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Chicago's honorary brown street signs, days, and commemorative honors; the who, what, where, when and why.  Honorary Chicago guide book, maps, biographies, history, trivia, tours, and gifts.

Blog

Bob Collins Way

Linda Zabors

Bob Collins was a very popular morning radio personality on WGN AM 720 Radio. To listeners, and to everyone, he was "Uncle Bobby." 

This is one of my earliest tributes done after the untimely death of the legendary morning host at WGN AM 720 in Chicago. It was made for the Radio Hall of Fame at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago in February of 2000.
Steve Cochran, Orion Samuelson, Andrea Darlas, Dave Eanet and Mary Van De Velde toast Bob Collins with some Jack Daniel's on what would have been Bob's 75th birthday.

Bob Collins died in a private plane accident. February 8, 2000

WGN Radio Walk of Fame

WGN Radio Walk of Fame

Bob Collins was inducted into the WGN Radio Walk of Fame in 2014.

This commemorative plaque is located in the sidewalk of Pioneer Court aside the Showcase radio studio of the Tribune Building.


Bob Collins Way

East Illinois Street at Cityfront Plaza

Near the WGN Radio Studio in the Tribune Tower

February 8, 2000

Neighborhood: Magnificent Mile

 

Now on mobile

Honorary Bob Collins Way
in the Honorary Bob Collection
Search: Bob

Bobby Cann Way

Linda Zabors

Bicyclist, 26-year old Bobby Cann, was killed by a motorist while on his commute home from work. He had been a avid cyclist and advocate for bicycle awareness, safe biking and driving practices, and dedicated bike lanes. 

Two weeks before his death he participated in the Ride of Silence, the 3rd Wednesday in May, to raise awareness and mourn the loss of bicyclists.

The City of Chicago installed protected bike lanes along the stretch of street where the accident took place. The driver was charged with reckless homicide and aggravated drunk driving.


Bobby Cann Way

Northwest corner of Clybourn and Larrabee

Approved: September 2013
Ward: 27
Alderman: Burnett
Dedication: October 25, 2013

Neighborhood: Old Town / Clybourn Corridor

May 29, 2013. Age 26.

 

Memorial ghost bike, on Clybourn, one block south of sign on east side of street


Bobby Cann, Huffington Post (Ret. May 30, 2017)
Bobby Cann Memorial, DNAinfo (Ret. May 30, 2017)
Memorial for Cyclist Robert Cann, Tribune (Ret. May 30, 2017)

Shannon Dell Way

Linda Zabors

Karen Grace Jones, known to radio listeners as Shannon Dell, was one of the top DJs in Chicago radio at WGCI and WNND (previously WPMT) radio.  She was a music programmer and an on-air personality know for her independent spirit, her great big laugh, and her tagline. Her listeners knew she was "lovin' you like a sister."  

Video YouTube: uppermidwestaircheck

She looked out for her sisters and brothers and the African-American community.  In 1991 Shannon Dell challenged her employer on the disparity in pay between herself and her male counterparts. She did not win, but her efforts drew national attention and raised awareness about discrimination in the workplace .  Shannon was a staunch advocate of women and minorities and was eager to help those who desired to work in field of broadcasting.

 
"Forget radio, forget black and forget woman: (Jones) was a charming person with a big heart who had very strong convictions about people and life,"
- Jack Holiday, a friend and co-worker
(Chicago Tribune)

Karen Grace Jones (Shannon Dell) was born and raised in Cincinnati.  Before coming to Chicago she worked in radio in Los Angeles, Dallas, New Orleans, and Washington D.C.


Shannon Dell Way

Michigan Avenue at Lake Street
Neighborhood: Cultural Mile

Near the radio station where she once worked.

March 1998. Age 43.

 

Corporal Albert Bitton Place

Linda Zabors

Albert Bitton grew up in West Rogers Park.  After high school he joined the Army as a medic with ambitions for a medical career.  He was so suited to the role that his patients called him "Doc." He was deployed to Iraq in 2007; unfortunately he died during a raid in the following year. He was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart posthumously.



Approved 2009
Ward: 
Alderman: Stone
Neighborhood: West Rogers Park

July 13, 1087 - February 19, 2008. Age 20.

School:
Ida Crown Jewish Academy

Army Medic
1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division

 
 

 

Honorable Clark Burrus Way

Linda Zabors

Clark Burrus was the head of Finance for the City of Chicago and later Vice Chairman of Chicago's largest bank and an expert in issues pertaining to minorities in public finance.  He was born and raised in Chicago.

After graduating from Roosevelt University in 1954 with his undergraduate degree he worked for the City of Chicago. During his 25 years with the City he served under 7 Chicago Mayors. He became Comptroller of the City of Chicago in 1973. In this role he was the head of the Department of Finance and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for Chicago. He was the first African-American to hold this office.

Burrus had many great achievements during his career with the City. He established billions of dollars in capital improvements for Chicago infrastructure including the CTA, Metra, and Pace. He also brought Chicago's accounting practices in order; under his leadership the City of Chicago earned a AA-bond rating.  This was important because in 1979 the whole country was engulfed in an economic crisis.  Having a strong credit rating was immensely helpful in getting Chicago through financial tough times.

