Stewart Centre celebrates 50 years in downtown Freeport, Illinois

Stewart Centre celebrates 50 years in downtown Freeport, Illinois


Brian Stewart, right, speaks with Marjorie Phillips, one of the original tenants of the State Bank building, now known as Stewart Centre, on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021, in downtown Freeport.

FREEPORT — More than 50 years ago, E. L. Wright, then president of State Bank, announced plans to build a $2.75 million mini-scraper in downtown Freeport.

The 12-story building that occupies an entire city block remains the same as it did on Sept. 7, 1971, when it opened bringing in tenants from across the area that would help Freeport grow and flourish.

On Tuesday, Brian Stewart, the owner of the 80,000-square-foot building known as Stewart Centre, held a small ceremony at the exact time and date of the original opening of the building 50 years ago.

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“It’s an honor to own an iconic piece of Freeport history, though we are only the caretakers for the next generation for the next 50 years,” Stewart said. “I am a fan of this building and am fortunate to have acquired the building 14 years ago. I began looking at the history, sharing much of it on social media, and then decided to honor something that is still standing after 50 years that made such a mark in downtown Freeport.”

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