Category: Ghost Signs

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 »

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 »
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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 »

Ghost Signs: Spengler and Company

Ghost Signs: Spengler and Company
On the side of the Double Door building at 1572 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park is a ghost sign that reads “Spengler & Company.” Werner Spengler was born in 1831 in Germany. He arrived in Chicago with his brother John in 1865 and immediately began a retail dry goods business with him called Spengler... Read more »

Ghost Signs at the Lightner Building

Ghost Signs at the Lightner Building
On the north and south sides of The Lightner Building at 1006 S. Michigan Avenue are many ghost signs from the past. The building itself was designed by Edmund R. Krause and built in 1906. It was originally called the Graphic Arts Building and was purchased by Otto Lightner, owner of Lightner Publishing Corporation, in 1948.  Lightner, which published... Read more »
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Ghost Signs: The Adams and Westlake Company

Ghost Signs: The Adams and Westlake Company
All around The Adlake Building at 319 W. Ontario Street in River North, you can see ghost signs for The Adams and Westlake Company, a railroad supplies manufacturer once known all across the country. John McGregor Adams was a highly acclaimed businessman in Chicago. Born in New Hampshire in 1834, he arrived in the city... Read more »
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