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Latino State News

Ghost Signs

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For those not familiar with this term, a ghost sign is a remnant of the bygone era of advertisements painted on the side of a building. They often remain unnoticed to many, but as a preservationist, I relish in spotting these faded signs. Especially exciting is when you see the old phone exchange – even before before 312 was split into 773. The sign for the Nea Agora Packing Co. on Taylor Street still has a sign with an old exchange. But I digress - I like ghost signs because these ads tell a story. You can deduce the population of the neighborhood at a certain time in history often by what was trying to be sold to them. The Woolworth sign was hard for me to make out at first. However, after talking to a long-time resident I found that the building the sign is on, was actually a Woolworth at one time.

This sign for “Skala” is on a building on the 1600 block of W. 21st Street. I can’t quite make out what it says below (other than S. Loomis) but it’s interestingly juxtaposed against the new facade veneer.

Pilsen has quite a few of these ghost signs, these are just the few I have managed to document.

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