Wicker Park Committee closing in on neighborhood signage

Date: 
12/30/2016
wpc2016HolPrty

Raffle tickets as well as event ticket sales came in from a flow of event goers including: Sara Barnes, Ed and Mary Tamminga, Alfred Mojica and Michael Cole

The Wicker Park Committee's (WPC) efforts, that began about a year ago, to design, produce and install neighborhood signs received a boost in revenue at the annual holiday party. 

RobeySign

The neighborhood's iconic North West Tower building, opened in 1929, seemed the perfect site for the unveiling of the final signs. Opened on Nov. 30 as The Robey Hotel, the building is one of two designs adorning the new street signs. 

PLinnWSgn

Pat Linnerud displays the other side of the sign, which is a picture of hers and husband Al's home on West Pierce

On the opposite side of the sign is the Queen Anne, style single family home built in 1888. In the 2100 block of W. Pierce, the residence was built for Herman Weinhardt, Presidnet of the Niemann and Weinhardt Table Company. He also served as a West Parks Commissioner.

An image of this building was first recorded in a German language guidebook published for the Columbian Exposition in 1893. 

It is planned that at least 30 signs be spread throughout the neighborhood which is defined by Bloomingdale Ave. (The 606) on the north, Division St. on the south, Ashland Ave. on the east and Western Ave. on the west. Proceeds of the holiday event will add to the sign funding. 

It will cost approximately $175 per sign to produce, obtain hardware and install, according to Leah Root, WPC Past President and current Secretary and Communications Chair. 

Root indicated that the Board is asking for help in two ways:

  1. More financial donations for the signs
  2. Suggestions about locations for the sign

To participate, send your interest in donating and/or your location suggestions for where to place the signs to the WPC email account

OriginalSign

The original color was green on light beige for this and the second versions

The original signs were done by Marion Smith, an early Wicker Park resident (mid-late 1970s). in early to mid-1980s, he came up with the design, made arrangements for them to be created. WPC (then the Old Wicker Park Committee) members and other residents paid for as many signs as they wanted. 

"The guys were interested in branding the community," explained architect Lonn Frye, another early resident, who now splits his time between Caton St. and Washington Island, WI. "We had connections within the City and worked at connecting with the Mayor." 

In 1980 with Jane Byrne as Mayor, WPC participated in an event in the State of Illinois building called City House. Frye believes that Smith started working on the sign idea then.

WPCSgn2

Second version of the WPC sign

Following the creation of the City of Chicago designation in 1991 as the Wicker Park Chicago Landmarks District, Smith slightly re-designed the sign by adding two lines along the bottom which read "1979 National Historic Register" and "1991 Chicago Landmark Dist." 

Note that the latest sign will have a third reference line, "2008 Milwaukee Ave. Landmark District." 

Root said that the hope is that the new signs will be up by next spring.

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