Just to reboot this thread, I perhaps can add some additional details of special interest. I believe you can see a photo of the AN marquee to the front entrance by visiting the following link:
Also, a nice historical write up can be found at:
I have in my collection the 8th, 9th and 10th editions of the AN Catalogs. Here is a scan of the store front at 182 N. La Salle St.
The model railroad bug got me at a very early age starting in my Grandfather's basement. In order to distract me and my sister from touching his model trains, I was given an HO Dockside without a motor in it and and my sister got Oscar & Piker with a long True Scale run of track down an incline to let them coast. The highlight of our visits at such a tender age.
As I developed a rubber neck every time I saw a train, it was only a matter of time before I started pestering my Grand Dad Les to take me to the hobby shop. That hobby shop was AN in downtown Chicago. It took a very long time to talk him into a trip from Lombard into the city on a Saturday. After all, he worked for the CTA all week long and did not care to commute again on the weekend.
Les was a very well known model rail fan in the Chicago land area. He knew and was friends with just about everyone either associated with the transportation industry and other well know hobbists. He had HO in the basement and a large O Scale Traction running out of his garage into the garden which attracted many model rail fans to come out for summer weekend operations. He was also the circulation manager for the NMRA Midwest Region Waybill for many years with an addressograph in the basement. At the time he was addressing to 1,500 region members. He was founder of and several times President of the Garfield-Clarendon Model Railroad Club.
Aside from my trying to get to the hobby shop Grandpa Les and my Grandma took me to many NMRA Region and National meets over the years. It just so happened on the first visit I ever had to AN Grandpa Les needed to buy a new Wagner power truck for one of his O Scale Interurban models. I can't tell you how big of an impression that visit to the store made on me that day. I could not fall asleep that night. In my eyes at that age it had to have been the best hobby shop in the world. And especially so for the professional model builders because in my Grand Dad's day coming out of the depression years and with material shortages during WWII many guys had to be scratch builders out of necessity and AN continued to catered to that market with kits and parts. The reason Les was so into O Scale Traction was he originally began his career working for the Chicago Surface Lines. He could have easily worked for the CB&Q but he loved traction. He began as a motor man and one of the original street cars he operated is 144 located at the Illinois RR Museum in Union, IL. He retired from the CTA but while he was employed I got to ride with him all over the EL system including the Skokie Swift for free. I will never forget those times. BTW, I took my son Les to Union to see the 144.
The AN catalogs I still turn to as reference material on occasion plus it is fun to dream.