Day 20: Dallas to Fort Worth

Lordie — twenty days at this — no wonder I’m so tired!  I might take my first “night off” on Saturday night just to drive to get me properly set up to start on Oklahoma on Sunday.  We’ll have to see where I end up by then.  I made some good progress today and should be able to wrap up Fort Worth in the morning and move westward.  Today, I started on Pack #5 (of a total of 6 for TX) so I might be able to get that one done in the next two days.  I think #6 is mostly Western TX which will have to wait until next year.

The first four hours or so were grey skies.  I can’t complain I guess after about 4 gloriously sunny days.  But still, lots of notes-to-self on my lists today “reshoot in sun”.  I usually don’t include the duddy ones here or at Flickr so you don’t really get to see the painfully colorless stuff.

I found streams & puddles here and there for the dogs.  At one point, the noses were frantically in the air and I had no idea where the water was.  But I know that look and so I followed the directions the noses were pointing and sure enough they led me to a great river behind all the touristy crap of the Fort Worth stockyards.  So the dogs got cooled off and some good running in at the end of the day.  I always feel good about that after they’ve toughed it out with me in the 85+ temps in the van all day.

Tons of photos to post — feeling pretty wasted — so… let’s start with a Dallas discovery this morning.  This little place caught my eye and I wondered — could it be a Valentine diner?  Seemed about the right size and the pylon about right.

Went inside — and sure enough — no stools or counter — but the original cabinetry:

and the give-away — the money box by the door (painted over a number of times here).  The KSHS website describes it better than I can:  “a small wall safe located just inside the door…. Operators would put a percentage of each day’s profits in the wall safe, and a Valentine representative would make regular rounds, removing the payment from each diner on the route. Wall safes were phased out on new models by around 1960. ”

This one is not on the KSHS list — but this might help you scout some out in your neck of the woods (or travels):

In Irving — this building was vacant so I doubt this sign will be around much longer.  Too busy of an area with fast food joints, etc. all over for it to linger like some signs do:

There are loads of signs & a great theatre to shoot in Grand Prairie.  You don’t want to miss Theo’s Drive-in or the Uptown Theatre or the Party Times/Ritz signs.  The Tradewinds, the BC Furniture signs, etc.  I’ve posted a number of them at my site & Flickr — so I’ll include some that I haven’t shot before:

Maybe just a couple from the Ritz/Party Times place:

A couple more from Grand Prairie.  Very nice hand-painted sign for a tire shop:

And just a reminder — if you haven’t filed your taxes yet…  I have a tradition of shooting one of those dancing Liberty Tax costumed people every spring during these trips.  So here’s a little something different.  The Statue of Liberty is one of those inflatables:

Moving on to Arlington.  This sign was saved from a car dealership at is now installed in Vandergriff Park:

Here’s a vintage photo of the place & sign from the nearby plaque.  It’s too bad they didn’t save the ring around the sign — really needs that.  The building is gone:

Haltom City — lots of great stuff:

The jaggedy glass around the pylon must have been neon arrows:

A two-fer — neat arrow, neat canopy.  Never seen any others like these:

I’ve never seen a cruller-style donut sign before either:

And finally from Fort Worth.  This sign was probably always for a used car dealership — but the text and color surely not original:

This one from downtown — the store is vacant which means this sign will probably disappear soon.  It looks like a 1950s sign that tried to imitate 1930s sort of Art Deco flourishes:

A couple from the Fort Worth Stockyards — old ghost signs…

… right next to a nicely done modern mural — which could be an enhanced version of an older ad — don’t know & no energy to do the research right now.  I do know that the Maverick store is still there:

This one’s gotta be new, right?  I’m losing all ability to tell anymore with so many fakes & re-dos on this trip.  But it’s a charmer either way — and an interesting method of attachment to the building:

Last one — a Fort Worth mystery.  I asked the girl at the Smith Tree Service & Garden Center — but she’d only been working there a few days & didn’t know the story of the plane.  Fort Worthians, can you explain this?  I’ve read that there was a gas station here at some point — but don’t know if that was the original site occupant or if it had anything at all to do with the plane:

Just a couple quickie reminders for those of you that are newbies to this blog.  All the photos are “clickable” (when you click on them, you get a bigger version).  And if you’re ever trying to find something again, just about all of these photos are posted to the roadsidenut Flickr account.  So you can search for things with key words there and then click on the link in the caption to find the associated blog post:

Jiffy Drive-in

I usually post the photos to that Flickr account in the morning or sometimes the next day — so it’s slightly behind the actual blog post.

6 thoughts on “Day 20: Dallas to Fort Worth

  1. DJ,
    Who knew Texas had so many impressive & colorful signs? Just a miracle of good taste on their part that they are still around.

    Ah ha. I see that you DO BELIEVE you’ll have visitors from The Guv’ment waiting for ya! Serves you right. The spy satellites probably are tracking Sparkle as we speak. A fleet of black SUVs probably invading Park Slope now as well. Just be sure not to shoot , ah, PHOTOGRAPH them.

    Fix would be a good driver, yes.

    RE: Babe’s Chicken Dinner House
    It certainly is great. But DJ sez: “The lasso is animated — and it’s a stunner! ” You tease us with that, but… NO VIDEO? Awww.

    Plaza Theatre: Nice looking with tower (& BALLIE!), plus glass blocks, too.

    OK, Sis. Hoping you & the kids a great & productive Friday.

    • It’s a crappy video here — but you get the idea:

      The Navajo Courts sign on the right appears to a new sign. I think it might have been inspired by this vintage sign in Vegas:

      Texas has lots of EVERYthing — because it’s just plain huge and has LOTs of cities.

  2. glad to know I’m not the only one who has trouble figuring out ‘reproductions’ of vintage signs. Some are even ‘distressed’ to make the detection trickier!


    • Yes, in 10 years or so, as these shoddily made retro signs age, it’s going to be real tricky to determine age. I’m usually pretty good at it — font styles & other clues — but sometimes, I’m just stumped. And defining age is also a really grey area sometimes. When a sign is stripped to the metal and done completely over, is it still really “vintage”?

  3. Here’s a snap I took two years ago of the Ft. Worth airplane station. At the time, there were Mobile gas pumps out front and the place was a kitschy little hair salon- Jake’s White Trash & Pink Lemonade Coiffure.

    The last time I went by, the building was vacant and the salon signage was gone- late last summer or so. The purple paint and pop up flower nursery are new this season.

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