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July 2012

Places to Go: A Cannon in Wicker Park and Other Neighborhood Oddities

A cannon in Wicker Park — don't see that very often!

A cannon in Wicker Park — don't see that very often!

Nestled among the many tasty locations our Bucktown/Wicker Park food tasting and cultural walking tour stops off at is a somewhat unexpected sight: A beautiful Victorian home on Hoyne Avenue with a real cannon parked right in the front yard.

The building housed the American Legion from 1927 to 1972, and the cannon is a relic of that era. Want the full story? We wouldn't want to spoil it — sign up for one of the tours.

This cannon is just one of many strange things you can find in Chicago if you look hard enough. Actually, you don't even have to look that far. Here are a few of our favorite quirky neighborhood oddities.

Noble Horse Theater stables
1410 N. Orleans St.

Snakes on a plane… Pigs in space… Horses in Old Town!

The Noble Horse Stable first opened in 1871 as a working stable, and it was restored to its original splendor in 2008 to house Noble Horse Theater's beautiful performers and the downtown carriage draft horses.

If you're wandering around Old Town after Chicago Food Planet's Near North food tasting and cultural walking tour, it's not unusual to spot Noble Horse Theater's gorgeous horses while you're in the neighborhood.

Oz Park
Webster and Lincoln Aves.

Hey, we're not in Kansas anymore…so what are these statues of Dorothy, Toto and the rest of her friends doing here?

This Lincoln Park green space was named Oz Park to honor L. Frank Baum, author of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," who moved to Chicago in 1891. The statues were installed started in 1995 with the Tin Man, followed by the Cowardly Lion in 2001, the Scarecrow in 2005 and Dorothy and Toto in 2007.

It's a great spot for kids and families to play — and for anyone to enjoy the public art commissioned by the city.

S--t fountain
1001 N. Wolcott Ave.

Some people leave passive-aggressive notes for those who annoy them; others create art to pay tribute to the source of their annoyance — like the Ukrainian Village neighbor who was so tired of people not cleaning up after their pets when walking them past his house that he built a water feature with a big bronze piece of…well, you know.

Take a look at this little number [two] at Wolcott and Augusta. (Plus, if you snap a pic with it, you can join these admirers who have immortalized their trip in photos!)

Not for the faint of heart: Old Town Ale House's "art"
219 W. North Ave. 

You just wanted a beer. And now you're faced with a full-frontal nude of Sarah Palin and a clear shot of former Mayor Rod Blagojevich's bare buttocks. You must be at Old Town Ale House, which is "famous" for its eclectic collection of framed paintings done by hand by the proprietor.

Corporate honorable mention: Kraft Macaroni & Cheese noodle outside Wrigley Field
Addison and Clark Sts.

It's…a giant noodle. In the middle of Wrigleyville. What more can we say here?

Noodlin' (ur doing it wrong)

What are your favorite quirky Chicago spots?

Photo: Rosalyn Davis

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