There exists a mecca of junk at the corner of Chicago Avenue and Spaulding in this fair city. I was told to keep my mouth shut because my friend Evan found a Knoll chair here for less than $5 but I can’t be silent any longer. I slipped and told one of the guys at work about it anyways and he’s getting ready to be a participant on Real Homes to show off his purchases. I’ll have to mention it then, so what’s the harm in a few photos now?
There was no signage that I caught but a quick search of Yelp yielded the name: Cooper’s Junk Yard. Cooper’s is housed in a massive warehouse that takes up an entire city block with a large outdoor yard as well. Inside is a maze of dusty and dank rooms filled to the brim with remnants of a lot of folks’ pasts. Hospital beds, restaurant chairs, bureaus and hutches and dressers, an entire room of art in cardboard boxes, rows and rows of machinery, professional trade tools from decades ago, moving parts, abandoned pieces of the city. I don’t think there is anything this place doesn’t have. Nothing is priced and everything is completely negotiable.
On a Saturday afternoon Evan and I were pretty much it for customers. We saw employees pushing overladen carts around and heard some barking dogs behind large metal doors but it seemed we were alone in our junking.
There were about twenty of these hospital carts that go for hundreds of dollars cleaned up at antique stores. If the look in your home includes stainless steel, this is definitely your place with everything from bookcases to huge cabinets.
I believe the City of Chicago hauls a lot of their castoffs here. The Knoll chair had a Cook County sticker on the bottom and I noticed a lot of drab courthouse and library furniture just waiting to be stripped and painted. Then we have the actual pieces of the city: grates, sewer caps, blocks of concrete. Cooper’s is a great place for ephemera.
Beware of dog poo the further inside you go and don’t wear anything you care about. Bring cash and your best haggling voice. A truck would be a good idea, too.
Cooper’s Junk Yard
814 N. Spaulding Ave
Chicago, IL 60651