Several bank acquisitions and mergers occurred in the 1990s and 2000s. First National Bank of Chicago is now known as Chase Bank.

Next Clark worked First National Bank of Chicago from 1979 until 1988.  He retired as Vice Chairman of Capital Markets and was the co-leader of Public Banking. 

Watch this Chicago History Museum oral history with Clark Burrus from May 22, 2012

His civic involvements were many; he was on the board of several Chicago organizations including: Chicago Council of Urban Affairs, The Economic Development Council, The Harold Washington Foundation, Urban Gateways.  

Honorary Clark Burrus Way was dedicated the first week in August, 2017.  The sign unveiling was hosted by Alderman Ed Burke of the 14th Ward, who is the head of the Finance Committee. Other Chicago dignitaries included: Carole Mosley Braun, Carole Brown, Dorothy Brown. Clark Burrus' widow, Lucille, and a showing of fifty family members attended the ceremony in front of the bank where he once worked. 


Honorable Clark Burrus Way

Ward: 42
Alderman: Reilly (42), and Burke (14)
Neighborhood: Loop
Dedicated: August 2017

November 5, 1928 - June 17, 2015. Age 86

Englewood High School. 1946
Roosevelt University MPA, Master of Public Administration 1972

 

Updated: August 3, 2017


New Honorary Signs - May 2017

Linda Zabors

Three new honorary streets were approved in Chicago this month


Honorable Clark Burrus Way

Ward: 42
Alderman: Reilly
Neighborhood: Loop

Mr Burrus was the comptroller for the City of Chicago in the 1970s  and had a remarkable career in finance. (more...)

 

Dr. Lorraine R. Broyls Way

Ward: 34
Alderman: Austin
Neighborhood: Beverly

Dr. Broyles is the founder and CEO of Universal Family Connection (UFC), a group dedicated to providing comprehensive social services to the community. (more...)

 

Blair Delane Holt Way

Ward: 34
Alderman: Austin
Neighborhood: Washington Heights

A high school student who was killed while shielding his classmates from gunfire.

The sign dedication marked the 10th anniversary of his death. (more...)

 

24 New Honorary Streets as of May 2017

Source: Journal of the Chicago City Council. analysis: Honorary Chicago
 

Note: in February 2017 the rules changed.  Going forward each ward is only allowed 2 new honorary signs per year. 


Dr. Lorraine R. Broyls

Linda Zabors

Lorraine is the founder and CEO of the Universal Family Connection (UFC) not-for-profit, a group dedicated to providing public service to families that are highly effective and comprehensive in scope.    

 
 
Through child welfare and family services, UFC’s aim is to help families remedy conditions of risk, and to thrive and function in ways that promote the psychological, emotional health, and social development of all family members.
        source: UFC Facebook page

UFC has partnered with many pubic assistance programs and government agencies at the city and state level.


 

Honorary Dr. Lorraine R. Broyls Way
1350 W. 103rd street
(Outside UFC location)

Approved: May 2017
Ward: 34
Alderman: Austin
Neighborhood: Beverly
Dedicated: TBD


KARTEMQUIN WAY

Linda Zabors

Kartemquin is a documentary film production house started in Chicago in 1966 with their first production "Home for Life."

The honorary sign was dedicated to mark the 50th anniversary of the company and the remarkable body of work KTQ has produced.

The name KARTEMQUIN is a combination of the last names of the three founders: Stan Karter, Jerry Temaner and Gordon Quinn; and a play on the name of a 1925 film "The Battleship Potemkin."

"Democracy through Documentary" 


Sign Approved: 2016
Ward: 32
Alderman: Waguespack
Neighborhood: Lakeview


Kartemquin Films IMDB

K9S For Veterans Way

Linda Zabors

K9s for Veterans is a Chicago area Non-profit which takes shelter dogs and trains them as service dogs for veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).

 

The honorary sign commemorates the opening of their new training center on Roosevelt Road.

 

Approved February 2017
Ward: 29
Alderman: Taliaferro

5430 West Roosevelt Road

Dedicated: March 18, 2017


Upcoming Events by K9s for Veterans


Celebrate Flag Days

Linda Zabors

Honorary Chicago celebrates Flag Days!

BE IT RESOLVED, That We, the Mayor, and the members of the Chicago City Council assembled this twenty-ninth day of March, 2017 celebrate the centennial of our flag by designating the fourth day of April as "Chicago Flag Day" in the City of Chicago.

Chicago Flag Day - April 4th


Whereas, the United States of America celebrates the adoption of the stars and stripes design by Betsy Ross on June 14, 1777; the year after independence was won from the British.  

US Flag Day - June 14th


Whereas, the State of Illinois adopted it's official flag, a variation of the official Illinois State Seal, on July 6, 1915.  Lucy Durwent, of the Rockford Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, was the winner of the Illinois State Flag design competition sponsored by the DAR. 

