Day 20: Orlando Area

This cheerful sign has been located in Cape Canaveral since 2018 at what is now a combo winery, U-Haul rental office, and, yes, a juice stand:

Arbetter’s Chili Dogs started back in Miami in 1959. It grew to a mini chain with other locations in Hialeah, North Miami, Tampa, and two locations in Cocoa. A Miami location and this one in Cocoa are still operating. This Cocoa location was actually built as a Beefy King around 1968 and this sign is a sad remnant. The plastic panels were blown out by hurricanes and have been vinyl fabric since at least 2007. The middle part of the crown was most likely broken off by flying debris:

The intact crown was still there in 2019 at Google Street View:

Beefy King was founded in Orlando in 1967 and started franchising the following year. There were 107 franchises with other Florida locations as well as Memphis, TN and the Bahamas. In the early 1970s, the franchises were sold to another company which closed all of them. That’s when this Arbetter’s in Cocoa probably opened. Here’s what the Beefy King signs looked like (grand opening ad from 1967). This surviving Orlando sign looks the same, with recently replicated plastic panels. The crown detail on top was lost to a hurricane many years ago.

This Sandman Motel sign is in Mims. Surely, it had neon and probably porcelain panels. Still, there something charming about the hand-painted letters and rust. In 2004, the top half of the sign was blown off by hurricane winds. It was either found or replaced I don’t know if this was the original name. I can’t find any vintage postcards with this design or name:

This Sherwin-Williams sign is in Titusville. The Titusville Hardware Store was located there from 1913 until the early 1980s. I don’t know if this 1950s-looking sign was there then or added when the building was restored. I suspect the latter:

This surfboard-eating shark gets your attention in Cocoa Beach. For more shark statues, there’s a page at my website here:

https://www.roadarch.com/critters/sharks.html

Hot Dog Heaven is located in Orlando. A giant fork which extends all the way to the ground serves as the sign pole:

The Orlando Milkhouse restaurant and bar opened earlier this year with this giant milk carton sign. It is located in the Milk District (named after the T.G. Lee Dairy) in Orlando:

The Plaza Theatre in Orlando features this rooftop sign:

This former Howard Johnson restaurant in Titusville from 1963 may not survive much longer. The motel was demolished in 2014 and this building is vacant:

This sign is at Wade’s Motor Inn in Titusville. The motel was built in 1961 and this sign looks to be from then. I can’t find any vintage photos to indiciate whether those channel letters are original or later additions. Some modern-day LED accents have been added to the squares:

Last photo for this post is this long-vacant, Polynesian-style building in Titusville which was built for Florida Wonderland in 1959. It operated until 1971 and survived a couple more years as Tropical Wonderland. This particular building housed the reptile house. The tourist attraction had themed areas like an Indian Village, a Wild West, a petting zoo and lots of snakes, birds, and monkeys. For more info and photos, see this FB page:

https://www.facebook.com/floridawonderland/

I’ve got about three more days/posts for Florida before we move on to Georgia for about a week.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

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