Toynbee Mystery

Fuzzy over at Chicago Metblogs did a post on Chicago’s site today about Toynbee Tiles, which have been spotted again recently in the Windy City.

Before I read Fuzzy’s post and read this NPR article from Saturday, I wasn’t familiar with the license plate-size tiles that have shown up in the asphalt of several US cities including Detroit and three South American cities, but I feel like I have a faint memory of coming across one while downtown and thinking, “What on Earth is that?” and then just dismissing it as street art.

Has anyone seen any Toynbee Tiles around town lately? Apparently they get paved over quite often.

Minimalistfan on Flickr has pictures of the Detroit tiles – uploaded and taken in May 2005, but he credits them to someone else.

From what I’ve learned at Wikipedia on the subject, there have been about 130 tiles in all; each has some variation of the following message, which most believe refers to historian Arnold J. Toynbee and filmmaker/director-Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odessey:

IN KUbricK’s 2001

Other tiles have a second message implying a conspiracy between John S. Knight of Knight-Ridder and the U.S. government.

1 Comment so far

  1. Mollika* (unregistered) on September 27th, 2006 @ 8:28 pm

    Maybe the salt will eat off the asphalt to uncover some tiles in the spring. I am curious to see one.

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