Pardon My Planet (9/6/10)

There’s a factory on the northwest side of Chicago that very nearly touches the Kennedy Expressway. Tacked prominently onto one of the factory’s windowless walls are letters reading, “help wanted.” Underneath those letters is a marquee of sorts where the owners can post available positions. For as long as I can remember, the marquee has either been empty or has read, “no help wanted.” It’s a sad sight, but it also serves as a reminder of a bygone era: one in which manufacturers established themselves as the basis of the American economy, became important anchors for city neighborhoods, and advertised new jobs on the sides of their buildings.


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