21 December 2010

Nauvoo, IL- So much to see and do Preview

When people hear the name Nauvoo, the first thing that usually comes to mind is this:
Nauvoo Temple
and Nauvoo's Mormon history is the reason it's still famous, remembered, and visited by many today.  We'll get to that, but for today we're going to stray away from the actual Nauvoo Historic District and we're going to look at the other historic district of Nauvoo- the business district at the top of the hill (not so far away from the LDS Temple).
panorama of Nauvoo

12 December 2010

Spotted: Smith-Hill F&M Co, Quincy ILL

Smith-Hill F&M Co
This Smith-Hill makers mark is found on the plinth of a building in Colchester, IL. The Smith-Hill Factory and Manufacturing Co also made elevators in Quincy, IL, according to the Official Catalogue of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. It would later become the Smith-Hill Elevator Co, and then part of the Otis Elevator Company as part of "The Elevator Trust." (ref)

broken technology and the things dreams are made of

curtains in the wind
We finally finished the 20 days of ghost signs, albeit a little late. We were totally on track to keep a regular posting schedule and then my computer cord broke. It had been having problems for quite awhile, sometimes it would charge- sometimes not, and then it needed to be wiggled. Eventually it all just gave out and soon the battery was completely dead. Apparently my laptop is old because they don't sell a replacement cord at walmart anymore (walmart is the only real electronic store we have). Finally we found an old one that worked, and so here we are again, with a fully charged computer and many things to write about!

30 November 2010

Ghost Signs: J.F. Reynolds-Day 20

This last ghost sign (for now, of course) is hidden between tall buildings in Macomb, IL.
J.F. Reynolds Home Furnisher Ghost Signs

29 November 2010

Ghost Signs: Dry Goods and Dave's Day 19

These two ghost signs are on the side of another building in Nauvoo, IL.
nauvoo ghost signs
It's a pretty long building.
nauvoo ghost signs
The faint ghost sign in the back reads "Dry Goods" and according to the Nauvoo Historical Society walking tour the building was a dry goods store from 1891 until the 1920s.

28 November 2010

Ghost Signs: Restored "Bull" Durham- Day 18

Back to "Bull" Durham as promised! This restored ghost sign can be found in Nauvoo, IL, on the side of the Hotel Nauvoo.
restored "bull" durham ghost sign
According to the Nauvoo Historical Society's walking tour, the sign was originally painted during the late 1800s to early 1900s when the building was the Hudson Brothers' Meat Market. The sign has since been restored- most recently in the 1990s.

Ghost Signs: Gold Medal and Bull Durham Day 17

For Day 17, we have a three in one special.
Gold Medal and Bull Durham Ghost Sign

27 November 2010

Ghost Signs: Times-Citizen Day 16

Hmmm. Okay let's just pretend like there wasn't a long hiatus between Day 15 and Day 16 shall we? Moving on.
Times-Citizen Ghost Sign

This ghost sign is on the side of a small brick building in Roseville, IL. At the top the sign says "Times-Citizen" and at the bottom "Printing." The middle part is a bit more illegible.

26 October 2010

Ghost Signs: Ghost Sign with an Old Picture painted on top- Day 15

This ghost sign has an old picture painted on top of it. I can't read at all what the ghost sign says underneath, but what's interesting is that there appears to be a signature in the bottom of the ghost sign. Unfortunately, I can't read that either.
the ghost sign signature

25 October 2010

Ghost Signs: Macomb Journal-Day 14

This sign is admittedly more recent. This building used to house the Macomb Journal. A paper that had served Macomb since 1855. The paper is now the McDonough Co. Voice and is housed in a completely different building.
Macomb Journal Ghostsign

Ghost Signs: A.W. Smith & Son...- Day 13

Well, well, well, I have to say my ghost busting skills are getting better everyday, despite this post being a day late. But we're going to have two Ghost Signs posts today to make up for it. Our first ghost sign is on the side of a building in Colchester, Illinois.
AW Smith Clothing Ghost Sign

