I’ve driven past this place a thousand times, often on my way to O’Hare. This photograph drives me crazy because the building looks seriously bent out of shape. it isn’t my camera, and it isn’t my composition. I could use all the tripods and levels that I could find. The building is simply crooked—the foundation has obviously shifted multiple times.
Prior to becoming a memorabilia shop, this one-story Wrigleyville fixture was occupied by a barbershop and a television repair service. Isn’t that quaint? When has anyone had a flatscreen repaired lately? Generally they are replaced as soon as the manufacturers introduce new models with higher pixel counts. The building probably has had other occupants. It dates to the 1890s, which makes it older than Wrigley Field.
For those who remember the era of tubes, Yesterday is a welcome throwback Thursday, or whatever day it is open. According to the Chicago Tribune, it is owned by Tom Boyle, who has a compatriot, Neil Cooper. Boyle is in his late 80s.
How much longer Yesterday will be open is an obvious question. Boyle told the Tribune that, “We’re getting to that area where we are in our closing stages.” He added, “Of course, a lot of people want the property. They’d knock this down in 10 minutes, and another high-rise would go up.” Given its proximity to Wrigley Field (a block and half east of Wrigley on Addison), Boyle is no doubt right. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ricketts family bought it.
Boyle has operated out of the storefront for 43 years, which means the store opened for business in 1976. For the time being, the shop remains open, although it keeps rather erratic hours, so call before stopping by (773-248-8087). The sign on the door lists Store Hours as Monday through Friday 4PM to 6PM; Saturday 1PM to 7PM; Sunday 2PM to 6PM; Closed on Holidays and Bad Weather Condition, Heatwave, Thunder Storms, Cold Temperatures, Blizzards. A newer sign on the door said it is closed Tuesday and Wednesday due to the Cubs/Sox Night Games, but Open Thursday After Game. If you do visit, you will find an interior crammed with books, newspapers, magazines, trading cards, comics, movie posters, vinyl, and sports memorabilia. You might even encounter a celebrity. Eddie Vedder, Jon Bon Jovi, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher have all walked through its doors.
Boyle says he wished Paul McCartney had paid a visit when McCartney played Wrigley a few years back. Not surprisingly, the store takes its name from the McCartney-Lennon tune.
If you go, bring cash, although the store does not have a cash register. You won’t find a computer or charge card reader in the store. Forgoing those devices is quaint, and I do understand the aversion to computers and overhead cost associated with credit cards. Having said that, I find the absence of a computer in this type of operation a bit bizarre and definitely counterproductive. Given that so much memorabilla is bought and sold online, Yesterday would greatly benefit from having access to price information. Maybe Boyle uses a computer at home for that purpose, but I would not be surprised if he doesn’t. He could also read online reviews of his operation. Having said that, Boyle certainly has eliminated a lot of aggravation from his life, which may more than offset the benefits that come with computers.
Don’t expect to be met by an unfriendly person behind the counter. The reviews on Yelp describe Boyle or whoever was working as friendly and helpful. Several of the reviews note an incredible collection of Star Trek memorabilia. It is clear from those reviews and other sources that Boyle takes great pleasure in satisfying his customers, although it apparently can take a bit of time to find the requested item.
Click here for an interview with Boyle.
Sources: Ariel Cheung, Wrigleyville’s Yesterday Shop Will Be History Soon, Chicago Tribune (September 8, 2017), and Sarah Foster, Wrigleyville Memorabilia Shop Brings History to Life, Medill Reports (March 23, 2018).
Click on a photograph to enlarge it.
And just down the street, you will find this gem, which apparently offers parking for Cubs games. I would not park there unless it is open for business. There are tow signs up.
If you work up a bit of an appetite while browsing all that memorabilia, you might want to head east to Clark Street, and then south a block or two for some deep dish pizza at Sluggers, one of the many sports bars in the neighborhood.
If you still have some energy and the Cub are in town, you can pick up tickets just underneath the ‘L’ tracks on Addison.