Posts tagged "Chicago history"

Forgotten Merchants: The People's Gas Light and Coke Company

Forgotten Merchants: The People's Gas Light and Coke Company
Above the two storefronts at 1520-22 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park reads “The Peoples Gas Light & Coke Company.” This company wasn’t exactly “forgotten;” they are the precursor to today’s Peoples Gas. They were Chicago’s first utility company - Chicago Gas Light Coke Company - in 1849 and became The Peoples Gas Light & Coke Company... 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 »

Forgotten Merchants: Hollenbach Seed Company

Forgotten Merchants: Hollenbach Seed Company
On the building at 808 W. Lake Street on the Near West Side, the name HOLLENBACH is in big letters. The Hollenbach Seed Company was founded by Peter Hollenbach, a German immigrant, in Chicago in 1877. He was originally on West Randolph then North Halsted and finally, this building, built in 1909 by Worthmann and Steinbach. Additions were made... 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 »

Forgotten Building: The Coliba

Forgotten Building: The Coliba
Atop the building at 2213 North Clybourn Avenue in Lincoln Park reads “THE COLIBA.” Older North Side readers will recognize this building as a major community center for Romanian citizens. The Coliba was opened in 1920 by the parish of St. Mary’s Romanian Orthodox Church, which was originally located nearby at 1345 W. Webster Avenue. At... Read more »

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 »
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Forgotten Merchants: John Sexton and Co.

Forgotten Merchants: John Sexton and Co.
The condo building at 360 W. Illinois Street reads “JOHN SEXTON & CO.” John Sexton, born in Canada in 1858, came to Chicago in 1877. He was a grocer and developed a chain of tea and coffee stores. In 1883, he partnered with George Hitchcock to found the wholesale grocery company Hitchcock & Sexton. Three... Read more »

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 »

Forgotten Chicagoans: Adam Ochs

Forgotten Chicagoans: Adam Ochs
At the top of the building at 1178 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Noble Square is an epigraph that reads A. OCHS 1873. Adam Ochs was born in Hesson, Germany in November 1841. He arrived in Chicago when he was 11 years old. He married Sophia Michels in 1864 and had 3 children with her. It was... Read more »
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Forgotten Chicagoans: Henry Worthmann

Forgotten Chicagoans: Henry Worthmann
Above the doorway on the building at 1859 W. Chicago Avenue in West Town reads “H. WORTHMANN BUILDING.” Henry W. Worthmann was born around June 18, 1857 in Hanover, Germany. He arrived in the United States in 1882 and he became a naturalized citizen in 1888. That same year, he married his wife, Agnes. He soon... Read more »
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