Sign Updates (Part 3)

I’ve got another round of bad news from the next alphabetical chunk:  Indiana through New Jersey.  But first, a bit of good news.  Last blog post I mentioned the loss of the Balboa Pharmacy sign in Newport Beach, CA.  I called the store’s owner when I got a tip that the sign was back!  So, here’s the story.  Here’s the sign again from my 2013 photo:

baldrug-1

Yes, the sign was taken down in 2017.  Between windstorms, the City warned the shop owner that the sign was becoming precarious and that it needed to be removed.  The owner had to have it actually cut into pieces during the removal.  It didn’t actually fall.  But the owner had a sign shop  build an exact replica.  He’s working on getting the neon and bulbs lit again but it is up for now on the building  I’m dying to see it.  White Sail Realty has posted a photo of it.  I don’t see any tubing holes so I’m skeptical about neon being added:
https://deskgram.net/p/1870544260386896939_1112977506
Capture

 

Another update.  The Star Bakery sign in San Francisco in the last post is evidently gone-gone.  You may remember (or if you look back to that post) that it was covered with a pediatrician’s panels.  I’m told that the sign itself has been replaced now.  We can only hope that the Star Bakery sign was saved somewhere.

 

OK then — moving on to Indiana.   The Rihm’s Drive-in Liquors sign in Cambridge City, IN is still mostly intact (the bottle & neon but the original, corrugated middle panel has been replaced.  Here’s the previous look:

tryme

and here’s what it looks like now:

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The hanging sign and facade sign at the Victory Bar in South Bend, IN are gone now.  Here’s what will be missed:

 

Gone, too, are the Compton’s Hardware signs in Tipton, IN:

 

The Sam Wolf sign in Indianapolis has been defaced.  Here’s the “before”:

And the “after” from 2018 Google Maps.  Gosh, is that a sign shop guy removing the rest of the neon?

Capture

 

This Waffle House sign in Indianapolis (no, no relation to the big Waffle House chain)

looks like this now — uff:

Capture

 

Moving on to Kansas.   This prominent sign in downtown Junction City, KS is missing from the building now.  I looked and looked online and couldn’t find any news about the why.  Sure hoping it’s in the shop being restored but it seems unlikely:

 

Both of these signs in Larned, KS at different businesses are gone now:

 

This one in Overland Park, KS — yes, gone:

 

This sign in St. Francis, KS:

has been stripped of neon and turned into this mess:

Capture.JPG

 

This one in Tonganoxie, KS is gone now:

 

And this one in Wichita, KS — gone now:

 

Moving on to Kentucky.    This one in Hopkinsville, KY is gone now:

 

This one in Horse Cave, KY — yes, gone:

and this oldie in Maysville, KY — gone:

 

One bit of bad news for Massachusetts.  This sign in Auburn, MA:

is now crapped up with backlit plastic:

Capture.JPG

 

A few signs to report on in Michigan.   This one in Canton, MI is gone now:

 

The Red Lion signs in Grand Rapids, MI are gone now:

 

This sign in Detroit is gone:

 

Only one loss to report from Minnesota.   This rooftop sign in St. Paul is gone now:

 

A bunch of sign losses in Missouri.  This one in Belton, MO is gone:

 

This one in St. Joseph, MO is gone.  Probably small enough that a collector got it.  Ya hope:

 

In Kansas City, these Sam’s Bargain Town signs are gone:

 

These two signs in Kansas City are also gone:

 

There were two signs at this used car lot in Kansas City.  This one is gone now:

and this one:

has been repainted again.  Surely it must have been far nicer originally:

Capture

 

This one in St. Louis, MO is gone now:

 

Only one loss to report on from Mississippi.  This Holiday Inn inspired sign in Houston, MS is gone now:

 

And one loss from Montana.  This sign in Billings, MT:

has been reworked with plastic.  How painful is this?

Capture.JPG

 

One mention for North Carolina.  I’m worried about this one in Raleigh, NC.  Here’s what the sign looked like in 2005:

Yes, the neon was already missing but there were still nice details.  And this sign is HUGE.  In 2009, the sign was repainted which was good and bad.  The text panels were completely painted over and the tractor paint job was so-so:

In 2018, the sign was removed so that the building could be demolished and replaced (most likely with something much taller?).  Now, supposedly the sign will go back on top but you wonder.

 

One sign to report on from North Dakota.  This one in Grand Forks, ND is gone:

 

Moving on to Nebraska.   This sign in Bellevue, NE:

…has lost its neon and its corrugated plastic panel.  How awful looking is that backlit plastic?

