The Rebuilding Exchange is one of the more awesome places I’ve been to in Chicago. They are a not-for-profit that takes wood from old houses that are to be torn down and resells it. So, you can find old doorknobs, old keys, old doors, walls, sinks, and wood. Hardwood, old-growth wood, and tetanus (as often their wood has nails in it still). You can take a workshop there if you are into that sort of thing. Check it out on their website.
I personally like to just walk around and see what they have. I’ve found some old appliances that I really had no idea what they were. It really is a great place to see parts of old America and how it used to be… plus some age. I’ve gotten wood from there to make a clothing rack. My flatmate made a table and bench. There is so much you can do with what you find there.
Since it’s super nice out making stuff out of other stuff has become my personal past time.