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Chicago Is Home To Some Beautiful & Iconic Neon Signs

By Staff in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 1, 2017 8:22PM

Chicago's neon signs are one two things: pleasantly understated, if even when they look like they haven't been used in years, or iconic—think, Wrigley Field, Margie's Candies and the Drake Hotel.

Our photographer Tyler LaRiviere scoured the city to find a mix of Chicago's most recognizable, timeless and contemporary neon signs. Check out our gallery, above, to see how many you can recognize. Some you'll probably know well, like the Wormhole logo or the Allerton Hotel's Tip Top Tap sign. Others could be easy to forget, if they didn't beautifully evoke a forgotten time. For us, that includes the Erie LaSalle Body Shop sign, "family owned since 1934," the Heart O' Chicago Motel in Edgewater and the Loop's Central Camera Company, to name just a few that captured our imagination.

While the more recent signs are fun to look at, the older signs signal a storied history behind them. Take the Central Camera Company, a personal favorite of ours—The store has been up and running since 1899 at 31 E. Adams St., earning its self-assigned distinction as Chicago's oldest camera shop. The shop, nestled under the Wabash Avenue CTA Loop tracks, was founded by Albert Flesch, a Hungarian immigrant, not long after the 1893 Columbia Exposition made Chicago an international destination. These days, the shop has expanded online with a thriving eBay business, but the storefront and its unforgettable sign remains.