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222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza
Chicago, IL, 60654


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.

How to Get an Honorary Sign


How to Get an Honorary Sign

Linda Zabors

Here is the process as far as we can tell.
Note: this is not an official representation - it is what we have learned in the course of our research

The General Process: how to nominate someone for an honorary sign in Chicago

  1. Someone from the community chooses to nominate a person, place or organization for an honorary sign

  2. A location for the sign is chosen, and the the request for an honorary sign is made to the ward in which the sign is to be located.  Click here for How to identify ward

  3. The Alderman of the ward in which the sign is to be located accepts the request and presents the nomination to the City Council.  (Note: as of February 2017 each ward is limited to two new honorary signs per year)  City Council meets once a month.  Click here to see next City Council meeting date

  4. The City Council receives the request and then sends the nomination off to a Committee for an evaluation and recommendation. This Committee meets between City Council sessions and usually returns its recommendations at the next City Council meeting.

  5. If the Committee recommends the honorary sign nomination to pass, the City Council almost always approves the nomination and issues an order to the Department of Transportation to install the sign at the designated location.

  6. The ward coordinates a day for the sign to be installed and the Alderman attends, and often leads, the unveiling ceremony.  

The process takes two or more months to complete.  

Suggestions for what to include in the nomination

Important: This is not official and this site and the people and organization associated with this site have no involvement in the nomination process.  We get asked how to nominate someone for a sign quite often and this is our suggestion regarding what makes a good case for a nominee.

  • Who is this person and what did he or she do to warrant an honorary sign?

  • What was this person's contribution to Chicago?  How did the nominee make Chicago or the world a better place?

  • Why was this location chosen for the sign?  (It is usually near where someone lived, worked, or a particular building or organization where the nominee was actively involved)

  • Required as of February 2017 - a map indicating where the signs (two signs, marking the beginning and end of the length of street) are to be installed.

  • Is the nominee alive? (As of February 2017 the answer needs to be NO)

  • Did the person in his or her lifetime live in the Chicago area? If so, where?

    • In which neighborhoods did the nominee live or work?

    • Which Chicago area schools did he or she attend?

      • If the person never lived in Chicago explain the nominee's connection and contribution to Chicago

  • Was the nominee ever in the military, a first responder, a civil servant, an educator, a member of the clergy, an artist, author, inventor, owner or founder of a local business or community organization?  If so, please describe.

  • What other awards or honors has the nominee received - and from what organization?  Lifetime Achievement Award, Medal of Honor, Hall of Fame, etc.

  • Include any other distinguishing characteristics and qualifications not mentioned above.  

  • (optional) personal anecdotes, family information

  • Who are you  - the nominator.  It is best if you are a member or members of the immediate community and neighborhood.  Include your name and contact information.  What is your connection to the nominee?  Family, co-worker, etc.  

Revised - February 22, 2017

In February 2017 the Chicago City Council changed the qualifications for having an honorary street named in someone's honor.   Here are some of the key points:

Changes as of February 2017

Honorary signs are no longer approved for living people

Each ward is only allowed two new honorary signs a year

Portions of streets are exclusive to a single honoree

The ward pays for the sign and installation out of its own funds

Details of new restrictions for honorary street designations