Day 34: Visual Feast in Southern Illinois

Well, I call it Southern Illinois even though some of this stuff is technically Central Illinois.  That’s just how my atlas splits the state (half and half) so I’m going with it.

Anyhow.  What a day!  Absolutely perfect weather (sunny but much cooler), well-behaved “children” (for the most part), and tons of great photos.  It was hard to choose which ones to use for here and Flickr.  I should definitely be able to wrap up the Illinois stuff and move on to Indiana tomorrow.  Hopefully, it’ll be just as nice and productive then/there.  Only two more days to shoot — panic mode!

On with the show since it’s late and I have so much to post.  The day started out in West Frankfort.  I’d made note to shoot this cute cottage gas station first thing before I left town.  Only to discover this Vess soda machine next to it.  I was still too bleary (lack of sleep) and delighted (never seen a Vess machine before) to check to see whether it was still operational.  50 cents seems cheap for a canned drink — but maybe.

From Johnston City.  Uh-oh, I’m not liking the look of that crumbling base:

I went to Harrisburg to shoot two signs.  Turned out, they were both gone.  No good signs left there now.  At least this is firmly in place so it won’t be sold off or destroyed.  Let’s hope it’s landmarked in some way:

I believe this sign is modern — and part of a chain — but still fun.  Even by day, the neon was on:  barrel outlined in green, text in red:

In DuQuoin, I was humored by this bit of politically incorrect stereotyping:

Only to find out as I got further into town that this Indian is actually the symbol/mascot of the local high school.  Wow, kind of shocking, no?

Another Indian in DuQuoin at Atkins Custom Floors.  A different style since he’s the advertising icon for Mohawk Carpets:

One more place in DuQuoin.  I asked the guy working inside about these red ballies.  He had no idea.  Said the building was a Ford dealership a long, long time ago.  Is it possible that these were globes?  No sign of such detail though.

From Ashley:

This Arch tribute / camping sign is in Mount Vernon.  About an hour and a half from St. Louis but a straight shot:

This is what my rear view mirror view is at least half the day:

At the Restwell Motel in Salem, there were two of these neat neon marker signs.  I’ve not seen these before:

Lots of fun stuff from Centralia (my first time there):

at the Sports Bar & Golf Gallery:

Truth in advertising (still):

One more from Centralia:

And lastly, from Shelbyville.  A gorgeous showroom at Leach Wilson Chevrolet (poke at Flickr if you’re interested) and behind it, three of these nice OK signs (Chevy’s used car seal-of-approval):

9 thoughts on “Day 34: Visual Feast in Southern Illinois

  1. Cool billboard, be great if they restored that because the motel itself looks to be kept up pretty well. The rear view image is too funny.

    • Oh, but I like the billboard just the way it is!

      Glad you like Mr. Ears. When I went to meet him the first time (before adopting him), that’s the first thing I said. “Wow — he has some ears, doesn’t he?!”. And that’s how he came to be named after the satellite signs that I love so much. Not to mention his wide orbit — and the translation (Sputnik = fellow traveler).

  2. Dear DJ,
    I understand you aren’t going to MSI. I only wanted you to look at the website for the “doll house”.700 participants & $500,000 in 1935 money impresses me. Oh, well.Sigh. Hey, the rearview shot of Sputnik: I thought, “I shall call him Mr. Spock”. Very cute .
    INDEED: Neon drips rule.
    Motel Centralia sign: The FENCE makes the shot for me. Adds a lot, me thinks.
    Giant Coke bottle: If only it were Diet Coke, you could strap it onto Sparkle for the trip home!
    Lots of cool motel signs in IL. Plus 2 Big Johns.Think that the groceries in those bags is probably past their expiration dates.
    Grand Theatre: Nice. Did you shoot any close ups of the relief (face) under the window? Kind of hard even at original size to see. Looks interesting.
    The neon barrel sign: What business? What do they sell? Pickles?Monkeys?

    Well, after following your exploits for quite awile, I’m glad to have decided to comment & bug you this trip. You and DEE done good again, sister.
    Think about having that third shake. 3x the charm, right?But I don’t know how one of them wasn’t chocolate. Just don’t get it.
    Pet the beasts for me and have a great last photo day(s).

    • Yes, the Centralia Motel’s white picket fence is a super nice touch. As I recall, maybe not so reliable at this point in the journey, the fence was just for this sign — don’t remember it going around, say, a house next door.

      Yes, much Diet Coke, coffee, gum, loud music starting tonight.

      Grand Theatre: yes, took some details. The face is nicely detailed. Will make you wait. Or probably at Flickr already. I’m HOPING to get this trip and those smaller trips up by Spring. Maybe too optimistic.

      There’s another Big John in Carmi that I didn’t reshoot on this trip. Had to cut some corners.

      Barrel — oops should have said. It’s a “Liquor Barrel” store.

      Chocolate shakes are soooo boring. How different could it be from the ones you’ve had all your life? That’s why I went for peach, etc. I did have some Zesto ice cream yesterday. And fudge from the Big Peach. I’m not cutting many corners on sugar!

  3. Very nice blog, i love all the signs. I am the owner from Leach-Wilson Chevrolet and wondered if you could let me know where in your flickr photos are the ones of our dealershio. You have taken some great phots and have seen some great stuff!! Thank you for you effrots and for lettinge me know where I can find our pictures!

    • I just posted one of the “OK” signs at my post:
      I took photos of the showroom which I’ll post to my website eventually. Since they were taken in the late afternoon, they had some shadows. I’ve noted to return at some point to reshoot. Took probably 5,000 photos on this trip — am way backed up — so those photos probably won’t go up for a few months.
      It looks like there’s only one at Flickr that I find:
      Shelbyville, IL Chevrolet dealer

      • Thank you for the reply. That is siding on this part and am working to get back as much original as I can. My great grandfather built the building and finished in 1936. Some of the sheet metal on the inside of the building came from the worlds fair is what my grandfather and father have told me. Mahny folks at GM think we need to upgrade but have a hard time giving up this building just appreicate what I have. I noticed you said something about national register, how do I check this? Thank you again I have really enjoyed your wholes blog. Bill Leach

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