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Farewell party for part of E. Dundee history

This building part former DoederleLumber Co. complex East Dundee will be demolished help village officials move forward plans make downtown

This building, part of the former Doederlein Lumber Co. complex in East Dundee, will be demolished to help village officials move forward on plans to make the downtown a notable Fox Valley destination. | Erin Sauder~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 18, 2013 6:48AM

EAST DUNDEE — For the past three decades, Jim Nallen has been racking up miles along the Fox River Trail in East Dundee.

“First I ran it, then as they improved the trail I started riding my bicycle,” the Schaumburg resident said.

He’s watched the area around the trail change with the times.

And on Saturday, he was one of dozens of people who came out to say farewell to the yellow building across from the Anvil Club, part of the former Doederlein Lumber Co. complex, which soon will be demolished to make way for East Dundee’s downtown revitalization effort. The warehouse and property have been donated to the village by Fred Doederlein’s widow, DeLoris. The party was held at 110 Railroad St.

“I’m going to miss it,” Nallen said of the warehouse. “This trail is like riding through a living museum. Every time you knock down a building, it’s a part of history leaving.”

DeLoris Doederlein is partnering with Tom Roeser, president of OTTO Engineering in neighboring Carpentersville, to help East Dundee officials move forward on plans to make the downtown a notable Fox Valley destination. The focus will be on enhancing the Depot Plaza Square area, which includes concepts for public improvements as well as private development projects. Some proposed amenities for the area — which includes Barrington, Meier and River streets — are a children’s splash pad, removable ice rink, restaurant, retail and even an upscale apartment complex.

Deb Cagle, who works at Piece-A-Cake Bakery near the Fox River Trail bike/pedestrian path, is excited to see the revitalization begin.

“I think you need businesses to come downtown,” she said. “And it’s good OTTO is helping bring people back. People need to know there are more than just bars in East Dundee.”

Doederlein said her husband, a lifelong resident of East Dundee, bought the lumber business in 1967 from his father and incorporated it as Fred Doederlein Lumber and later as Fred Doederlein Enterprises.

“He had a degree in business law, but years back you followed in your father’s footsteps,” she said.

Others who came out to say farewell to the warehouse Saturday included Village President Jerald Bartels and Trustee Lael Miller, as well as area business owners and residents.

“This is a great opportunity for East Dundee,” Miller said. “Our plan is to bring more foot traffic, business opportunities and residents to the downtown. So this is very exciting to us.”

During the farewell party, Doederlein mingled with the guests; shared pictures and memorabilia of her and Fred’s life, including her years as a former state representative; and even sang a song she wrote about East Dundee called “Downtown on River Street.”

Doederlein said the demolition of the warehouse will begin this month. Because the bike/pedestrian path will be closed in that area during the demolition, she said, officials want to have it completed before summer begins.

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