Day 11: Greetings from Chicago!

The forecast was for rain all day — so I thought I would probably bail at some point and just head for Iowa.  But the prediction was wrong and the weather got better as the day went.  So in Chicago I stayed.  Couldn’t help myself.  I could stop every 10 minutes but had to steel myself and stick mostly to my list.  I must have at last 200 photos just from today.  A nice chunk uploaded to Flickr just now and a similar sized stack ready to go here. 

Sparkle’s been purring along without a hitch.  I’m now way behind schedule.  Lolly-gagging in Chicago plus the mechanical fiasco.  I have a bit more Chicago stuff that I’d like to do — and some other “important” Illinois stuff.  So, if you don’t hear from me tomorrow night — don’t worry — I’m banging out interstate miles en route to Iowa and too beat to crop photos & write something.   I’ll at least drop a hello before I pass out.  Or maybe I’ll come up with another plan.  If the weather’s crummy, I might just high tail it out of here and get where I’m supposed to be.

Let’s get on with the photos then.   Oh yes, the dogs are fine — really hot & humid for all of us and so the runs were fairly short.  I still managed to find huge abandoned lots for them in the heart of the city — even incredibly nicely mowed grass with no sign of ownership.  Tomorrow morning, I’ll give them a very special treat — one of our favorite places:  Montrose Beach.

This inexplicable clown in front of Classic Auto Insurance in Gary, IN:

More from Gary:  a massive and mysterious sign.  Most recently “The Cave” but before that… don’t know:

The “Char-El” must’ve been some other entity originally.  I’m guessing a motel — and probably neon on the metal piece; and a larger metal piece where that hideously boring plastic box is.  Glad they didn’t mess with the ballies:

From Crete, IL — I haven’t seen a Speed Queen sign before though obviously these must have been mass-produced:

An awesomely wonderful, politically incorrect sign from South Chicago Heights:

In Blue Island, IL — Burr-Oak TV has signs in front and on the side of their building.  Lots o’ color here — as a TV shop should have I guess:

Also Blue Island — love the drippie rust and rusty pole:

Fun stuff from South Side Shidokan Karate in Chicago:

I know I’ve included Chicago area rock-i-tecture in a post last year — but I can’t help myself — here’s some more:

Chicago — how do I love thee, let me count just some of the ways… Signs everywhere.  Hands-down more vintage signs per square mile than anywhere on the face of the earth.  And maybe 50 of them suspended from these rooftop structures.  I have never been able to determine a more precise name — so I just call them “hangers”.

More rooftop action – lots of wires & chains involved with signs in Chicago/Chicagoland.  Very little of this stuff in any other city.  Love the duplicative effort here:

Even the plastic signs need a little help with chains. Maybe it’s because Chicago’s the “Windy City”?

Just about every corner in Chicago is a visual festival.  Here’s a nice melange of religious art, Art Deco details, and modern signs.  Surely, that plastic sign was once steel and needed that hefty rooftop hanger:

Here are some more random details from various eras:

There’s a former Tastee-Freez entombed in this frenzy of color and signage.  You can just make out that tell-tale lip over the take-out window at the right.  If you don’t know what I mean by “lip”, here are some classic T-F buildings:

I’ve read that this place “Slow Down, Life’s Too Short” used to be a bar.  It’s been closed for several years now but the funky artwork still remains:

And to close out tonight’s marathon session — a sweet little sign from a motel still hanging on (by a thread I’m sure) on North Lincoln:

10 thoughts on “Day 11: Greetings from Chicago!

  1. Oh man… that Speed Queen sign… I KNEW I saw that Q before. Not too far from my home was a sign with that Q. I kept meaning to take a picture of it and I didn’t… about two weeks ago it was gone. DRAT!!

  2. Dear Debra Jane,
    Well, great to see from the blog & Flickr you ran all around Chicago Tuesday . Some of my favorite signs you shot/reshot. I have to say that I like your term “rock-i-tecture”. I think that that plus seeing asphalt siding seems very Chicago-esque to me, probably mostly seen only in Chicago.
    Saying you are 98% satislied with DEE is an impressive number. But what are your gripes with that 2%? Just curious.
    Hope you get some PINWHEELS and you & the pups enjoy your trip to Montrose Beach and the rest of your time in The City.
    Take care & will wait for your next exploits and photos.

    • All around Chicago is right — you’re only seeing part of it at the blog & Flickr. Wish the weather had been more cooperative this morning or I’d have shot more. I’ve never seen those rocks outside of Chicago.

      The 2% of dissatisfaction is really my own fault I’m sure. Someday, I’ll look at the manual or take a class. My videos come out blurry. And indoor stuff comes out pretty orange. Also wish I could squeeze that fat lens between chain link fencing. Do they make an attachment for that? (kidding, kinda) No pinwheels yet — but I’ve had plenty of other sweets. I feel like I’ve gained five pounds on this trip already — and that’s skipping meals a lot!

  3. Those are great…you’re making me homesick! That “Life’s Too Short”–was that on Lincoln on the river? If it was, it was open even within the time I lived there and people would pull their boats up on the river. Have you ever driven south on Cicero towards Midway airport? Don’t know what it’s like now, but within the past ten years it was motels, drive-ins and all sorts of eerie hold-evers and might be worth checking out on your next trip. Drive safely and see you back in BK!

    • Yes, Life’s Too Short is over near Goose Island. I believe it closed a few years ago. I’ve driven Cicero many times. Some stuff left there. Lots of great stuff all over Chicago though. See you in about a month!

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