WEST ROGERS PARK — The iconic "Z" Frank Chevrolet sign on Western Avenue could be saved after all.
The Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society intends to rally community support to find some way to save the sign from the wrecking ball.
"I have no idea on God's green Earth where we could put this thing, but it would just be terrific" to save the sign, said Ken Walchak, the society's president and owner of Clark-Devon Hardware. "I don't know if this is completely insane or not. ... It's just wacky enough to maybe work."
Walchak said he planned to negotiate with the sign's owner, Chuck Frank, to find a way to preserve the 50-foot-tall sign. Frank's father, Zollie, founded the dealership on Western in 1936. The business was moved in 2008 and then sold shortly after.
But the sign continues to tower above the property at 6016-60 N. Western Ave., even as demolition is underway.
Ben Woodard explains what the sign means to the neighborhood:
Now the former dealership's land is under contract to be sold to Bob Loquercio, who intends to move his Toyota dealership from North Broadway in Edgewater to a newly constructed dealership on the "Z" Frank property.
Frank couldn't immediately be reached for comment, but on Wednesday he said he'd offer the sign for free to whomever had the means and motivation to preserve it.
The historical society was not the only group to express interest in saving the sign as news spread of its potential demise Thursday.
Ethan Ridl, of DeKalb, Ill.-based Industrial Artifacts, said his company is also interested in saving the sign.
"We’re interested to figure out how we’d get this thing down," Ridl said. "It's our intention not to let something like this go to a scrap yard."
But Ridl said removing the sign would only be part of the process.
"I don’t even know if there would be a buyer for something this big," he said.
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