Your little La Salle County Online Museum

Dick's Place (Tutaj Grocery Store)

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  Dick's place was a very small grocery store owned and operated by Dick Tutaj and was formerly called Tutaj Grocery. It was located on Tonti street directly east of Hegeler Park swimming pool. The store operated approximately from the late 1930's up to the latter half of the 1970's.
    After swimming on hot summer days we would go to the small store and get candy, soda pop and Ice Cream.  Mom's and dad's could get grocery items and cut meats. My great uncle Dick and great aunt Helen ran the store. Both are seen in some of the photos below.

The Tutaj Grocery Store 1950

My great aunt Helen with her nephew carl
In the early 1970s

Dick Tutaj playing a game of cards
Dick Tutaj was born in 1904 and passed away in 1971

Dick Tutaj pictured in his store

Helen behind the counter
It was candy heaven for us as kids gowing up in the 60's and 70's



Helen's sister Eleanor with daughter Cathy 1960s
Eleanor 1918-1995

The back of bldg looking west
Hegeler swimming pool just beyond Dick's place

Hegeler Park Swimming Pool
You can see Dick's place in the background behind the diving boards!

The High Dive at Hegeler park
I remember jumping off this high dive!

Kathy and brother and her brother playing
It was kathy who gave me copies of all these pictures. I thank her!

Inside the store on the North wall
They were big baseball fans

The Tutaj Grocery Store in the early years

Stanley Tutaj brother of Dick Tutaj
Stanley Tutaj played in the minor leagues for the Cleveland Indians

The store had closed

Helen in the late 1980's (born 1908-1993)
Photo by Ray Tutaj Jr.

A little bit of Tutaj history in LaSalle is that the first Tutaj's to arrive in America and in this area was in the early 1870's and they were a Bartholomew (1843-1908) and Albert Tutaj.  Bartholomew had 10 children and one of them was named Joe (1871-1930) That Joe had six children and also named one of the boys Joseph. He was born in 1902 and died in 1968. Joe became a state trooper in LaSalle and in 1935 was one of the two troopers (the other is Joe Groman) who apprehended the suspects in the well-known Leonore Bank Robbery which resulted in seven dead men. Joe Tutaj had a brother named Richard (or known as Dick Tutaj (1904-1971) and it is he who ran the store up until he died. Afterwards Helen ran it for a short time.
I have been told by relatives that Dick's place was also a polling place for voters in that precinct.

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