Dan Callahan, Sr in the early 30s.

The closing of D.W. Callahan & Sons, Inc., Plumbing, Heating, & Sprinkler Systems came on April 30, the same day that its long-time owner Dan Callahan died. 

Callahan Plumbing & Heating, 7056 Roosevelt Rd., goes way back in time. The Callahan business was initially established by Daniel W. Callahan, Sr. during the Depression years in 1931. At 18, Daniel, Sr. attended Washburne Trade School, the known as “The Harvard of Trade Schools,” and soon became a licensed Master Plumber and a member of the Chicago Journeymen Plumber’s Union, Local 130. Besides the union, Daniel, Sr., determined as he was, continued to learn as much as he could as a plumber craftsman while working for Wagner & Sons, a local plumbing company.

But soon, Dan, Sr. was eager to start his own plumbing business. So, in the 1930s, together with his brother, John E. Callahan, also a licensed Master Plumber, and with his wife Helen as secretary, he started his own plumbing and heating business out of the family home at 741 S. Maple Ave. At the time the business was launched, Dan Sr. and Helen had two children. Eventually there would be 10.

In time, Callahan, Sr. purchased the Roosevelt Road building. The company not only catered to private customers in the Oak Park/River Forest and surrounding suburban areas but also did much of the plumbing work for the Village of Oak Park. Dan, Sr. often went out on a cold freezing winter night to fix a broken underground pipe in the village. Some of the Callahan’s private customers were struggling families and the Callahan brothers empathized with their situation and these customers were not charged for the work they did.

One longtime customer of Dan, Sr., just recently commented that she will never forget him. She remembered that in the 1960s, he came out to fix a plumbing problem which turned out to be a minor thing. But because she was obligated to pay for a service call, Dan, Sr. suggested that he look at all the other sink drains and then fix what was running slowly. Besides that, she said, “If you ever knew Dan Callahan, Sr. you would never forget him, as he had a unique and likeable ‘down to earth’ way about him and a special talent for making one laugh.” 

Eventually, Dan, Sr.’s brother, John Callahan extended the plumbing business west to Elmhurst where he had built his own home. As time went on, two of Daniel Callahan, Sr.’s, sons, Thomas Joseph. Sr. and Daniel Webster, Jr., began learning the business from the bottom up while working in the plumbing shop during their early growing-up school years and on the weekends. As Tom, Sr., and Dan Jr., became young men in the 1950s and 1960s, they also attended Washburne Trade School and became Master/Journeymen Plumbers and members of the Local 130. The young Callahan brothers, Tom, Sr., and Dan, Jr., then became an integral part of the company. With all the new innovations of the era, sprinkler systems were becoming very popular, as well as necessary. Tom, Sr., and Dan, Jr., immediately acknowledged this and worked and trained together with

Weathermatic and Mueller Mist to learn the “ins and outs” of sprinkler systems. They then expanded the Callahan plumbing and heating business to included sprinkler systems for residential homes and commercial businesses. Besides their residential sprinkler work, they also were proud to have done an excellent job of installing the sprinkler system at Wrigley Field, the football field at Oak Park and River Forest High School; and the beautiful green grassy area in Oak Park’s Scoville Park. 

But 1991 was a sad time for all the Callahans. Daniel Callahan, Sr. had been long afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease and passed away. But his sons, Tom and Dan, continued to build the business into the new century. Then in 2005, time stood still for the Callahans as they received the unexpected and shocking news of the Tom’s passing It was a difficult time for Dan without his brother, partner in business, and best friend. But he continued to carry on the business until this year.

In 2014, Dan Callahan’s health had deteriorated and the decision was made to close the family business. Callahan often expressed his warm and heartfelt thanks to all his many, many, longtime devoted customers for their unfailing devotion to him and the family business.

After 83 years, the doors to D.W. Callahan & Sons, Inc., Plumbing, Heating & Sprinkler Systems were closed at the end of April, unexpectedly the same time as Dan Callahan’s death. 

Longtime customers, Carl and Karen Scafidi of Oak Park, said, “We can’t believe Callahan’s is closing! We are so grateful that we got to know Callahan Plumbing and to have all the great service they gave us for over 50 years. They were like family and we will surely miss them. We will especially miss Dan Callahan Jr.’s Irish smile, his warm likeable personality, and the time, plumbing expertise, and genuine help he gave us in our home, as well as the advice and help he gave us out of the goodness of his heart whenever we stopped in the plumbing shop just to talk to him about plumbing problems.” 

Please note:

It is important that D.W. Callahan & Sons Inc., Plumbing, Heating and Sprinkler Systems has always been an independent business. It has never been connected to, or in any way aligned or associated with Callahan Plumbing & Irrigation in Lemont, IL, nor Callahan Plumbing in Bartlet/Elgin, IL.

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