Jul 16, 2012 • By

Gold Medal mystery in Chicago

You never know what you’ll find when you take a walk around your block.

Chicago’s Kate Frankenberg tweeted us last week about an old Gold Medal flour advertisement she was curious about, on the side of a building in Lincoln Park.

She wrote about it on her “OFF the GRID” blog.

The ad is on an apartment building at 1901 North Bissell Street, at the corner of Bissell and West Wisconsin Street.

(Photo courtesy: Kevin Doellman)

Frankenberg tells me the intersection is just south of the Armitage, a busy street with several restaurants, bars and shops.

The building is likely an old store of some kind. Kate says the first floor is windows, from floor-to-ceiling. It is built in the Italianate style of architecture and she says she’s learned the building dates back to 1885.

As for the Gold Medal advertisement, it looks like it is largely still visible. Our best guess is that it was painted on that building between 1907 and the 1920s.

(Photo courtesy: Kevin Doellman)

“The ad is in fairly good condition considering the length in time it has been there,” says Frankenberg. “It is fading, but perhaps the ivy growing on the building has played a role in preserving the ad.”

Frankenberg launched her blog earlier this year to “dig a little deeper than the surface level stories most Chicago writers cover.” The name OFF the GRID plays off of Chicago’s Grid System – “the idea being that the blog reads in between (or off) the Chicago grid lines,” she says.

Frankenberg says the Gold Medal ad is an example of how the history of the city’s neighborhoods can come alive today.

(Photo courtesy: Kevin Doellman)

“I certainly believe that these types of historical marks connect individuals to Chicago’s famous past. Old advertisements like this one resonate with me,” she says. “I am a history nerd. If you dig a little deeper, you will find that there is a story behind every crack in the sidewalk or every abandoned store. When I look at a historical imprint like this one I have this innate need to find out more.”

Help us solve the mystery. Do you know what that building at Bissell and Wisconsin in Chicago once was?

By the way, this is not the first time we’ve featured an old Gold Medal ad. You may recall the story we told in “A bakery that was meant to be.”

Do you have an old Gold Medal ad in your community?