I thought we might make it through St. Louis and be halfway through Missouri by now. But some very nice people got in the way. You’ll see. Tomorrow, we gotta lay down tracks!
Started out with some stops in Illinois. Oh, perfect weather all day — and HOT. 90s. Gave in and got a chance to test out Sparkle’s A/C in the afternoon. So far so good!
Firstly, a couple shots of the kids in Livingston, IL at the Pink Elephant Antiques Mall. I had to revisit since they have repainted the Futuro green recently. If you’re not familiar with Futuros, here’s my page:
From Collinsville, IL:
Also, Collinsville — sorry to report that not only has their swell a-frame building been demolished — but the sign has been reduced to being displayed in the window like this at their new location.
Here’s a shot of the previous location when the sign was installed on the pole:
When in Collinsville, I always stop to shoot the Eck gas station. Bob Eck, who I’m guessing is well past 60, wanted to take some photos of me but had never used a digital camera before. I showed him how and grabbed a couple dogs. Unfortunately, I had goofy or angry looking expressions in all the the shots taken in the sun. So this will have to do.
Moving on to East St. Louis. For the rusty crusty fans out there — this should provide a savory alternative to all those overly sweet neon signs I’ve been posting. I can’t make out the wording but it looks like there’s a crown in the circle. No building there at all now.
And into St. Louis we go. A random Art Deco detail:
Social visit #1: Ars Populi gallery exhhibit ” Art of the Sign”
Bill Christman, a sign designer himself, is “hosting” this assemblage of signs from various collectors. I don’t know how much longer the show will run — but if you live near St. Louis or are planning a trip there soon — I highly recommend checking it out.
Some stuff from there — including all the incredible neon signs, there’s this piece which features moving vehicles. It was displayed in a window in Waltham, MA — and local businesses would pay for the little adverts inside:
Bill Christman has collected a lot of signs, statues, and other stuff that decorate his bistro (next to the gallery) and his work space (here):
More of his collection — this Pizza Inn statue:
Social visit #2: up to St. Charles, MO (just outside St. Louis) to meet Dave Hutson, owner of Neon Time. He restores signs and produces new ones as well. Many of the signs he has collected are appearing in the “Art of the Sign” exhibit (see above). But there are still some other gems in his shop:
Social Visit #3 — Greg Rhomberg who has a huge sign collection – in the hundreds – just a sampling here:
This one was a heartbreaker since I just shot this sign less than two years ago. The owners were going to trash the sign — luckily, Rhomberg got there in time:
Oh, and while we’re on a sad note, Rhomberg told me that Saint Louis University started tearing down the Pevely Dairy Building today. Bye-bye to the big brick building, the scaffold sign, and the little milk bottles.
But it’s not just signs that Rhomberg collects — he’s got toys, vehicles, pinball machines, fire trucks, travel trailers, on and on. Warehouses full of stuff, all tidy and organized. He had plans to open his own museum at one point — but has no ambition for it now. He does lend stuff out to other museums.
So, although it set my schedule back at least half a day — and it was painful to be inside instead of outside shooting and driving — it was well worth the time hooking up with these guys. Next trip to town, I’ll have to set aside an extra day to check up on their doings.
Now, nearly 1am and I’ve got sleeping to do.