Category: Ghost Signs

The Dunder Mifflins of Lake Street

The Dunder Mifflins of Lake Street
Two buildings across the street from each other on Lake Street near Halsted on the Near West Side have ghost signs advertising similar paper businesses located there long ago. 727 W. Lake Street was formerly the home of Rauth Brothers. William and Louis Rauth, who had moved to Chicago in the late 1860s from Wisconsin,... Read more »

Ghost Signs: Howaniec Furniture Co.

Ghost Signs: Howaniec Furniture Co.
On the west side of the building at 1551-53 W. Chicago Avenue in West Town reads “Howaniec Furniture Co.” The company began as E. Howaniec Furniture Co. in 1947, but the “E” was soon dropped. Edward Howaniec, who founded the business, was born March 11, 1914 and died September 22, 1973. The business was run by his... Read more »

Ghost Signs: Rubin's Women's Apparel

Ghost Signs: Rubin's Women's Apparel
There is a ghost sign behind 1310 N. Milwaukee Avenue visible from Moorman Street in Wicker Park that barely reads “Chicago’s Largest Women’s Wearing Apparel Store.” This is an advertisement for Rubin’s Women’s Apparel, which used to be located next door in the 1940’s and 50’s. A major fire damaged much of the property in 1953. They had another location... Read more »
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Ghost Signs: Lekko Powder

Ghost Signs: Lekko Powder
On the side of the building at 2339 W. North Avenue is a very faint ghost sign for a product called Lekko. What the heck is Lekko? It was a scouring powder that was made in Chicago by the Lekko Soap Company nearly 100 years ago. The company was founded in 1899 by Charles H.... Read more »

Ghost Signs: M.E. Maher Real Estate

Ghost Signs: M.E. Maher Real Estate
On the side of the vacant building at 6568 N. Sheridan Road in Rogers Park is a sign that reads “M.E. MAHER Co.” Partially obscured, the words “Estate” and “Sheridan Rd.” are also visible. Maurice Edward Maher was born on April 24, 1869  in Illinois to Irish parents. He married Julia Casey in 1892 and... Read more »

Ghost Signs: Ceresota Flour

Ghost Signs: Ceresota Flour
I’ve spotted two ghost signs for Ceresota Flour on the North side of Chicago. The first is located at 1515 W. Devon Avenue in Edgewater. This is more of a full advertisement, although much of it is faded. The sign reads “from Minnesota” below the Ceresota logo, where it was produced by the Northwestern Consolidated... Read more »
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Forgotten Merchants: Kling Bros. and Co.

Forgotten Merchants: Kling Bros. and Co.
Tucked away at 2300 West Wabansia Avenue in Bucktown stands the Clock Tower Lofts. Over each doorway reads “KLING BROS. & CO.” Completed in 1920, the Kling Brothers & Company building was built as a manufacturing facility for their wholesale clothing business. It was designed by Alfred Alschuler, an innovational architect at the time.  His... Read more »

Soda Pop Ghost Signs

Soda Pop Ghost Signs
Here are two ghost signs for soft drinks in Chicago. The partial 7-Up (“The Uncola!”) sign is at 4105 W. Lawrence Avenue in Albany Park. The red logo was used on cans in the early 1960s. The Dr Pepper sign is at 2832 W. Fullerton Avenue near Logan Square; the logo is from the late 1960s. Some... Read more »

The Ghost Signs of Music Row

The Ghost Signs of Music Row
Nearly a century ago, the area on Wabash generally between Adams and Van Buren in the South Loop used to be known as “Music Row” because many manufacturers of musical instruments were located here.  A photo looking north on Wabash from Van Buren in 1907 shows this area in its early days. Most of the... Read more »
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The Old Telephone Numbers of Chicago

The Old Telephone Numbers of Chicago
Before area codes, there were exchange prefixes in the Chicago telephone system. When the telephone system began in Chicago in 1892, the caller would connect to the operator and provide them the name of the exchange they wished to call, followed by their contact’s assigned specific 3-digit number (ie. Mulberry 666) Of course, by 1921,... Read more »
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