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Hidden Chicago

Watch Chicago Tonight: Ghost Signs


HARRY BESSERER TAILORING: Inside the offices of Von-Dreele Freerksen Construction, 509 Madison St., Oak Park

BOSTON STORE: Visible from State and Randolph. Look southwest. It’s high atop a building on Washington St. between State and Dearborn. (NOW OBSCURED BY THE NEW BUILDING ON BLOCK 37)

“THE HUB” (HENRY C. LYTTON & SONS): It’s on top of the building on the NE corner of State adnd Jackson. But impossible to see from the street. To see it you must be on a high floor of one of the high-rise buildings to the west of it.

WEATHER BELL: (Former Bell Savings, now a Walgreens) SE corner of Clark and Monroe

TIP TOP TAP: Allerton Hotel NE corner of Michigan Avenue and Huron St.

STOP & DRINK LIQUOR HOUSE: Clark Street Ale House 742 N. Clark Street

NORTH AVENUE RUSSIAN TURKISH BATHS: Now a restaurant called Spring at 2039 W. North Avenue

MARSHALL FIELD’S BRONZE SIGNS: Under the clocks at the corners of State and Randolph and State an Washington

PAGO PAGO: East side of Wabash south of Van Buren. (NOW DEMOLISHED)

MARIGOLD MARGARINE: Lincoln Avenue between Winnemac and Carmen. On a south-facing wall on the east side of the street. (NOW PARTIALLY OBSCURED)

HARMONY CAFETERIA: In the alley on the north side of 19 South Wabash, (it’s architect Louis Sullivan’s first building in Chicago. The only surviving original column from the building is also in that alley. Iwan Reis Tobacco is on the second floor)

LYON AND HEALY: Very high up on the north side of the building on the NE corner of Jackson and Wabash

KIMBALL PIANO COMPANY: On a south-facing wall of a building at Jackson and Wabash

CHICAGO DAILY NEWS: 1926 N. Halsted (north-facing wall) This was once the studio of Chicago artists Roger Brown

CHICAGO DAILY NEWS: Just west of the “L” tracks just north of Armitage. Visible from the alley underneath the “L” structure.

CHICAGO DAILY NEWS: SW corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Hermitage Avenue. Sign faces north at the top of a three story building. It’s hard to see because it’s faded and also blocked by a two story building on the corner.

FLETCHER’S CASTORIA: Approx. 4244 W. Madison. No longer visible

TOBACCO “THE OLD STANDARD”: On North Clark Street, one door south of Roscoe. Now partially covered by new signage.

MONARCH BEER: 7406 Madison St, Forest Park. No longer visible.

O’KEEFE BROTHERS FUEL OIL “OK” COAL: Approx. 3230 N. Milwaukee Ave. North of Belmont. No longer visible.

FOX DELUXE BEER: 5856 W. Lawrence. No information available about current condition of sign.


INDEPENDENCE BANK: 95th St. just east of Michigan Avenue on a west-facing wall overlooking a KFC parking lot.

JOE LEWIS MILK: 716 E. 79th Street high up on a west-facing wall

WOOLENS: 4210 N. Lincoln Avenue. No longer visible.

TOP NOTCH GASOLINE: Faces east on the wall of Oak Park Billiards, 1019 South Boulevard, Oak Park (between Marion and Home)


BULL DURHAM: 2313 W. 24th Street. Still visible.

CALUMET BAKING POWDER: 7339 S. Halsted Ave, South facing, East side. Still visible as of summer 2006.

FIVE-CENT CIGAR: Approx. 2958 N. Lincoln. Blocked by new construction.

(H)ARTMAN'S: 224 Kinzie St. Best viewed from the Brown Line “L” train southbound as it curves approaching the Merchandise Mart station.

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