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Historic Michigan Avenue Sign to Light Up Again at the Illinois Railway Museum in McHenry County

Thursday, October 27, 2016 10:03 AM | Jeff Wien (Administrator)

Historic Michigan Avenue Sign to Light Up Again at the Illinois Railway Museum in McHenry County

Union, IL - A giant piece of Chicago history is coming back to life at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, McHenry County. On October 29, 2016 at 5:00pm the 70-foot long illuminated SANTA FE sign which for decades sat atop the Railway Exchange Building at 224 South Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago will be re-lit following an extensive restoration effort. The sign was acquired by the museum in 2012, when it was removed from the building and donated by the building's owners, Hamilton Partners. Restoration of the sign, which was constructed in 1982 to replace an earlier 1962 version, took place in 2016 courtesy of a grant from the BNSF Foundation.

Restoration of the enormous sign was conducted by MK Signs Chicago. "Over 260 man-hours went into this project," said Dave Diamond, head of the museum's Buildings & Grounds Department. "The work included cleaning and repairing polycarbonate surfaces, wiring replacement, and installation of over 1400 energy-efficient LED modules to illuminate the letters." Steel supports were installed near the museum entrance, where the SANTA FE letters will be easily visible from passing cars. The sign joins other restored railroad signs at the museum including examples from the North Shore Line, South Shore Line, Illinois Central Railroad, and Chicago Transit Authority.


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