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The thousands of motorists who speed past it daily probably never consider the local historical significance of the modest, two-story aluminum sided building that sits vacant at 63 W. Washington Street (Route 34) just west of Main Street in downtown Oswego.
Constructed in 1884 as the village's first town hall, it also included a jail cell. A few short years later, the village agreed to share space in the building with Oswego Township government and by 1898 it housed a hose cart in an attached garage for the village's newly-organized fire brigade. A bell tower constructed to the side of the building would summon members of the fire brigade to duty.
Later, during and immediately after World War I, members of the Oswego chapter of the American Red Cross used the building's second floor to roll bandages to aid the nation's war effort. Then, a few years after World War II, the building became home of the Panther's Den, the village's first teen club. The effort to organize the teen club eventually led to the establishment of the Oswegoland Park District.
The building is now targeted for demolition to make way for a new restaurant proposed by the owners of Potter's Place and Jimmy's Grill, both in downtown Naperville. The village board is expected to approve plans for the restaurant within the next several weeks.
Before the crews come to tear it down, here's a look back at the building's long history with photos provided by the Little White School Museum: