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Lansing History: First it was First National Bank; now it’s Mancino’s

In between, it was Hofstra’s for Men and Holiday World

LANSING, Ill. (July 27, 2023) – In the year 1953, on Friday the 13th in the month of February, on the northeast corner of Ridge Road and Roy Street, a new modernistic building greeted approximately 5,000 people to its open house. It was the new and improved location of the First National Bank of Lansing.

1953 – First National Bank

Reinhold W. Widde founded the bank in 1945 at 3439 Ridge Road (just west of Blue Collar Supply). By 1953 the bank needed more space to accommodate the 41% increase in Lansing’s population since 1950.

The First National Bank of Lansing building at the corner of Ridge Road and Roy Street was touted as the “finest and latest in design of any facility, equipment or methods known to the banking industry.”

The open house invitation read: “Every convenience that can be found in any large metropolitan bank is available here. The officers and directors invite one and all to stop in and visit the new quarters of the First National Bank of Lansing. Ample parking is available at the rear of the building.”

First National Bank
While the exterior of the First National Bank building (top photo) is still recognizable though it is home to Mancino’s now, the space inside has been completely transformed. The bank occupied the full depth of the building and was filled with offices and workstations for employees and clients. (Photos provided by the Lansing Historical Society, originally published on the back cover of Lansing’s 1954 Centennial book)

Architects Hutton and Hutton designed the region’s only outside walk-up teller windows along the sidewalk of Roy Street on the west side of the building. Today there is no evidence of that feature, and only one photo of it is known to exist.

First National Bank
An advertisement in the August 11, 1959, edition of The Times (Munster, Indiana) shows the only known photograph of the walk-up teller windows at First National Bank of Lansing. The ad copy reads in part, “These walk-up tellers are able to handle any banking transaction you may have.”

Growing and moving

Lansing’s population continued to grow, and the bank was again forced to accommodate the increased business. An addition to the rear of the building was completed in 1959 to give the bank a total of 7,200 square feet.

On March 9, 1970 — the 25th anniversary of the bank’s opening in 1945 — a groundbreaking ceremony was held for its new $600,000-plus, two-story facility across the street on the northwest corner of Ridge and Roy. This new state-of-the-art building was designed to eventually add a third floor for future expansion. The raw-ribbed concrete was intended to produce a “shaggy contrast” with the bronze-tinted windows and metal appointments. Lansing Historian Paul Schultz recalled watching a man on a scaffold pounding the concrete with a hammer to make the smooth concrete ribbed. “I felt so sorry for him,” he said.

First National Bank
First National Bank of Illinois is still located in the state-of-the-art building they moved into in 1970. The “raw-ribbed” concrete is particularly visible in the night lighting of the building. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

Widde served as bank president until his retirement in 1972, and he continued serving as chairman of the board of directors until he resigned in 1982. He died in 1989 at age 82.

In January 1986 the bank changed its name to the First National Bank of Illinois. With the name registered, there can be no other bank in the state with the same name.

The bank president at the time, Gilbert Rynberk Jr., told the Northwest Indiana Times, “Our new name simply reflects an enlarged service area that our bank now serves through two banking offices in Lynwood and Lansing, plus a preparedness for any offices in the future.” An office in South Holland has since been added.

1971 – Hofstra’s for Men

Mayor Jack McNary purchased the former bank building at 3300 Ridge Road. Village Trustee Oscar Hofstra moved his Hofstra’s for Men clothing store into the front space. The back space was divided and rented to several other businesses, including McNary’s Ports of Call travel agency, formerly located at 2753 Bernice.

This was the fourth location for Hofstra. He opened his first store at 3304 Ridge (near what is now Gayety’s) in 1948. After a fire destroyed that store, he moved temporarily across the street to 3307 Ridge (most recently Golden Palace). In the late 1960s he moved to 3319 Ridge (now Health Foot Massage), where he celebrated the 20th anniversary of his business on January 18, 1970. His final business address in 1971 was 3300 Ridge where the store’s name covering the length of the store became a local landmark.

First National Bank sold to Hofstra's
A photo from the 1976 Lansing Bicentennial Reflections book shows the signage that made Hofstra’s clothing store a local landmark.

Hofstra had taken on a junior partner, Larry Adams, employed by Hofstra since 1956. Adams and his wife Joan bought the business in 1980 when Hofstra retired after 38 years. Adams kept the traditions Oscar Hofstra had begun, including an in-house tailor shop for all alterations. Those personal services kept Hofstra’s in competition with the newer stores in River Oaks and The Landings. Adams also kept abreast of trending styles, including the late 1980s fashion of men’s pastel-colored suits with matching shirts and paisley ties. Hofstra’s even carried “jams,” the knee-length shorts in loud Hawaiian prints that stylish 80s men wore.

But according to a Times article in April 1991, Adams said his business had lost $320,000 in the previous three years. He blamed discount malls and a recession in the retail market. He determined it was time to find a new use for his building. Not everyone agreed with his choice.

Adams proposed a pool hall that would be run by his son Tom and his two friends, Guy Quenzler and Dan Robinson. Petitions were circulated, resulting in 596 signatures against the Village Board allowing this type of establishment. The Planning and Zoning board had considered the request, and their vote resulted in a 4-4 tie. The Village Board, however, never got the opportunity to receive the petitions or vote on the issue as the group withdrew its request.

1991 – Holiday World

With the store becoming available, 28-year-old Mark Foster jumped at the chance to fulfill his dream of reviving the spirit he grew up with at Holiday World.

