Historic Chicago Plaques Lost to History

Historic Chicago Plaques Lost to History
I can’t tell you the first one I ever saw, but I can tell you the first one I ever really took notice of. As I rode my bike to work, I saw this random plaque on a random building on the near west side, which read: On this site stood the home Mrs. Abraham Lincoln bought in 1866 and... Read more »

Babies and Beer: Teardown Reveals New Ghost Signs

Babies and Beer: Teardown Reveals New Ghost Signs
In late April 2018, the building at 4428 N. Western was torn down, revealing two partial ghost signs on the walls of the building on either side. On the South wall can be seen an advertisement for the Kroll Krib, named for Nathan and Samuel Kroll, who began manufacturing baby carriages in the early 1920s. Under the Kroll Brothers name, they... Read more »

The Clear Havana Factory of B. Link & Sons

The Clear Havana Factory of B. Link & Sons
Just north of the Belmont stop, you’ll see this ghost sign from the Red Line if you look Southeast: B. LINK & SONS MAKERS OF QUALITY CIGARS The sign, which has been visible for a few decades to those who ride the CTA, was revealed to passersby on Clark Street in 2011 with the demolition of 3332... Read more »
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Bankes Coffee Stores: The Starbucks of Early 20th Century Chicago

Bankes Coffee Stores: The Starbucks of Early 20th Century Chicago
When the Chicago Transit Authority announced 14 buildings that would be torn down for their controversial Belmont Flyover project, some lamented the loss of historic buildings in Lakeview. One present that neighborhood residents got this Spring, however, was the reveal of a ghost sign for “Bankes Coffee Store”, formerly located at 3413 N. Clark Street. Based on its terra cotta... Read more »

Yondorf Hall: From Locality to Liquor Store to Landmark

Yondorf Hall: From Locality to Liquor Store to Landmark
Brown Line riders: you pass this building every day. In fact, you probably passed it this morning. In the middle of that long stretch between Armitage and Sedgwick, the tracks wind around a giant building at the intersection of North and Halsted. The building is one of the last behemoths still standing from Chicago’s post-fire,... Read more »

Chicago Landmarks: Jackson Boulevard Historic District

Chicago Landmarks: Jackson Boulevard Historic District
In the 1870s, Chicago was still a growing city, mostly made up of European immigrants coming to the new city that provided endless opportunities for a prosperous life. Hundreds of residential row houses, large apartments and other homes were built on the expanding West Side. The neighborhood continued to be popular into the 20th century.... Read more »
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Ghost Signs: The Weather Bell Building

Ghost Signs: The Weather Bell Building
At 79 W. Monroe Street in the Loop stands a building which has a big weather bell on its corner. The building itself, designed by Jarvis Hunt, was built in 1903. The Bell Federal Savings and Loan Association was established in 1925 and moved to this location in 1948. It’s referred to by many Chicagoans as the... Read more »

State Street Ghost Sign: Boston Store

State Street Ghost Sign: Boston Store
At 2 North State Street in downtown Chicago, you’ll find a Sears department store. Although Sears, Roebuck and Company has its origins in the Windy City, this building was actually built for a rival store. Chicago’s Boston Store (not the same chain that began in Milwaukee in 1897) was founded just after the Great Chicago Fire... Read more »

Ghost Signs: Van Houten's Cocoa

Ghost Signs: Van Houten's Cocoa
Ceonraad Johannes Van Houten is the creator of modern cocoa powder. In the early-to-mid 19th century, he created a new process to make chocolate production easier. He was also the inventor of Dutch chocolate. It began in Holland, but by the end of the 19th century, Van Houten had spread across Europe and eventually made... Read more »
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State Street Ghost Sign: The Majestic Theatre

State Street Ghost Sign: The Majestic Theatre
While walking down State Street near Madison last weekend, I happened to notice a very-faded ghost sign tucked away behind a bunch of other buildings. Because of its location, I could only see the latter half of it, where I could read the following: ESTIC VAUDEVILLE 25-50-75c I jumped to the conclusion that the word... Read more »
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