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 N. Clark Street. It became even more visible when 3334-3346 N. Clark were demolished to make way for Lakeview's Belmont Flyover project. 

B. Link and Sons, once located at 3328 N. Clark Street, were one of many cigar-makers in Chicago at the start of the 20th Century. German immigrant Bernhard August Link had moved to Chicago from St. Louis with his wife Theresia about a decade prior and lived on the Near West Side.

He began the business soon after purchasing the property on Clark on March 21, 1900. The sons of "B. Link & Sons" were Bernhard Jr., born in 1882, and Frank, born in 1883. They found great success here, where they specialized in Cuban cigars, with the national circular The Tobacco Leaf calling the business "one of the best-equipped and liveliest shops on the North Side" in 1907. Once only 3 stories, another story was added to the building in 1908, but sadly, Bernhard Sr. died soon after on September 6, 1909, when he was 47 years old.

October 16, 1907 article in the Tobacco Leaf. 1783 N. Clark was address of the building before 1909.

October 16, 1907 article in The Tobacco Leaf. (1783 N. Clark was address of the building before 1909 street address changes.)

The business - retaining the same name - continued to thrive under the leadership of Bernhard Junior. He became chairman of the 52nd (Cigars and Tobacco) subdivision of Chicago’s Ways and Means Committee in 1917, a position which he held for multiple years. They were listed in the 1919 Blue Book of Chicago commerce as "Manufacturers of the Germania Club Havana cigars." Although there is no record found of the business after 1923, B. Link and Sons likely stayed in business through at least the end of that decade.

Frank died in November 27, 1942 and Bernhard Junior died on October 8, 1946. His mother Theresia died a year later. The entire family is buried at nearby Graceland Cemetery. The ghost sign's days are numbered, as, although the front building of 3328 will remain, the rear building is one of the buildings slated to be torn down for the Flyover project this Fall.

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Filed under: Ghost Signs

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