This was a big day of shooting with well over 100 stops. Let’s start out in Alexandria. The Hotel Bentley was built from 1907-1908. I don’t know when the sign was built but the design is late 1940s. However, to be persnickety, I think the one that’s there now is a replica. This undated postcard shows the same style sign but looks to be white with dark letters. True, it might have been artistic liberty (postcard illustrators were not worried too much about accuracy). As you probably know, most very old hotels changed their names from Hotel X to X Hotel at some point. Or sometimes used the two interchangeably.
I’m always shocked to see that the Happy Trails Lounge sign is still there. I don’t know if that was the original name. Looks like there was a cocktail glass in the middle of that black paint. But that might not be the original layer of paint.
The Weiss & Goldring’s men’s store sign was originally located downtown (yes, Desoto & 3rd Sts. as shown at the bottom). It was then moved with the store when they moved to this mall location:
Moving on to Shreveport. Mall St. Vincent opened in 1976. Like many malls around the country, the party is over. Sears left last year and it looks like the smaller shops are barely getting by. Anyhow. Pretty letters on this sign:
From Haughton — “funky funky but chic”:
On to Bossier City for awhile. These two signs are probably not that old but still worthy of sharing. One pole sign, one building sign:
Inside the Holiday Lanes: the undulating mid-century roof is visible from the interior as well. Although there are lots of flashy graphic scoreboards and such, I’m glad for these giant pins. I was also happy to see the giant place packed with people. A ceiling “fixture”:
And these cool guys:
A former gas station, then later this bar (now closed):
I’ve got nothing but my imagination (not a damned thing on-line) but I would imagine the letters had neon originally and there must have been plastic balls or something on the tips of the poles. I wouldn’t be surprised if this sign was designed by Warren Milks (more about him later). he liked offset letters and poles quite a lot.
According to the desk person at Party Central, this sign was installed originally installed at Casino Magic in the late 1990s. The casino closed in 2002 and the sign found its way here sometime after that:
OK — so who is Warren Milks? Well, he’s the guy that designed and produced about 234 Roto-Spheres — those crazy, giant, spinning neon “sputniks”. The history and all the survivors at my website here:
If you’ve got a few minutes, you won’t want to miss these two little videos that I put together with the Super 8 movies that Warren shot and loaned to me. Bossier City was “mini Las Vegas” at the time with casinos and booming businesses. Warren built all the “nice” signs in town. All of this footage was shot in Bossier:
The sign on the left advertised for his sign shop “NESCO” on Texas Avenue. If you study the videos closely, you’ll see a Turn-Star above the “NESCO” panel lit in neon. The building on the right wasn’t there back in the 1960s:
Just to the right of that is what was the sign shop. The big open door is the bigger part of the shop where his employees (two or three) worked on the larger signs. The smaller door and window led to the office and smaller shop.
The second video starts off with the the super impressive Rovana Restaurant sign shown below (although now not as impressive without the hanging and moving letters). Warren’s shop and sign are visible in the distance under the steel sign:
A couple more signs to close out this post. The Shotz Lounge has these nice arrows above a boring plastic box panel. Each arrow would have had a neon outline and I would assume that they flashed, maybe even sequentially:
Last one — from Shreveport. Plastic signs don’t get no respect and this is certainly a nice one. Sign tag at the bottom is for Gulf Industries. This is an example of a vacuum form sign. A sheet of plastic was laid on top of a mold and a vacuum pulled the plastic over the mold. Then the panels were painted. Much cooler than the flat panels typically produced today.
That’s a wrap. I have a lot of photos to prep and add to my website. I’ll be back a a few days with more goodies from Louisiana and Mississippi. And… lots more “nicer” signs & stuff uploaded from Day 15 at Flickr earlier today:
dj & the dogs