Holiday World was originally located at 2521 Ridge Road, just east of Boz Hot Dogs. Mark’s parents, Gene and Bernice Foster, started the business in 1964, spreading holiday joy during every holiday season of the year with the appropriate decorations, furniture, and gifts. They did that until they died within months of each other in 1982. Gene died first, and the business was left to Bernice. Bernice died shortly after, but she had no will, so the property couldn’t automatically transfer to the children and instead went to probate court. The kids wanted to continue operating the store they had worked in since they were small, but without a will they had no choice and were forced to sell.

Mark was especially attached to the business. It had been his life since he was just seven years old. But he found work selling insurance and cars until the Hofstra’s for Men building at the corner of Ridge and Roy became available. He revived Holiday World at that location in October 1991, bringing the same holiday magic he felt as a child to new generations.

Mark put his heart and soul into the business. If he sold you a Christmas tree, he urged you to attend his Saturday morning classes on how to put it together. The store became a winter wonderland at Christmas, a scary scene at Halloween, and a beautiful spring setting at Easter. There were gifts galore and penny candy, and it was a great place to browse.

1997 – Mancino’s

Holiday World closed in the early 1990s, and Mancino’s Pizza and Grinders took over the location when the Todd family moved their franchise from 18149 Henry Street. The shop continues to serve hungry customers to this day, now under the ownership of Greg Kowalski, who bought the restaurant and the entire building in September of 2022.

Owners Jim, John, and Amy Todd — siblings — posted on the Mancino’s of Lansing Facebook page: “We would like to thank this community, our home town, for all of the amazing support over these 24 years. We will miss this business and all of the wonderful people that we have met along the way. Make sure to stop in and meet the new owner this week. We will be concentrating on our wine bar, Pour on Roy, which is right next door! Stop by and see us.”

Other businesses in the building

Only the four businesses detailed above have occupied the front of the building since the First National Bank built it, but many businesses have moved in and out of the back of the building. Listed are ones for whom records could be found. Dates indicate time of occupancy, not necessarily when the business opened or closed:

  • 1971: McNary’s Ports of Call Travel Agency – Owned by Mayor Jack McNary and his wife Meleda, the agency moved from 2753 Bernice when McNary bought the bank building. The skeleton of the old Ports of Call sign can still be seen today.
    The skeleton of the old Ports of Call sign, designed to look like a nautical captain’s wheel, is still visible where it stood on Bernice Road. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma, July 2023)
  • 1974-1975: The Back Door – This shop specialized in kitchenware but didn’t last long.
  • 1980-2005: Cake Pan Alley – Owned by Vicky Solczak and her husband Jim, the cake and candy-making supply store featured decorating classes. They occupied the space for 25 years.
  • 1991: Dr. Terrance Carmine – an optometrist who specialized in family vision care.
  • 1994: EDI Financial Inc. – Ted Zeilstra handled securities and investments insurance.
  • 1994: Health Choices – This store provided natural health choices and offered therapeutic massages.
  • 1999-2000: Bossa Nova Records – Local artists performed free concerts at this store. One such band was JaneAdsUp consisting of Joel Vanderzee, Steven VanDerGriend, Jeff Stienstra, and Benjamin Bultema.
  • 2004: The Pottery Pallette – A paint-your-own-pottery studio owned by Peggy Ariano & Kristen Sannato. They didn’t sell pottery, but customers could print their own possessions.
  • 2007: Country Insurance and Financial Services – Angela Denton was one of the agents.
  • 2016: BackYard Que – Tonya Stanton owned this carry-out BBQ restaurant.
  • 2017-2020: Troost Coffee & Tea – Renee Kooy Fentress owned this quaint coffee shop and gathering place.

Remnants of history

Today, behind Mancino’s, the occupants of the historic building include Pour On Roy, Aquatic Life & More, and OooWee Chicken and Ribs. Although the spacious building has been divided into separate configurations and purposes, remnants of the First National Bank of Lansing remain.

The kitchen at Pour on Roy was once the bank vault. Its concrete walls and ceiling are three feet deep. Amy Todd, one of the owners, said, “We have a convection oven because we couldn’t put in a vent.” She added, “But it would be a good place to be in a tornado.”

The storage room houses a huge furnace that once heated the entire building. A breaker box door still bears the original identification of each circuit breaker, including, for example, “teller’s cage.”

First National Bank
An ancient breaker box still identifies one of the circuit breakers for the “teller’s cage.” (Photo: Marlene Cook)

A blocked door was once the way to a spiral staircase in the Cake Pan Alley business. Now it goes nowhere.

While doing ceiling renovation, a souvenir tin trinket box was found. Once used as a promotional giveaway, it is emblazoned with the name of the bank.

And on the outside wall, along Ridge Road, the First National Bank of Lansing’s after hour deposit box remains a solid reminder of the ultra-modern bank that Mancino’s used to be.

First National Bank of Lansing
The night deposit box is still part of the Mancino’s structure, visible on the short wall near the outdoor tables along Ridge Road. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
First National Bank
After Hour Depository (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

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Marlene Cook
Marlene Cook
Marlene Cook is a Lansing resident who loves learning and writing about local history. A member of the Illinois Women's Press Association since 1973, she has won multiple IWPA awards. Her 2020 awards in the Mate E. Palmer Communications Contest included first place for columns and second place for nonfiction book in the history category.


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