Bachia Bootery All Stars Ghost Sign in Chicago

Bachia Bootery All Stars Ghost Sign in Chicago

I came across a swank ghost sign advertising Bachia Bootery All Stars at 1741 W. Chicago Ave. between North Paulina and North Wood Sts., in Chicago’s East Village neighborhood.

Bachia Bootery All Stars Ghost Sign in Chicago

Apparently, I’m not the only one who likes this ghost sign. Small world!

8 thoughts on “Bachia Bootery All Stars Ghost Sign in Chicago

  1. Here’s a ghost sign technical question for you: How old & faded must a sign be to be considered a ghost? Or does it become a ghost as soon as the sign’s subject is no longer in business?

    Trying to post an example, but wordpress is resisting — the sign on the side of the Cincinnati building where Provident Camera once did business. I.E., is Provident Camera a ghost sign or a wannabe?

  2. David, I’ve got Provident in the archive. Technically speaking, a ghost sign is just a commercial sign for a place that’s no longer in business. So, it could be a new sign for a short-lived place that just closed. Obviously, I’m biased toward older signs, sometimes hand-painted and often for long-lived businesses.

    If I were to start documenting all the short-lived businesses in the basin that have already closed, as opposed to ghost signs that I actually think look interesting, I’d be busy for a long time.

  3. @carney – It is a very interesting question. I have always leant towards a definition that does not make reference to the trading status of the business. For example, in the UK, we have many old faded signs for Gillette razors and Hovis bread which are both big brands, very much still in business.

    I think the classification relates more to how faded the sign is. That is the ghostly aspect for me, a sign speaking to us from the past, whether for an existing or deceased business.

    The point at which a sign goes from being just a hand painted piece of communication to fading sufficiently to be called a ghostsign is vague and impossible to define precisely.

    In my own work I have attempted to capture all hand painted advertising on walls. Today’s drying paint will be tomorrow’s ghostsigns and I see a value in capturing them now to allow comparisons with their future faded form.

  4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Sam. For me, the more interesting ghost signs tend to be for local businesses, not national brands. I like to see evidence of a neighborhood’s history and personality. In this case, the sign advertises Converse but also a neighborhood shoe store.

  5. It’s what William stage refers to in his book as ‘privilege’ advertising. Essentially a big brand paying for the sign in return for also promoting the retailer or tradesman. The property owner gets a free sign and the big brand gets wider profile. A great example in the UK is this one which advertises both Waterman’s Fountain Pens but also Walker Brothers who were the local retailers (there are many others too): http://www.historypin.com/photos/#/geo:51.562158,-0.079703/zoom:21/date_from:1840-01-01/date_to:2012-01-03/dialog:8235180/tab:stories_tab_content/

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