The Dunder Mifflins of Lake Street

Two buildings across the street from each other on Lake Street near Halsted on the Near West Side have ghost signs advertising similar paper businesses located there long ago.

727 W. Lake Street was formerly the home of Rauth Brothers. William and Louis Rauth, who had moved to Chicago in the late 1860s from Wisconsin, had separate paper dealerships since at least 1885. By 1892, they had come together as Routh Bros. The company, originally located less than a block away, moved here in 1900. Louis died in 1926. After William died a year later, his son, William A., took over the company. It was sold when William A. retired in 1956. By the time he died in 1971, it was no longer in business.

730 W. Lake Street, now a storage warehouse, was formerly the home to Hollis & Duncan Paper Manufacturers. The company was organized in 1881 by William D. Hollis and John A. Duncan. Over time, both became respected merchants in the business. Duncan died in 1914; Hollis died in 1925. The business continued for decades, at least until the 1950s.

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