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Lakeview sculptures vanish over the weekend

November 12, 2012|By Tony Peregrin | For RedEye

Lakeview is missing two giraffes and a nanny goat. The iconic polished chrome sculptures on Elaine Place have been removed by their owner Milton Zale, who recently sold some rental properties on the street to Chicago Apartment Finders. The new owner didn't purchase the sculptures--designed by Chicago artist John Kearney--and their future remains uncertain.

"The latest from the board of the Northalsted Business Alliance is that they are currently making inquiries as to where the statues are, and they are attempting to determine their 'for sale' status," said Jennifer Gordon, spokesperson for the business alliance. "There have been conflicting reports. We've also heard that Zale offered to include the sculptures in the sale, but we're still trying to confirm that."

The business alliance has been unable to reach Zale, according to Gordon. RedEye also has not been able to reach him.

Gordon said business alliance board members first learned about the missing sculptures--which are fashioned from the chrome bumpers of old cars--on Sunday via Twitter.

"Board members and business owners reacted very quickly and started sending out e-mails to try to determine what happened," Gordon said. She said the business alliance is open to the possibility of purchasing the sculptures, but was unable to offer more information--such as potential new locations for the sculptures--until more details regarding the current state of the sculptures surfaced.

"Everyone's jaws dropped when they realized the giraffe and nanny goat were gone. It's very strange how this all came about; they will definitely be missed. Whenever you walked by one of these sculptures, they always brought an unexpected smile to your face," Gordon said.

On the Elaine Place Giraffes' Twitter page, neighborhood residents called for organizing a candlelight vigil and encouraged fans of the sculptures to leave notes, candles and remembrances on the now-vacant cement pedestals.

"Goodbye Elaine Place giraffes," noted @AnnaGetsPithy on Twitter, who included a picture of a tin foil effigy to one of the giraffes with her tweet. "You will be so very missed on the block. Sad day."

Chicago is a veritable zoo of Kearney's shiny animal sculptures and, at one time or another, has featured a giraffe at the Museum of Science and Industry, a simian in front of Hull House in Uptown, an elephant at the Lincoln Park Zoo and a cowardly lion in Oz Park.

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