23 October 2010

Ghost Signs: W.B. Martin -Day 12

This ghost sign is on an old building in Good Hope, IL. The business used to be W.B. Martin's and it sold notions, shoes, and furnishings.
W.B. Martin
Then it became Happy Days Antiques. Neither of the two businesses are still around and there is very little information on them.
W.B. Martin

22 October 2010

Ghost Signs: One Horse Grocery- Day 11

This is quite possibly my favorite ghost sign so far. When I first saw the sign all I read was "Horse Grocery" which I thought was hilarious, imagining a whole bunch of horses going shopping for food.
One Horse Grocery Ghostsign
After doing some searching I finally figured out that the word in front of horse is "one." So the sign actually reads ".....'s One Horse Grocery." So far the only one horse grocery I've been able to turn up and records on is in Iowa, but in Council Bluffs- all the way across the state. That One Horse Grocery was started by "Honest John" Clausen in 1866. For more information on that check out The Historical Society of Pottawattamie County's website here. I don't think this sign says "Clausen's" even though the front of the first word looks like it could be Clausen's I think the word ends with a "t." It's possible the sign could have been repainted or altered since it was first painted so maybe it is an advertisement for Clausen's One Horse Grocery after all.
One Horse Grocery Ghostsign

21 October 2010

Ghost Signs: Illegible Sign- Day 10

An unreadable sign on the side of a building in Colchester, Illinois.  I think the last three letters are SON. 
illegible ghost sign
Forgive me for this uninspired post, today is finally my Friday!!!

20 October 2010

Ghost Signs: Paule Jewelry Co- Day 9

One of the things I love most about old jewelry store facades is how distinct they are. It doesn't matter if it's still a jewelry store or not you can always tell that's what it was supposed to be. Such is the case with the Paule Jewelry Co. store in Burlington, IA.
Paule Jewelry Co Ghost Sign

19 October 2010

Ghost Signs: ...Hardware, Co. Wholesale- Day 8

A ghost sign near the Mississippi River in Burlington, IA.
....Hardware, Co. Wholesale Ghost Sign
It's advertising "... Hardware, Co. Wholesale." Unfortunately the first word in the sign is unreadable.
....Hardware, Co. Wholesale Ghost Sign

18 October 2010

Ghost Signs: The Worm Hole- Day 7

This is definitely going to be one of the more humorous entries in our twenty days of ghost signs. In downtown Colchester, Illinois there is a small, putrid pink building called... "The Worm Hole."
the worm hole

17 October 2010

Ghost Signs: .... Flour- Day 6

This ghost sign is pretty much unreadable except the word flour at the very bottom. I would assume it's for Gold Medal Flour but since I can't pick out "Gold Medal" or the logo, I'm not going to commit to that.
... Flour
... Flour
The sign is found in Macomb, IL.

16 October 2010

Ghost Signs: Consignment Shop- Day 5

Going back to Abingdon, we're going to check out another ghost sign that's a little bit more modern. The consignment shop was long gone the first time D and I visited Abingdon last winter, but now even the sign itself is gone. It's almost like a ghost sign exorcism.
abingdon ghost sign

15 October 2010

Ghost Signs: Sears, Roebuck and Co. Day 4

This is a sign on a building off the square in Macomb, IL that advertises a Sears, Roebuck and Co. Service Center that is long gone.
Sears Automotive Ghost Sign
Sears Automotive Ghost Sign
Sears Automotive Ghost Sign

14 October 2010

Ghost Signs: Firestone Tires- Day 3

Let's go back to the Columbia Dry Batteries sign that we looked at yesterday in Good Hope and look a little bit closer. Because right next to that ghost sign is another one.
firestone tires ghost sign

13 October 2010

Ghost Signs: Columbia Batteries- Day 2

For the second day of ghost signs, we're going to be visiting Good Hope, Illinois, population 415.
A Ghost sign in Good Hope

