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Chicago Bee Building


The last major structure built in the State Street commercial district was a combination newspaper, office and apartment building, commissioned by Anthony Overton. Overton was the businessman and entrepreneur who founded the Overton Hygienic Products Co. The company manufactured and sold flavor extracts and toiletries in the early 1900's. By 1920, Overton was running a million dollar company. He also established the Douglass National Bank which operated until the depression of the 1930's.

The Chicago Bee, founded in 1926 was one of Chicago's African American newpapers. This building was Overton's affirmation of his confidence in the viability of the State Street Commercial district. This three story building was one of the most picturesque in the district, and the one designed in the Art Deco style of the 1920's. All of Overton's enterprises shared this building until the early 1940's when the newspaper went out of business. The cosmetics firm continued to occupy the building until the early 1980's. The City of Chicago purchased the building and it is now a Chicago Public Library. Binga Bank, opened by Jesse Binga, was once immediately next door. Binga Bank was the first African American owned and operated bank in the nation.



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