Perfect sized city for this feature - 25,000 people. Nickname: the Pretzel City! Because they were settled by Germans who made them.

Let's begin with a mystery: what the devil is going on here?

Has to be some kind of garage, or perhaps that's a warehouse door . . . but the big blank expanse on the second floor is inexplicable. Scoured clean for a big neon sign? If so, what are the little inset decorations?

Let's hope things make more sense as we go along.

This was cruel. Late-20s / early 30s terra cotta, stripped on the lower floor and replaced with the collary of Buckaroo Revival, the dreaded diagonal wood.

Someone said "yeah, chop off that corner. No one will notice. Who looks up to the second floor of anything, anyway?"

Lynch & Roberts:

The fellow gave his name to a local park.

Much of the land being donated was owned by the prominent merchant and “loyal citizen,” F.A. Read, the principal donor for whom the park was named. Read, who the account states believed in the importance of public parks, made several additional gifts to the Park District.

The park commissioner was the son-in-law of "Freeport's most noted industrialist, the one and only W. T. Rawleigh."

Ah hah! Oh, we'll learn a bit more about him next year, in a site that's going up on the Miscellany section. Anyway, from his obit:

Mr. Read, who was in the mercantile business in Freeport continuously from 1877 until his death in 1942, was a quiet, unassuming man with high principles and sound judgment. Always interested in the advancement of his city, he gave generously of his time and energy, as well as of his possessions, to any project designed to bring increased comfort and happiness to residents, old and young.

The building is still called the Read building.

Brick 'er up, Charlie, but don't bother matching anything. No one will care.

You know, it's possible that they deliberately chose different colored bricks, just to keep the spirit and original design of the place in memory.

A space-bending theater, with TEN SCREENS

It's a Rapp & Rapp theater. A local contest chose the name, but who knows what it meant? Probably someone's daughter.

Say, I forgot to mention - Freeport was famous for more than pretzels. They also held one of the LINcoln DOuglas debates.

An old picture here, with its marquee making a proud boast: THIS IS A MODERN TEMPLE OF BEAUTY COMFORT SAFETY

There's something so ordinary and midwestern about this; that must have been why I snipped it. Plus, ghost sign.

When you think about it, everything's since 1853.

Remember I mentioned "Rawleigh" up above? The old quack-nostrum factory.

Millions of gallons of EXTRACTS once chugged from vats and pipes into small bottles, sent out to the credulous public to be consumed in hope.

By 1915, an estimated 2,000 "Rawleigh men" distributed Rawleigh products while visiting approximately 20,000 customers daily. The Rawleigh company did not do expensive advertising or newspaper ads, instead it relied on the products their benefits, and the Rawleigh man going into homes to sell their products. By 1922 over twenty million customers had admitted the Rawleigh man into their homes.

Up these stairs, none shall pass again:


A prosperous scene unchanged since, oh, 1965 - although I'm sure the purpose of the big building has gone from hotel to senior housing. That's always the case.

Nice little modern building, with that tell-tale green-tint window that always made the structure look cool and minty-fresh.


These were always the Saviors of Downtown, these big bank towers with their Los Angeles profile and parking-ramp podium. You suspect there was something interesting on the site before, and the lack of anything across the street is telling.

Another human-defying government structure, designed to look like it munches the citizens as they enter:

A candidate for a haunted building - no one dares go to the third floor, and the windows are arrayed just as they were the day of the terrible murder.

The inability of everything to line up must have driven some people a bit daffy.

We'll never know.



Or maybe we will -


if we find some old fellow in the barber shop you can tell you what used to be where. The older they get the less they seem to care that anyone else cares, though. There's a certain practicality that prevents nostalgia among some Midwestern seniors. Eh. It's gone. That happens. Happens all the time.

Double ghost: Coke, of course, and E. A. Blust.

From a Freeport jewelry store website:

The term “family business” has special meaning for sisters Alicia Luecke-DeMichele and Marcia Luecke-Toepfer. Together they run three jewelry stores, the flagship location in Freeport having been established by their grandfather, Robert G. Luecke, in 1921.

The family connection to Freeport’s historic downtown business district dates back even further, however. Robert began his jeweler’s work in a corner of the Blust Dry Goods Store inside a building erected by his father-in-law, E.A. Blust, at 10 E. Main St., Freeport. The Blust Building, built in 1892, remains an iconic downtown landmark.

The building in the foreground is less iconic, having been cursed with multi-hue brickwork during the era of No Good Ideas.

Speaking of Leucke:

How does it line up that an old building about the same age as the one where the R. Luecke got his start has R. Luecke on the cornice?

It's complicated.