But be forewarned, most of this is bad news. Continuing with my annual winter project and updates to my website from clicking on those [map] links in each description. Lots and lots of signs are now missing. We can hope that some went to collectors at least or museums (less likely). However, we must face the truth that most were scrapped.
First item of business: you may notice that this blog has a new easy to type and remember url: https://roadarch.blog/ Not to worry, the old longer url (roadsidenut.wordpress.com) will redirect forever to this new one. I was forced to upgrade at WordPress and figured it was time to jive the name with the website‘s name (www.RoadsideArchitecture.com has had the double, shortie url of http://www.roadarch.com for years now). Yes, blogs and websites are very different things (chronological posts vs. super organized structures). And my focus has always been on the highly organized website (for nearly 20 years now!).
All of the “before” photos in this post were taken by me with the bad news “afters” courtesy of Google Street View. Now then, plowing through alphabetically, starting with the heartbreaks in ARIZONA. Luckily, only a couple for that state.
This beauty in Safford, AZ was removed in 2018 and replaced with a boring plastic box last year:
And in Mesa, AZ, the neon palm trees are now missing from this sign and the plastic panels were replaced:
Moving on to about a dozen recent losses in CALIFORNIA. This one is only half bad news. While the neon is gone, the fish has been nicely repainted. Here’s the Bucksport Sporting Goods sign in Eureka, CA in 2016:
And now (that guy painting the building gives you a sense of scale):
This sign in Martinez, CA:
has been adapted for this Greek restaurant. Okay, so it’s still neon. And yes, there was some bad rust at the bottom of the panels. But these Florsheim Shoe signs which used to be all over the country are super rare now. In this case, I would much rather have seen it removed and handed to a happy collector while a new sign put up in its place.
The Balboa Pharmacy sign in Newport Beach, CA is gone now. It got some paint in 2009 but I think that only somewhat concealed the rust that was going on. This photo is from 2013. In 2017, the sign crashed to the ground and was a mangled mess. It was destroyed.
The Peking Restaurant in Red Bluff, CA closed around 2016. By last year, there was a Mexican restaurant in the building and this sign was gone:
I don’t believe there are any Shakey’s Pizza Parlor signs with neon left. The Riverside, CA location closed in 2016 and this sign is gone now:
I believe all of the the older locations that had neon signs now have backlit plastic letters. In 2017, the El Monte and Monterey Park signs both succumbed to this. Here are the “befores”:
And now, they both look like this:
The Del Rosa Lanes in San Bernardino, CA closed in 2016. The sign hung in there after that:
Sometime within the last year or so, it was adapted for a medical center. As you can see, they spared no expense on nice typography:
The Washoe Motel in South Lake Tahoe, CA is still in business but this sign is not there at the 2018 Google Map. The poles are still there so we can hope that it’s just at the sign shop getting repaired:
This sign in Bellflower, CA looked like this:
Then, in 2016, the neon was removed and the sign was repainted to look like this:
The Townhouse Motel sign in Weed, CA is gone. The motel replaced it with a rectangular plastic box sign. I’ll spare you the “after”. It’s ugly as hell.
The Townhouse bar in Sacramento has been through a lot. Here’s the original look – my photo from 2008:
Then recreated in 2013 for the Starlite:
And then last year or so, painted black & the martini is gone as the Holy Diver:
This sign in San Francisco:
was covered up with new panels around 2017 for a pediatrician sign. We can only hope that they didn’t use superglue or some crappy adhesive and that the bakery sign’s porcelain is safe underneath and can be resurrected one day:
This sign in Stockton, CA:
was stripped of neon and horribly disfigured for another liquor store about a year ago. It doesn’t get much worse than this, does it?
OK enough of that! Let me leave you with 3 bits of happy news for California.
This sign in North Hollywood had peeling paint for many years. It was completely restored last year:
In Vacaville, CA: a glass half-full surprise. Here’s a photo I took in 2014 of the U-Save Liquor sign. Peeling & rust but still delightful. Most of the U-Save locations’ signs have been replaced with backlit plastic in recent years. So, this was a hold-out:
Until 2016, when the neon was removed and the sign was repainted:
The neon tubing holes had apparently been patched and that seemed to be the end of the story. At least the rust way maybe under control. Then, last year, the sign was apparently dressed with LED rope. So, at least it’s lit at night, sort of, or until the rope breaks:
Lastly, this sign in Los Angeles crashed to the ground in 2017 and we were sure that was that. Never to be seen again. I even called them on the phone and they didn’t think it would be back:
But then, sometime last year, it reappeared. Apparently, a mostly faithful reproduction with the neon on top (the text on the panels is a little disappointing but hey…):
This is a ridiculously huge post so I’ll cut it off here. I have another one nearly ready to go tonight.
dj & the dogs