It’s All About Fresno

Hello there — time for a little weekend getaway.  Today, it was all about Fresno — a treasure trove of neon signs and other stuff.  I left after work on Friday night and got the dogs a good run in at the doggie beach in Santa Barbara.  I managed to get some neon shots en route to Fresno.

[Quick tip or reminder — clicking on the photos gives you a larger view.]

I always wanted to see this one at night in Lompoc.  Unfortunately, the rice bowl sign on top is barely lit:




But more unfortunately, there was not a soul in the place on a Friday night.  The owner said there’s a new Applebee’s nearby and everybody’s going there.   I felt compelled to get something just to throw a few dollars their way.  But I’m the only person I know that hates Chinese food.  So, if you’re in Lompoc or anywhere near — do what I didn’t do & give this place some business.  The restaurant opened in 1936… but for how much longer?  Check out the lovely interior:

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I’ve got a ton of photos ready for this blog — so I’ll keep the chitchat minimal.  It’s after midnight anyway & tomorrow will be another big sprint from sunup to sundown.  Work on Monday…

Today’s shooting began in Lemoore.  The former A&W Teen Burger at the Forty One Cafe has always had funky feet — but now he is really ominously listing to the side:



From Hanford:



From Caruthers:



From Selma:



And now, on to Fresno.  I have no idea how that arrow got crunched like that.  Low flying plane?

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Sorry about the chain-link.  A real head-scratcher.  Why would someone build their house or office in this shape?



A couple from Fowler.  I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that this “Fowler-this-way” sign was restored recently.   That yellow arrow looks new but the blue porcelain enamel has enough dings that I’m convinced it’s old & must have been given a good scrubbing:



A lovely rusty crusty:



And back to Fresno.  Here’s a vintage postcard of the California Motel with this sign:

Now the place seems to be operating as some sort of correctional facility — with razor wire on top of the fence & guys playing basketball:



A couple from the Ayres Motel:

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So much to love here:



I saw two or three of these dancing sign-spinner guys today.  Mynah birds?  It must be unbelievably hot in that costume!



The last time I was in Fresno in 2008, this sign looked like this:



and today:  (ugh)



A pretty one from the Tower District — the store is still open:



Originally, the Leilani restaurant — a tiki place.  The building is still there but I’m sure no Polynesian flavor inside.  This palm tree sign had nice detail:
Later, this sign was painted black:

So, this is actually an improvement:



In 2008, this 1940s building was sadly neglected and vacant.  I have read that it was originally the administration building for the shopping center in which it is located — and that it was a women’s clothing store.  I don’t know in which order or which, if either, uses is true:


Anyway, I am glad to see it is now spruced up — and used as a storage facility office:



Signs, signs, everywhere there are signs in Fresno.  Wonderfully, redundant arrows:



Fun fonts:






This one was in Clovis — but there’s a similar sign in Fresno:


Fresno — still a beauty salon:



And since I usually end these Saturday night posts with some neon — here are a couple of shots from Fresno.  The Tower Theatre (a close-up of the sputnik at night and in motion over at my Flickr stream tonight:



And the Tokyo Garden:




I’ll be shooting lots of stuff tomorrow as I inch my way home.  I’ll try to get you the wrap-up blog post on Monday night or Tuesday.



Don’t forget to check out the “good stuff” from today that’s over at Flickr:

Most of the photos I post here at the blog are of rusty signs & funky buildings not “worthy” of my website — but stuff that deserves attention anyway.  What I post to the Flickr stream is the “fancier” highlights from the day.


19 thoughts on “It’s All About Fresno

  1. Once again you’re making me want to get on the road again, and I just got home! Simply beautiful stuff here DJS – I’m gonna see if I can get some Retro Roadmap Readers to start to patronize the Rice Bowl, it looks too cool to let just die! Thanks for the heads up.

    • The people were sooo nice at the Rice Bowl, too. I would’ve ordered my dogs some chop suey — but I don’t think that would be a good idea. The old downtown is pretty much dead — with all the chains north of town. A real shame. And this is the only vintage neon lit in town.

    • I don’t really think of it as a “time gone by” since, fortunately, these things are still all with us today. What I post to my blog is just a sampling of what’s at my website. You might enjoy poking around there for more photos and info:

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