Thursday, June 27, 2013

At State and Lake (Route 66 )

Chicago’s State Street makes a brief appearance in the Route 66 episode “Voice at the End of the Line” (October 19, 1962). I put together two Route 66 screenshots to make a Google Maps-like composite.

[Click for larger views.]

Seno Formal Wear (“since 1919”) is still in business in Illinois and Indiana but no longer has a store in Chicago. Bob Elfman’s Sandwich Shop (“famous for corned beef since 1933”) closed in 1985. I cannot figure out what sits between Seno and Bob Elfman’s, and I can find no record of State & Lake Fruit and Nut, named of course for the two streets that meet at this corner. That’s the business I most want to know about too.

Moving upward: I like the second-story signage for the beauty school and beauty supplies. I admired such signage often on the Bronx’s Fordham Road. Arthur Murray Dance Studio, are you still there?

The clanking that comes from the 2009 Google Maps image is the sound of chains: Johnny Rockets and the Halsted Street Deli form what is called a “co-branded fast casual restaurant.” The delis, named for a Chicago street, can be found in twelve more Illinois cities. There is no Halsted Street Deli on Halsted Street. The company website lists no Johnny Rockets now on State. On June 20, a Chick-fil-A opened at its address.

Yelp says that the Triple 1 Chinese Restaurant (which occupies the second-story corner in the 2009 photograph) is closed. In 2009 the second story also housed a Montana tourism office: the URL is visible on the window, though not in this photograph. Is the office still there? The Chicago Tribune took note of MT’s marketing in 2011 and just last month.

The one constant in these photographs: the Chicago Theatre, now with a smaller marquee. We saw Brian Wilson there on his 2002 Pet Sounds tour.

I like watching the crowd watching the famous Corvette driving down the famous street.


September 6, 2013: Last night I received an e-mail from Katina Callas, whose father, Spyros Papagiannis, owned the State & Lake Fruit and Nut Shop. Katina says that her father was “a very kindhearted man”:

I have many memories growing up and going there. He used to sell his fruit baskets to Marshall Fields. Sometimes he would make me walk down State Street with two baskets one in each hand to make the delivery if his employee didn’t show up. I would have to go back and forth until all baskets were delivered.

He had the best and largest fruit you can imagine. When I go to fruit markets now I never see the quality that my dad had at his store. He had customers from Fritzel’s come in and purchase after their dinner.
Fritzel’s, as I learned last night, was a celebrated State Street restaurant.

Katina had no photographs of the store’s sign. So now she has one to share with her family. The Internet: it’s wonderful.

[E-mail used with permission.]

Related reading
All Route 66 posts (Pinboard)

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