12 October 2010

Ghost Signs: Carriage Depository- Day 1

Our first October ghost sign is from downtown Abingdon, IL. It advertises a carriage depository and farm implements at the top of the sign. (I can't read the very top... anyone?) And the bottom which is sadly mostly covered up is a Mail Pouch Tobacco advertisement.
Abingdon Ghost signs

20 Days of Ghost Signs

In honor of the month of October (okay the half that's left), the advent of Halloween which happens to be D's favorite holiday, and a day that's just very special to us, we have decided to do 20 Days of Ghost Signs, in which everyday you will be regaled with a new and exciting (well old and exciting) ghost sign.

For those of you who are wondering what a "ghost sign" let me explain. I didn't know the term until quite recently myself. A ghost sign is a sign that has essentially outlived whatever the sign itself was advertising- like those old painted advertising signs on the sides of buildings (my favorites!!). Another example is a sign for a business that's no longer in business. Once you start looking you'll find that ghost signs are everywhere. And even if you just don't see them, we'll show them to you here!

02 October 2010

Spotted: Purington Pavers in a wall

I know that posting has been... spotty at best. But it's about to get a lot better, my work schedule is going to change soon, so stay tuned. Please!! There will be more great posts coming up very, very soon.

Until then though, please enjoy a picture of my favorite vintage bricks- these Purington Pavers found in a wall in our personal favorite Abingdon.
purington pavers

12 September 2010

Ghost Signs: Gem City Coca Cola

Seen in Quincy, IL: a faded Coca Cola Sign.
Coca Cola Ghost sign
The sign is on Maine Street.
Coca Cola Ghost sign
In this picture, I altered the colors a bit to try and bring out the faded sign better.
Coca Cola Ghost sign

30 August 2010

Quincy, IL- The "Gem City" Preview

Let it be said that even before we begin this post- I love Quincy. So there you have it. This post might be biased.

View Larger Map
Quincy, IL is a Mississippi River town in Adams Co. Across the river you can see Missouri.
Bay Bridge, Quincy IL

22 August 2010

Spotted: Murray Iron Works Stamp

This well preserved Murray Iron Works stamp is on a building facade in Roseville, IL.
Murray Iron Works Stamp
The metal piece itself came from the Burlington, IA branch of Murray Iron Works, which is now known as Dresser-Rand Co. The company has been in Burlington since 1870.1

18 August 2010

Abingdon, IL- The Trailer

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Abingdon will always hold a special place in my heart. For D and I, Abingdon is our midwestern Pompeii. It's the sort of place that within the decaying dreams and desperation of the historic downtown, there's an unmistakable beauty. It's really where AbandonedHG started, on a cold winter day we found ourselves in downtown Abingdon taking pictures and documenting what has become all too common everywhere in the midwest. I have had an extremely hard time writing this post. After all my grandiose statements, I just can't figure out what to say. So I'm telling myself as I write this, come on it's just Abingdon... the place is falling down, silly.

08 August 2010

A word about format...

We are about to start our study, if you will, of the decaying little (maybe not so little) towns (maybe not even towns) of the midwest. After much contemplating and discussion, D and I have decided to follow the following format for these vignettes.

The Trailer: First, we will introduce you to the town. It might be brief, it might be long. We'll see and it will depend on the place. Consider it a teaser if you must. But don't worry, unlike most trailers these won't use up all the good scenes.

The Movie: This will be where we really go into detail. As much history as I care to dig up (I'm an archaeologist at heart. It'll be lengthy!) More pictures. Details, details, details!!!

The Sequels: I'm not a huge fan of updating old posts. I never remember to go back and check old posts. Not that I'm criticizing anybody that does, but on our blog I just don't want to confuse what I wrote before and what I know now. We want the most current information to be the most recent on the blog. So sequels are essentially updates on towns we've already talked about. Both from my reader and my author viewpoint, this is better. Trust me.

The Attractions: If a town has something that's just so cool it deserves its own post, then its an attraction. Or if something's not in a town.

