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Landmarks Illinois Events

Preservation Snapshot Lectures



Good Old Neon: Signs You’re in Chicago


Nick Freeman






Good Old Neon: Signs You’re in Chicago

Date: Thursday, May 21 - 12:15 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Speaker: Nick Freeman, author and artist


Large-scale neon signs have been a staple of the nocturnal American commercial landscape since the 1940s. The principal purpose was advertisement for auto-oriented uses, including restaurants, motels, shopping centers, car dealerships and small businesses. However, the designs of the signs themselves—including bright lights, colors, and geometric forms—are a testament to the art of the neon sign maker as well as to the spirit of their times. In his forward author Nick Freeman asks, “What constitutes a great sign? For me it’s an elusive synchronicity of color, shape, typography, and iconography, enhanced by authenticity and eccentricity.” Mr. Freeman will discuss the “gaudy, garish, and downright spectacular signs” of Chicago’s rich neon heritage.


Join us for a book signing and refreshments immediately following the lecture at Landmarks Illinois' office at 30 N. Michigan Avenue.


To purchase: Good Old Neon: Signs You’re in Chicago

May 21, 2015 Lecture


About the Speaker


Nick Freeman, a life-long resident of the Chicago area, has been involved with words and pictures throughout his professional career. Starting at Feldkamp-Malloy, one of the last of the old-time art studios in the city, he spent 30-plus years in advertising--god help him--serving as production director at Leo Burnett and other agencies. He now devotes his time and attention to his first love, oil painting, and has exhibited his work in a number of local and regional shows. His art, both paintings and photography, can be seen at galleryfreeman.com.


Admission: Free

Place: The Auditorium Building, Roosevelt University’s Murray-Green Library, 430 S. Michigan Avenue, 10th floor, Chicago

Building Check-in: Lecture attendees will be required to sign in at the Roosevelt University security desk on the Main Floor, Michigan Avenue entrance. A valid photo ID is required to gain access to the building.



Landmarks Continues Partnership with The Auditorium Theater


Celebrating The Auditorium at 125Landmarks Illinois is pleased to continue its partnership with The Auditorium Theater for Spring 2015. The Preservation Snapshots lecture series will be held at Roosevelt University’s Murray-Green Library, formerly the dining room of the Auditorium Hotel.


Learn about more Celebrating The Auditorium at 125


Tours of The Auditorium Theatre are available on Thursdays at 10:30 am. Tour tickets are $10 per person and can be purchased beginning 30 minutes prior to the tour at the Auditorium Theatre Box Office and in advance at Ticketmaster. More


    General Information  


Experts in preservation - but also skilled in wit, humor and easy understanding - will present talks on a specific subject each month. Before each lecture there will be a Preservation Update, with announcements about upcoming meetings, other lectures and upcoming events related to preservation. Join us in our new location in The Auditorium Building, Roosevelt University’s Murray-Green Library, 430 S. Michigan Avenue, 10th floor, Chicago.






    Past Lectures  



January “Chicago’s Heroic Architecture”


Presented in partnership with One Book One Chicago

March "Last Is More: Mies, IBM and the Transformation of Chicago"

April "Wright’s Dana House and the Preservation of Houses Created as Complete Works of Art"

May "National Register of Historic Places: Helping or Hindering Legacy City Preservation?"


January “International Superstar!The Significance of The Auditorium Building”

February "Henry Hobson Richardson and His Chicago Legacy"

March "Restoring The Auditorium Building: The Earliest Years"

April "Tracking the Lost Treasures of the Auditorium"

May “Lost to Progress: Congress Street, the Auditorium, and the South Loop”

June "Trailing Louis Sullivan: The Restoration of Ganz Hall"

September "Sullivan in the Loop"

October "The Auditorium in Context: Chicago in the late 1880s"

November "Historic Chicago Theaters"


Our 2014 lectures were presented in partnership with The Auditorium Theatre to honor the theater’s 125th anniversary.


January “It’s All About the Details: Randolph Tower Terra Cotta Restoration”

February “Ghost Façade: 618 S. Michigan”

March “Mies van der Rohe and Historic Preservation: A Report and Prognosis"

April “Hairpin Lofts: Art Deco Gem Transformation”

May "The Architecture of River Forest”

June "Wells Street Bridge Rehabilitation: A Moveable Monument Restored”

September "The Architecture of Barry Byrne"

October "Battledeck House: Modernism and Mechanization in Highland Park"

November "Construction, Demolition, and the Remaking of LaSalle"


Our 2013 and all previous lectures were presented in partnership with the Chicago Cultural Center.


January “Henry Ives Cobbs’ Chicago”

February “A Star is Reborn”

March “Strike! Chicago's Early Bowling Recs”

April "Myth Busters: A New Perspective on the Chicago School"

May “Typography of Courtyard Apartment Buildings: Rogers Park 1907-1933”

June “The Ross House: A Laboratory for Green Building Technology”

September “Saving Goldblatt's: The story of a ragtag community's battle (and victory!) to preserve a neighborhood landmark”

October, "Glessner House at 125: History and Preservation"

November, "Chicago’s Own American Palace"


January “Goldberg’s Prentice Hospital”

February “Absolute Sullivan”

March “Houses of Tomorrow Today”

April “Lake Point Tower: A Design History”

May “Special K: Chicago’s K-Town Historic District”

June “McCormick Place REDUX Winner”

September “Filming Chicago’s Loop”

October “40 Over 40”

November “Chicago’s Movable Bridges”









Landmarks Illinois
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Chicago, IL 60602-3402
tel. 312-922-1742 
fax 312-922-8112



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