Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Turbine by William 74
Turbine, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
I know that the subject of wind turbines is a controversial one. I just think they look kind of cool, in a spooky way.

Illinois River

Illinois River by William 74
Illinois River, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
This is a former Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy railroad bridge over the Illinois River, in the town of Ottawa. It's a fairly rare lift-type bridge-the center part raises up to let river traffic go through. The first bridge at this location dates to 1868, but I believe this one was built in the 1930's, when the lift span was installed.

I've seen this bridge several times on my travels to and around Ottawa, but had never managed to get a good shot of it. It's a good looking example of an older iron rail bridge, and the Illinois River valley in this area is pretty picturesque. But I got lucky this weekend, as I was passing through on my way home, a little later than usual, with the winter sun low in the sky.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Gonnella Baking Co.

The classic Gonnella Baking Company sign, on their bakery on Chicago Avenue in the West Town neighborhood of Chicago. Without a doubt the best smelling photograph I've ever taken.

Gonnella rolls are the official sub roll of Chicagoland. They are awesome.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Founded in the 1950's, Tastee-Freez originally focused just on ice cream products, but as the chain expanded so did the menu, moving into fast food items as well as the traditional cones and shakes. The chain eventually grew to over a thousand locations by the end of the 50's. Fewer than fifty are still around today.

This one was in North Aurora, Illinois, and was undergoing renovation when I shot this in 2009. The building was completely re-done, but I don't know if the restaurant actually opened up again-I never actually saw anyone inside it. The building's closed up again, and this sign, which was from the sixties, disappeared sometime in July or August 2012.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

General Electric

General Electric by William 74
General Electric, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.

I think we're all familiar with the General Electric logo, in one form or another. This is an old one, probably from the 50's I imagine. It's on an old piece of railroad signaling equipment, which I found in the back of a local trolley museum. Proof that GE has made just about everything down through the years.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Absence of Color

MG TF by William 74
MG TF, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.

A gorgeous black MG TF, in the rain. I took this at a car show that saw a perfectly sunny forecast turn damp. To the entrants' credit, they all just rolled up the windows and stayed out there. Shooting cars in the rain is one of my favorite things, and shooting classics even more so. The interplay of water and chrome, the patterns flowing along bodywork, add an extra, and often rare, dimension.

This is almost in black and white-the only colors seem to be in the taillight and window. Yet, in black and white this doesn't look right.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Philadelphia Church

Another neon church sign in Chicago. This one's on Clark in the Andersonville neighborhood. According to their website, the Philadelphia Church has been serving the neighborhood for 86 years, and has an active calendar of programs as well as several overseas mission programs.

They also mention this sign! It's obviously a source of some pride for the church, as they keep it pretty well maintained and functional.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

South Shore

South Shore by William 74
South Shore, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.

The Chicago, South Shore, and South Bend Railroad is one of the last interurban railroads in the United States. It still runs today, under the aegis of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District. They still use electric trains, and there's even some street running through Michigan City. It's one of the icons of Chicago area railroading.

This is a 1920's era South Shore car, currently on display at the Fox River Trolley Museum in Elgin, Illinois.

Monday, November 12, 2012


Faded by William 74
Faded, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.

One thing that never ceases to surprise me when I'm out driving around is what's hiding behind the trees. For instance, I was driving through a small town in Illinois, and stopped to look at an eclectic collection of tractors parked in front of an old garage. The neighbors said it was okay if I looked around, and as I went around the side of this building, I saw a couple of old trucks. And two more. Then about four more. Plus some more tractors. And an old Oldsmobile. And a few sixties Cub Cadets. And other stuff I can't even remember. Anyway, other than those initial implements, this whole thing was hidden from the road by a line of trees.

I've visited this site a few times now, and it always throws up something new, hidden in that shady grove.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Cole's Furniture

An interesting collection of neon at an old-school appliance store on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago. The Admiral sign is particularly interesting-Admiral Electronics was bought by Maytag in the 70's and was exclusive to Monkey Ward's for years. Now Admiral is exclusive to Home Depot. Fun fact, during the opening credits of M Squad, as Detective Ballinger is driving through Chicago at night, you can see the enormous Admiral neon billboard that used to feature prominently in the Loop.

I also think this must be one of the last surviving Hotpoint neons in existence. The "Official Union Discount Store" part must be rare too. This whole thing must have looked awesome all lit up at night!

Cole's Furniture Sign-Chicago, IL

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Way Out Of State Plate

Way Out Of State Plate by William 74
Way Out Of State Plate, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
This is the only one of these I've ever seen. I wonder how common overseas forces plates are-I always thought they had to be returned when one left their overseas post, either leaving the car behind or importing it to the States.

Anyway, this one's appended to an old Porsche.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Stop & Peek

Stop & Peek by William 74
Stop & Peek, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
I don't know anything about this beat up old sign I found in LaSalle, IL. It clearly used to say something other than Sieber Stop & Peek-the neon tube sockets don't seem to match up. And that old car in the sign at the top is a bit of a non sequitur as well. Was this a model shop? A car dealership? Something else?

The building it's attached to is quite plain, just a brick building with a couple of doors on it. No windows, no other signs. And it appeared to be closed up tight, too, so I feel comfortable calling it a ghost sign.

Anyone got any ideas?