Get ready, it's all coming soon.

05 August 2010

Spotted: Central Iron Works Stamp

goodhope, IL happy antiques

Central Iron Works is an apparently defunct company in Quincy, ILL. This stamp was spotted on a building in Good Hope, IL.

30 July 2010

Haeger Pottery, Macomb, IL

Haeger Office Entrance
A few weeks ago, D and I were wandering around Macomb, IL and we decided to stop by one of the places that used to make Macomb more artsy than your typical drunken college town. The Haeger Pottery Plant has unfortunately been shut down since 2004. Although there have been a few plans to renovate the property (the most recent one was a proposed condo development) all of them have fallen through and today it sits empty.
Approaching Haeger via the Train Tracks
Established in Macomb in 1882 as Buckeye Pottery, the building was bought by Haeger in 1939. The first pieces of Haeger pottery came out of the Macomb plant on December 15, 1940.  Until it was shutdown, the Macomb plant was the only other producer of Haeger pottery other than the main East Dundee, IL plant that is still operational today.

20 July 2010

Spotted: OEN Foundry Stamp

In Macomb, IL on a building facade. It is really this shade of blue.

15 July 2010

A Matter of Perception

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I went to a friend's wedding reception last weekend and had a rather enlightening experience. The reception was held here in Illinois near my hometown and current base of operations, but the majority of the people who attended were from Ohio- mainly around the Cincinnati area. They had all driven to get here and after a 7 hour long drive, they were eager to compare the gory details of their trips. Over dinner, I listened to their disdainful comments which went more or less as follows (my thoughts in Italics):

Ohioan #1: Well the drive down here was long, and there sure are a lot of cornfields here in Illinois, I don't think I've ever seen so many cornfields in my whole life.
Ohioan #2: I know, and it's so flat here. You can see for miles around, but all you can see is cornfields! (I have a friend from CA, so I realize Illinois isn't exactly mountainous, but people from Ohio calling my state flat? We have hills!  And if you go south, there are a lot of them, big ones even!)
Ohioan #1: It's amazing isn't it. (Insert name of somewhat large Illinois town here- I'm leaving it out to protect all of us) must be the largest town for miles around. (It's not- there are quite a few comparably sized towns within a half and hour to an hour away.  My home is by no means the sticks.)
Ohioan #3: It must be. Every time I see the sign for the municipal airport here it makes me laugh. It must be the only airport for hundreds of miles. (I can think of at least five more within ten miles- ever heard of private landing strips?  Or do you not have those in Ohio?)
Ohioan #2: I cannot tell you how many dusty towns we drove through on the way here. What was that one? The one with the strange name?  (Dusty?  It's been raining and raining here for weeks, there is no way you went through a dusty town.  BTW, all major roads and most minor ones are paved here.)
Ohian #1: Oh it was (Insert mispronounced name of apparently hard to pronounce small "dusty" Illinois town here).  (You've got to be kidding me.  Seriously?)

This was the point at which I stepped in and probably rather condescendingly said, you mean (insert correctly pronounced name of apparently hard to pronounce small "dusty" Illinois town here). At that point they all started talking about how pretty rural Illinois is and how peaceful, in an attempt to appease the local yokel.

02 July 2010

Spotted: 1908 Manhole

Sounds dirty doesn't it? Well, technically it is- sewers after all are not the cleanest places in the world and who knows what this manhole is covering up.
1908 Manhole

14 June 2010

The Beginning of the End

when you're on the road...
While this might be somewhat presumptuous, as two former, paid archaeologists, D and I are bringing you this blog to analyze and interpret the decay of the midwest (and elsewhere) like nobody's business. After all, we're trained professionals...
All joking aside, while we have quit our archaeology and are moving onto greener pastures, there's something about the past that won't let go. The decay and ruin of a building that was once prosperous, the thrill of seeing something that hasn't been seen in years or ages, the comforting yet terrifying realization that nothing lasts forever: all of these are experienced only by those who dare to venture beyond today.