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White Way Sign files for bankruptcy protection

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I trust White Way Sign will survive this bankruptcy, I couldn’t imagine Chicago without White Way Signs populating our common urban space, nor my Flickr feed either…

White Way Sign, a century-old company behind some of the most historic signs in Chicago, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The family-owned company has had a hand in everything from the landmark Chicago Theatre and Wrigley Field marquees to the U.S. Cellular Field and United Center scoreboards, iconic signage that has helped define the city’s image and evolution.

Marathoners race past the Chicago Theatre. White Way Sign didn’t build the original Chicago Theatre sign, but it fabricated and installed the most recent version of the canopy within the past decade, according to the company. (Nancy Stone, Chicago Tribune) The company moved from Chicago to Mount Prospect in 2007, and recently has focused more on maintenance than manufacturing after divesting its North Clybourn Avenue facility. The filing Wednesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chicago lists less than $10 million in assets and up to $50 million in liabilities.

“We expect to survive this,” said Jim Morgan, a Chicago bankruptcy attorney representing White Way. “We just need to retool and we will continue to provide the same service.”

White Way Sign was founded in 1916 by Thomas Flannery, an Irish immigrant who started the company by servicing electric signs. It made its mark by fabricating and maintaining marquees for such theaters as the Chicago Theatre and the Oriental Theatre. The company took its name from the New York theater district, which was known as the Great White Way for its brightly lighted marquees.

(click here to continue reading White Way Sign files for bankruptcy protection – Chicago Tribune.)

A few examples of White Way Signs I’ve snapped photos of over the years:

(Central) Camera - since 1899

(Central) Camera – since 1899

Ballin'
Ballin’

Fela - Oriental Theatre
Fela – Oriental Theatre

Meier's Tavern Package Liquors
Meier’s Tavern Package Liquors

Las Vegas Showgirls
Las Vegas Showgirls

Homosexuals at Biograph
Homosexuals at Biograph

Oriental Ford
Oriental Ford

Explosions In the Sky
Explosions In the Sky

Vintage Neon: Chicago Park
Vintage Neon: Chicago Park

Ramova Neon
Ramova Neon

There are probably more White Way Signs photos in my Flickr Signs Album, but you get the idea…

Written by Seth Anderson

November 18th, 2014 at 10:14 am

Posted in Business,Chicago-esque,Photography

Tagged with ,

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