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 “Weather Bell building.” The Weather Bell on the corner of Clark and Monroe, designed to predict and signal changes in the temperature, was installed in the mid-1950s. It even had a jingle. It still changes colors today, although, like meteorologists, its weather accuracy is sometimes shaky.

In the late 1980s, the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation became insolvent and eventually was abolished following the Savings and Loan Crisis. Bell Federal Savings and Loan officially merged in 1996 with Bank of America. The building was most recently purchased in early 2011.

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