AT on...Neighborhood Landmarks

AT on...Neighborhood Landmarks

Heather Blaha
Jul 27, 2007

Flipping through the latest Time Out, we read a bit about The Spindle in Berwyn (the stacked car sculpture by Dustin Shuler in Harlem-Cermak Shopping Plaza). The buzz: The Spindle is approching its demise to make way for Walgreens.

This stack of cars was a visual icon of our youth - of the many summers and weekends spent at two sets of grandparents' places (one a bungalow and the other a two flat, both a few blocks away from each other and The Spindle). We thought both homes and Berwyn life were so wonderfully odd, definitely an urban switch from our rural Missouri youth.

Just as odd, we thought, was The Spindle. But we loved it and thought that's what city life meant: stacked cars and inexplicable placement of stores, homes, and "art." Spending time in Berwyn was our first exposure to Czech restaurants, "gangways" (how my grandmothers referred to alleys), and talking to your neighbors out back because you practically shared a yard.

This brought to mind other landmarks of our youth: The brick Heather Hill sign in our Quincy, IL neighborhood; the looming Boonville watertower around the corner at our place in Missouri; the abandoned church across the street in Weldon, IL (population 550), temporarily occupied in the basement by a traveling religious cult and a bunch of pigs. No joke!

We'd love to hear about what landmarks most stand out in your memories. Whether a town of a few hundred from long ago or an urban neighborhood - it's the visual recognition of places near home that help us shape our own space - and encourage us to make our homes healthy, beautiful, and useful.

(Image: The Spindle by Axel Guillebastre via

Read more about the Spindle here:

The Consumerist
Chicago Tribune

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