Did you know you can also host your child's birthday party at our shop?! It's true! We do the work and you get celebrated!

History in the Making: DRM European Cafe & Delicatessen

St. Charles’s first settlers came to the area from places like Vermont and New Hampshire and New York. But, after the turn of the century, a lot of our settlers came from much further – from places like Belgium, Switzerland, Ireland, and Germany. During the growth spurt just before WWII, settlers were arriving from all over the world. St. Charles had booming industries in everything from pianos to kitchen cabinets to hammocks and milk condensing plants.

On the west side of town, the Gartner’s Bakery staffed their store with German bakers. Their bread was famous and so were their 25c Chicken Dinners. But Gartner’s is long gone. That doesn’t mean St. Charles doesn’t continue to attract and welcome people from around the world.

The Migo family immigrated from Poland to the United States in 1984. With a suitcase in hand and big dreams for their future, they embarked on an incredible journey made possible by the sponsorship of Saint John Newman Church in Saint Charles. Dan and JoJo look forward to meeting local residents and will work very hard to provide an exceptional, warm meal and infuse the shop with all the sights, sounds, fragrances, and foods of eastern European countries.

Daniel Migo has served the Saint Charles community for several years alongside his mother providing exceptional care for the elderly through this home care agency and Halina's Senior Services. The residences of Halina's Senior Services are beautiful and private care homes situated in downtown Saint Charles. They continue to be owned and operated by the Migo family today.

Daniel's dream has always been to open an eastern European restaurant and grocery store to share with his community the culture and cuisine of his childhood experiences. Daniel is passionate about cooking and providing hospitality to others, and he has never forgotten where he came from or the generous opportunity the Saint Charles community provided for him and his family so many years ago. This is his way of giving back a piece of his culture to the community.

And so...with the help of his wife Jo-Jo, this creative and ambitious couple are excited to bring an authentic, ever-changing, and unique dining and shopping experience to the Saint Charles community.

Our mission here at DRM is simple- to provide you with a truly authentic European dining and shopping experience. We value quality cuisine and exceptional service with the goal of having you return and share your experience with family and friends. More than anything, we understand that food evokes such a special memory. We pride our cooking to be reminiscent of our Babcia's cooking. We hope that your experience here at DRM transports you to another place and time where memories of sitting around the dinner table with a family of friends and celebrating the traditions of your childhood are remembered.  We strive to provide an exceptional warm meal and infuse the shop with all the sights, sounds, fragrances, and foods of the wonderfully diverse countries of eastern Europe and beyond.

For more information visit: