Trip Wrap-up & Day 30 in NM

Here it is the final post from June’s trip.  At this point, on Day 30, I was racing towards home with one day ahead to sort out my life and then head back to work in SoCal.  But I managed some stops in Albuquerque and Gallup on the way home.

Before the final sampling of photos, here are the “stats” about the trip.  I put another 12,519 miles on Sparkle’s odometer (nearly 500,000 now).  That’s an average of about 417 miles per day.  I took more than 4,000 photos.  I spent $2231 on gas (about $74 per day).  Granted, Sparkle only gets about 17mpg but when you’re traveling with four dogs & you need the space for clothes, human/dog supplies & other stuff, you gotta suck that up.

I’ve got all of the 29 days’ photos up at my website (roadarch.com) which is my life’s work.  This blog is just a little diversion, a way to share photos that are usually not worthy of my website and document these trips.

I’ll get Day 30’s New Mexico photos up this weekend.  But all of the Oklahoma, Mississippi, Arkansas, Arizona, Louisiana, Texas, and Memphis photos are all up.  So, if you have a favorite state or topics (signs, mid-century modern buildings, Art Deco, bus stations, giant fruit or animals, gas stations, etc.), you might want to go see what’s new.  You can also use the search box below the yellow bar on the left at any page to search by cities to see things from all sections for them.

Now then — on with some of the final day’s photos.  All from Albuquerque.

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The remaining photos from this post are all part of Carlos Garcia’s collection.  About half of his signs are from auctions from around the country, the other half is from Albuquerque with a few from other NM cities.   He’s a controversial figure in that some people believe that he gets his signs “too soon.”  That is, working out deals with the business owner or building at maybe the 9th hour instead of catching the sign just before it was about to hit the dumpster.  I’ve spoken with him a lot and it seems that every sign has a story and was truly about to come down “soon”.

He is working on a sign park of some sort in ABQ that should open to the public next year as part of the Glorieta Station development.  I’ve seen some of the artist illustrations of the plans.  In the meantime, the majority of his signs are displayed inside his event and storage space.  Some are at the back of a parking lot waiting for restoration and/or the sign park.  In any case, he’s happy to have lookie-loo sign-lovers come see his collection by appointment.  And then make judgments for themselves whether he’s to be loved or hated for this collection.

Personally, I’m somewhere in the middle: suspicious that at least some of the signs could have stayed up a few more years but happy that someone got them before a new business owner might repaint them with their name or add plastic letters to the panels which would be just as bad as the scrapheap.  I’ve seen that happen waaaaaay too many times.

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Let’s end with one sign that’s now part from Carlos’ collection.  The Arrow Motel in Espanola, NM (first photo below is mine from 2012).  The motel was condemned years ago and demolished last year.  Everyone worried over what would become of the sign.  The city had no plans for it.  Carlos talked to the owners over the years and finally worked out a deal.  They only gave it or sold it (I can’t remember which) to him with the condition that he restore the sign to its original glory.

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Well, the sign community, including me, was horrified by that…. ruining the historic patina…  but… anyway, here was the sign in June getting the full rust-removal and original paint colors.  The sign has since had the neon installed and the animated arrow is working again.

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I hope you enjoyed the daily samplings from this trip.  I’ll be back soon enough with the next mega project.  Combing my website for all the changes over the past year via the Google Street View maps in the descriptions at my website.  Demolitions, repaints, removals, remodeling.  And then posting here the tragedies (mostly) and surprises (a little bit of positive news, let’s hope).  It’s going to my idea of “fun.”  During that, I’ll also make a few little North/South Calif. trips as a break over the next six months or so.  Then, it’ll be time to plan next year’s summer trip (Florida, Alabama, Georgia & more).  The cycle of life, DJ style.

Now, don’t forget to take a peek at other photos from this trip (different from the one’s posted to this blog) over at Flickr.  And then when you’ve got a good chunk of time, venture over to the website for the “real deal” (approaching or exceeding 3,000 – haven’t counted lately – packed pages of buildings, signs & statues).

Happy trails!
dj & the dogs – back home in paradise

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Day 29: Mostly Oklahoma City

The clock was really ticking on this trip with only two days to go.  But I was determined to dip into OKC for a bit.  Let’s start off with a few signs on the outskirts in Midwest City.

This one is at the Highlight Laundry:

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This sign has been modernized — and not in a good way.  The manual letter readerboard at the bottom is now an annoying digital display.  The neon has been replaced with really crude LED rope lighting:

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The Planet Plaza Apartments name has changed but, thankfully, this sign has been saved.  I don’t know if it was always on the side of the building.  Might have been up front.  Might have had neon:

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Moving on to OKC.  Ned’s opened around 2018 and this retro sign is from then:

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This modern sign is at a Crest Foods supermarket.  I don’t think the neon or animation works anymore.  Still, I love this little caveman:

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Simply spectacular — and so is the building:

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I’m going to assume that this was a flashing two-part arrow with the wavy part  followed by the straight part:

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This sign which advertised for the Split-T Bar drive-in which closed in 2000.  The sign was shortened and adapted by Sonic and moved across the street.  Here’s what the sign looked like originally:
https://i.pinimg.com/originals/a6/6a/20/a66a203794451698dd14c7a930e34a99.jpg

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Moving on to Bethany.  This sign appears to be modern but it seems so odd with the diamond and palm tree.  Maybe it was reworked for this pool place which has been there since at least 2007:

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Last stop before I hopped on the interstate for New Mexico.  This one is in El Reno:

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Back next weekend with the final post and the big summary for this trip.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Day 28: Oklahoma (mostly Tulsa)

Three more days for this trip. Most of this day was spent in Tulsa with glorious all day sun.  Let’s start off with this sign for the Westside Laundry in Tulsa.  The sign was probably a used car lot sign originally:

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This is a modern sign:

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This sign is “new” in that it’s a vintage sign but it installed sometime between 2007 and 2011 above a trendy bar:

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This neon detail is installed above The Colony bar sign:

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The Daylight Donuts sign in Tulsa originally advertised for Shaw’s Drive-in:
https://i.pinimg.com/originals/83/55/fe/8355fec0584dd8d7f59b85343f52b20d.jpg

At some point it was adapted for Daylight Donuts and then fell into really bad shape.  Here’s my photo from 2011:

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In 2012, the neon bits were removed and it was repainted.  Horrible fonts and bizarre color choices.  But, hey, it’s still there, and there’s hope that maybe someday a true restoration might take place.

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This shopping center sign was originally located in Springfield, MO.  It’s now part of the sign collection at the Stokely Event Center in Tulsa.  Here’s my photo when it was still in place in Missouri in 2010:

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and today:

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The Earl M. Jorgensen Co. has about 40 locations across the country. There are at least two other identical signs to this one in Dallas, TX and Lynwood, CA.  They all have neon and composite letters like this.  However, at some point, the neon in the channel letters here were replaced with cheap & crappy LED rope tubing.

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The neon letters on the facade are intact.

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Are per Google StreetView, the Lynwood location also has a nice facade:

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and the Dallas building has a nice mid-century modern vibe:

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But back to Tulsa for some more signs:

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This is one of two of these signs that survive in Tulsa:

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Here’s one of a dwindling population of Arby’s sign around the country. This is one of the smaller version:

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But what’s even better:  a sign company maintaining the bulbs:

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The last one for this post — moving on from Tulsa to Chandler:

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Back with the final day of Oklahoma & some New Mexico in next weekend’s post.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Day 27: Oklahoma (McAlester to Tulsa)

Three days of Oklahoma to share:  here’s post 1 of 3.

Let’s start with this sign in Eufala:

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Another one from Eufala.  Simple but sweet.  Well-preserved corrugated plastic signs are getting very rare:

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Some signs from Muskogee:

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Another one for my Happy Bear collection:
http://www.roadarch.com/signs/bear.html

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In 2011, this sign was prettier and still had its neon:

 
Here’s what it looks like now:

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Gorgeous in this rusty state.  They are trying to raise money to restore it but I kinda hope that doesn’t happen.  Better yet, put a replica on the poles and move this guy into/on top of the building:

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This cutie is in Tahlequah:

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Another one from Tahlequah:

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One of two C-152 Lectras across the street from each other in Chouteau.  This is the unrestored one:
http://www.roadarch.com/sca/roto4.html

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This Daylight Donuts is in Verdigris — neon, bulbs, corrugated panels…

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AND a vacuum form panel under the eaves.  I’m sure these were mass-produced but I’ve never seen another one anywhere:

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Last one for this post — in Claremore.  This sign was restored in the past few years.  Here’s what it looked like in 2016:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/romleys/27263089305/

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Back next weekend (or so) with more.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Day 26: the Last of Arkansas

So, it was a cloudy day and I did what I could.  Someday, I’ll have to swing thru these cities again and reshoot.  But here’s a nice big batch anyway.

From Malvern, AR:

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From Benton, AR (surely, some other Moderne “thing” originally with neon:

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I’ve been anxious to reshoot this sign at the Magic Hills Public Golf course in Hot Springs for years.  Finally, I got a little sun but the fencing and trees have made it next to impossible:

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Lots more from Hot Springs.   This one (Zac’s Pizza) has been missing any trace of paint since at least 2007:

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This old drug store sign is inside an antiques store (store was local I was told).  Pretty beat but still beautiful.  Some neat other stuff there including an old Happy Bear Alignment sign:

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A rusting shopping center sign:

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“Stubby’s” looks like a replacement panel.  We can assume there was another log panel with somebody’s else’s name there:

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There was originally white paint behind the letters.  I guess, at some point, the sign was repainted entirely red and it was deemed too much trouble to deal with the lettering:

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The Bohemia sign is not looking good these days — but at least it’s back.  Sort of.  The restaurant has been closed since at least 2006.  It was still looking nice in my 2010 photo:

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Then, around 2014, the sign was covered up for a new venture: the Park Avenue Bistro — as evidenced at GoogleStreetView:

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When that closed, the sign was uncovered again — missing the “B”and its neon — and bent a bit (during the panel removal process, hit by a truck?):

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One more rusty-crusty from Hot Springs:

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A “fancy” one from Royal, AR:

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Last one for the day from, finally, Oklahoma!  This one is in McAlester:

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I’ll have about three days worth of photos from Oklahoma coming up.  Then finish off this trip with a couple of posts from New Mexico.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Day 25: More Arkansas

So, two more days of Arkansas photos.  And then another four days of Oklahoma and New Mexico after that.  We’re in the home stretch!  I’m on target to wrap things up here and at my website by November 1.

This will be a quick post since I got a late start in the morning due to clouds and, then, the day was cut short by serious rain commencing around 4pm.

This sign with the giant shotgun cartridge on top is located in Stuttgart:

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A few signs from Pine Bluff.  This is the best I could do with this nice sign due to clouds & trees:

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For the “reshoot in sun” list:

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The sign below previously had neon and advertising for Irish Maid Do-Nuts:
https://www.rockcityeats.com/around-arkansas-irish-maid-donuts-in-pine-bluff/

At least the neon Irish Maid sign in Fort Smith still survives.

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These liquor store signs are in Rison. I don’t think I’ve seen a vaccum form Schlitz sign like this in the wild before:

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More liquor store signs — these in El Dorado:

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Another sign from El Dorado.  This place is closed and I would imagine that this modern sign will probably be removed when another tenant moves in:

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The last shot for the day from Magnolia at Wilson-Beardon Drugs.  This looks like either a refurbished or replica sign:

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I’ll be back this weekend with the final Arkansas batch.  More photos from today over at the Flickr stream:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Day 24: More Arkansas (Pt 3)

Let’s get back to Arkansas.  I’ve got a nice big batch of photos for you.

This place is in Clarksville:

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From Russellville:

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In Conway:

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Around 2015, this Shipley Do-Nuts in North Little Rock was updated for Paul’s Donuts.  The sign is pretty tacky but at least it’s still there in spirt.  Here’s the “before” that I shot in 2008:

 

and the “after”:

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The building “before”:

and now with the peaked roof addition:

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The Koehler Bakery in North Little Rock is gone but the vitrolite facade remains:

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The “lesser” sign at Argenta Drug in North Little Rock:

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A couple more sign from North Little Rock:

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From Little Rock — the Village Theatre sign remains but the great dome theatre building was demolished in 2015:

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GolfWorld in Little Rock:

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Two more signs from Little Rock — Torrence Flowers:

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The Flying Fish sign is modern but it’s been there since at least 2007:

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Let’s wrap up with this place from West Helena:

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Two more days of Arkansas to go.  Another post next weekend.  In the meantime, don’t forget the prettier signs & interesting buildings from this day and earlier in the trip are over here at Flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Day 23: Arkansas (Part 2)

This day I covered ground between Harrison and Russellville.  I’ve got a nice big batch of sign photos for you.  Let’s start with a couple of Ozark-themed signs from Eureka Springs:

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If you’re having trouble making out the plastic characters on the far left, it shows a woman carrying a chicken and the hillbilly guy either passed out or snoozing on the ground.  I shot the building sign in 2010 which shows the people more clearly:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/roadsidenut/4499200368/

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A couple more from Eureka Springs:

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This one is in Bentonville:

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From Gentry:

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This one is installed above the Antique Mall in Springdale:

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This one in Springdale has gotta be modern:

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This razorback hog sign is in Alma.  The University of Arkansas’ mascot is extremely popular all over the state.

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This little strip mall sign is in Van Buren:

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These last three are from Fort Smith:

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This one appears to be modern:

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The Burns Carousel of Flowers store is gone but this sign remains.  Only a tiny speck of neon left.  I’m hoping the rust keeps the collectors at bay:

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Back next weekend with another batch from the “Natural State.”

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

 

Day 22: Arkansas (Pt. 1 of 5)

All of the Mississippi and Memphis, TN stuff is up at my website now.  Moving on to the Arkansas photos.  I usually shoot around 150-200 photos per day.  As always, this blog only shares about a dozen photos from each day and another dozen, different photos are posted at my Flickr account.

Let’s get started of in Leachville with this plastic mortar & pestle sign:

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This sweet star is on the side of the House of Prayer building in Paragould:

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This Grill District sign in Walnut Ridge appears to be modern:

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In Alicia — the Highway Liquor store building has been demolished but this sign remains:

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This busted Coca-Cola sign is in Hoxie:

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This modern-looking arrow sign is located at the Hartsell’s Liquor Store in Swifton.  I posted this video showing the bulbs’ chasing pattern at Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/p/By78Fg5lzxr/

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This sign is located in Clinton.  It appears to be a reworked vintage sign:

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The remaining GE panel and nifty bulb arrow sign is in Clinton, AR:

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This one is in Cave City.  The neon tubing holes have been patched:

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This one is in Mountain Home:

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The last one for the day as the “golden hour” was starting in Harrison:

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More Arkansas soon.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

 

 

Day 21: Mostly Memphis & on to Arkansas

Let’s get back to Memphis.  I’ve got lots of photos for you.  Don’t forget that the subjects that I post here are the “lesser” quality (funkier & far gone signs, etc.).  The sampling of nicer subjects is over at my Flickr account here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

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I have seen three or four of these repurposed liquor store signs.  I’m assuming there were more of them originally.  The clock on one side and temp on the other panel must have revolved:

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This one is now missing the spinning disk:

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Another liquor store sign:

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A barber shop sign:

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A close up of the hand with torch:

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I believe this stack of records sign at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music is from around 2003.  The building and marquee were built to simulate the Capitol Theatre which was built on the site in 1931 and demolished in 1989.

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A couple of old signs among the retro modern “stuff” on Beale St.  This actually looks like a replica that’s not aging well.

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This one is probably vintage but really suffering.  I never thought I’d say it, but I think this is a candidate for creating a replica:

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Probably a replica — pristine panels but it must have been done well since the panels have looked this nice since at least 2007.  This cleaners is closed so this sign could disappear (or be repurposed) at any time.

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This place has been around since 1918.  The sign and moderne-ish window trim look 1950s:

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A couple of modern signs — the Flying Fish seafood restaurant.  Yes, airplane wings on the catfish:

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I love any signs with flames.  And dogs.

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An increasingly rare nice plastic sign:

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Raised metal letters:

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I believe this is the only wrecking ball sign I’ve ever seen:

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Moving on to Arkansas.  This star in Trumann is a mystery.  The building was vacant for a long time.  And this is a recent slapdash readerboard.  My guess is that this was a Big Star grocery store like the one in Bolivar, AR.

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Yes, this sign/location was originally part of the Seattle-based Elephant Car Wash chain.  Then, there’s the sign in Rancho Mirage, CA.  I don’t know when or why this one in Jonesboro, AR was built.  Maybe a cousin of the owner or… don’t know.  And this one has been closed for a few years and the trees are moving in.

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A couple more from Jonesboro.  This gorgeous tile floor entrance was originally created for the Eagle Clothes store:

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The now closed Massanelli Cleaners sign:

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Last two photos for this post — both in Blytheville:

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Back with more posts soon enough,

dj & the dogs