Ghost Signs: Fletcher's Castoria

From the 1870s through 1920s, Charles H. Fletcher's CASTORIA was an pioneer in mass advertising campaigns. Castoria ads appeared in most major cities during this time and often took up the entire side of a building. Many are still visible today.

What is this amazing product? It's a stomach laxative. Forgotten New York has an article about visible Castoria ghost signs in New York. The article is from 15 years ago, however, so some are likely to be gone.

I've spotted only two ghost signs still visible in Chicago:

  • 959 N. Western Avenue in Ukrainian Village. (Thanks to MapGuy410 for the tip!)
  • 4254 W. Madison Street in West Garfield Park. This is in great shape and is one of my favorite ghost signs in Chicago. The photo was taken 5 years ago but the sign is still there. Be warned, however: Terrible road construction and crime are common in this neighborhood.

On the latter sign, you may notice the name "Fannie C. Murphy, Florist." Her phone — GARfield-2385 — had a 3-letter exchange prefix that existed in Chicago from the early 1920s until the late '40s. The 1923 Chicago directory has her listed at 4248 W. Madison Street.

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    Neil Arsenty

    Neil is a comedian and web content specialist. He lives in Ukrainian Village.

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