Officer Michael Flisk Avenue

Linda Zabors

Officer Michael Flisk died in the line of duty in 2010.  Officer Flisk served 19 years as a police evidence technician and was gunned down at the scene of a vehicle burglary by the hidden burglar.  The owner of the burglarized vehicle was also killed.

The gunman was found and charged with two murders and sentenced to life in prison.

Michael Flisk's three sons all became Chicago Police Officers.

 

Approved: February 2017
West 99th Street and South Artesian Avenue
Ward: 19
Alderman: O'Shea
Neighborhood: Beverly

Michael Ronald Flisk
Star #6962
November 26, 2010. Age 46.


National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund: Michael Ronald Flisk
Officer Down Memorial Page

Lucy Gonzalez Parsons Way

Linda Zabors

Lucy Gonzalez Parsons was a labor activist in the 1870s and the first African-American womens labor organizer. She led the first May Day labor parade in the US which was a testament to the growing labor movement in the wake of the Haymarket Affair. The attention it drew helped establish the 8-hour work day and contributed to the institution of Labor Day as a national holiday.

Lucy was born in Texas around 1853 and was of African-American, and possibly Mexican and Native American descent.  She and her husband, Albert Parsons, moved to Chicago in 1873 to escape personal threats due to their labor views and their inter-racial marriage, which was forbidden. 

Albert made a name for himself during the 1877 rail strikes which swept across the country.  He spoke to crowds of tens of thousands of angry workers and called for peaceful negotiations.  Albert was sentenced to death for his role in the Haymarket Riots.  While in prison he wrote "Anarchism: Its Philosophy and Scientific Basis."  

Lucy's views became more radical and militant after Albert's death.  She published Albert's manifesto and wrote for the publications The Socialist and The Alarm. Lucy co-founded Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) with Eugene Debs and Mother Jones.  She carried on the fight for workers rights for the next 55 years, until the end of her life.


 

Lucy Ella Gonzalez Parsons Park 

A Chicago Park is also named in her honor at Belmont and Kilpatrick, which is less than a mile from where she lived. She died in a house fire at 3130 N. Troy Street


 

Honorary Lucy Gonzalez Parsons Way

Kedzie and Shubert near the Logan Square Blue Line CTA Station

Ward: 35
Alderman: Ramirez-Rosa
Neighborhood: Avondale / Logan Square
Dedication: May Day, May 1, 2017

Lucy Ella Gonzales Parsons 1853-1942, age 89.

 

New Rules for New Honorary Signs in Chicago after February 2017

Linda Zabors

In the February 2017 Chicago City Council meeting strict restrictions were made to the 1984 ordinance which set forth the process of dedicating an honorary street in Chicago.

 

The changes are as follows:

  • Each ward is limited to 2 new honorary street designations per year

  • The cost of the honorary sign production, installation, and removal will be paid by the Ward

  • Each new honorary street will be marked by only 2 honorary signs

  • Signs can only be installed on an existing sign post

  • No honorary designations can share the same segment of street

  • The proposal must contain a map of the blocks to be dedicated (minimum 2 continuous blocks on the same street)

  • Living people are not eligible for honorary streets

  • The honorary street name cannot be the same as an official street

  • The proposal must contain the biography and reason for the the dedication and the name cannot be

  • If the proposal is rejected the named party cannot be reconsidered for one year

  • Designations expire after 5-years (renewable for an additional 5-years) after which the sign is to be removed

 
 

After

  • 2 new honorary street designations per Ward per year regardless of the geographic size or population of the Ward

  • Street segments are exclusive to a single designation

  • The honored individual must be dead

  • Signs are limited to a renewable 5-year term

Before

  • Unrestricted number of signs and designations bestowed

  • Multiple honorary designations allowed per location

  • Installed for an indefinite length of time

  • Opaque qualifications for selection

  • People can be honored during their lifetime

 

With the new restrictions the City will have a maximum of 100 new honorary streets per year (50 Wards allowed 2 new honorary designations each).

Editors note:
In 2016 there were 85 new honorary street designations
15 wards had more than 2
16 wards had zero

The 5-year expiration date applies to existing signs

Process for approval and FAQ


Source: City Ordinance, February 22, 2017

Sister Barbara Jean Ciszek Way

Linda Zabors

Sister Barbara Jean Ciszek was the Founder and Principal of the Montessori School at the Cardinal Bernadin Early Childhood Center, St. Boneventure Campus.  She was a member of the American Montessori Society and an expert in language and aesthetic development.  

The Montessori method of education was founded in 1906 by Maria Montessori, an Italian physican and specialist in early childhood development.  

Bee Jay, was called clearly and early to both teaching and religious life.  She declared her intention to teach at age 5.  She took her vows as a Catholic nun at age 19. Toward the end of her career she was called to Africa and made several visits to Nigeria.  At the time of her death a school was being built in Nigeria in her honor.

She was a member of the Congregation St. Joseph LaGrange.

Approved: 2016
Neighbohood: Lakeview

Sister Barbara Jean Ciszek 1946-2015, age 68