Capture.JPG

 

This sign in Omaha, NE has been “saved” only sorta kinda.  The before shots:

And now submerged in the dirt in an upper level new apartment complex.  Yeah, up there where you really can’t even see it:

Capture.JPG

Here’s an article about the sign’s, um, “salvation” which shows the photo below of the sign stuck in the dirt next to the pool.  Why, why, why.  The poles were a big part of the sign’s design dammit:
https://www.omaha.com/money/iconic-louis-market-sign-has-a-new-home-at-recently/article_874912fa-0402-590f-912a-25c45ca64f02.html

Capture.JPG

 

And, closing out with New Jersey for this post.  You may have heard that the Marcal Building in Elmwood Park, NJ was destroyed in a fire last month and that this sign went with it:

 

This beauty in Irvington, NJ:

now looks like this:

Capture.JPG

 

And lastly, this beauty in Springfield, NJ:

is apparently gone.  Whatever’s under that vinyl covering looks far too rectangular to give me hope that the neon is there under it:

Capture.JPG

 

OK.  So, if you’re not sick to your stomach, then you’re not human and you have no appreciation for history or art.  BUT the good news is, out of all the signs I checked on so far, there are thousands that are still in place.  For now.  If you want to cheer yourself up, scoot on over to my website to see what’s still out there waiting for your visit and camera:

http://www.roadarch.com/signs/1.html
I probably have two or three more posts (and two or three more weeks) before this gruesome project is done.  Then, I’ll head off for some shooting and sharing and we’ll get back to focusing on the survivors.

dj & the itching-to-travel dogs

More Sign News (part 2)

Here’s what’s happened to vintage signs in Colorado, Iowa, Idaho, and Illinois in the past year or so.  Most of it is not good, as you probably know.

This nice plastic sign in Pueblo, CO disappeared between 2012 and last year.  I don’t know of any others like it on public display.   It was at Klamm’s Shell Bar & Cafe:

 

This sign in Trinidad, CO also disappeared between 2012 and 2018:

 

This fun sign in Atlantic, IA which combined football and bowling imagery was replaced recently with a dull, backlit box sign:

 

The Hy-Vee supermarket in Corydon, IA closed and this sign was removed:

 

The Rose Bowl in Mason City, IA closed after a fire in 2014.  The giant bowling pin is missing now:

 

This lovely sign in Caldwell, ID:

has been disfigured (neon removed, repainted):

Capture

 

This sign in Boise, ID:

Was “adapted” around 2017 for the Suds Tavern.  The neon and bulbs were removed and it was repainted.  The Google Map below is pretty bad — but Jess Jackson has a photo at Flickr that shows the sad transformation better:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/phydeaux460/36943985156/

Capture.JPG

 

This beauty in Pocatello, ID looked lovely at night as well — here’s Jess’ photo showing the sweet blue star:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/phydeaux460/4880953447/

Well, a barber shop moved into the space last year, removed the neon and painted the panels white.  I’ll spare you the photo.

 

 

Illinois has been really hard hit in the past five years or so.  Not so much in Chicago (which has lost dozens of incredible signs in the past dozen years) but everywhere else.  I was never sure if this sign in Benton, IL was vintage or modern but it was nice, regardless.  It even revolved.  But it disappeared sometime after 2015:

 

These mass-produced, plastic mortar & pestle signs are getting very rare now.  Only a handful left around the country.  This drug store in Collinsville, IL closed in 2017 and by 2018, the sign was gone:

 

This jewelry store in Vandalia, IL had been gone for at least 10 years but other stores occupied the space below.  By 2018, the building was vacant and the sign was gone:

 

This sign in Wilmington, IL was still there in 2016 — but both the building and sign were gone in 2018:

 

This motel in Eldorado, IL had been closed for years.  It was still there in 2013 but the buildings and sign were gone by last year:

 

The Sabre Room in Hickory Hills, IL closed in 2016.  This sign was part of the auction but it was still there in 2017.  So, I guess no one bought it and I fear the worst happened from the 2018 vacant lot at Google Maps:

 

This special sign in Highland, IL disappeared about a year ago and the motel is “for sale”:

 

This sign in Salem, IL is, you guessed it, gone now:

 

This sign in Seneca, IL hung there for decades despite the closed business.  Sometime about a year ago, the building and sign gave way for a new Dollar General store:

 

Another one gone — was in South Beloit, IL:

 

These two signs were in Rockford, IL:

The upper sign with that incredibly rare, original marbled paint on the porcelain had overlying, alternating neon reading “FOOD” over “DRUGS” which must have been so nice at night:

Both signs were removed by a Loves Park sign shop.  I never heard back from them but I’m hoping that the signs got good homes or are safe at the shop.  But, boy, they really were such icons in downtown Rockford.  They should never have left.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/rickm15/4602760546/

 

 

I’m really disappointed that I never got to shoot this sign in Mount Carmel, IL.  It looked just like this John Margolies photo from 1993 until recently:
http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/mrg.08427/

Capture

Well, here’s the plastic POS that’s there now — cross that one off your list:

Capture

 

Moving on to a few Chicago losses.  This store closed and the sign is gone now.  The big metal support structure on the roof is still there as a reminder of what was:

Maybe it’s because of the wind in Chicago or maybe it was just a common method used by sign shops there, you see blocks and blocks of these steel supports that held massive and incredible signs at one time.  Soooooo depressing.

 

This sign was still there in 2016 but gone now. Yep this one had a “Chicago hanger” (my term) type of support with the chains as well:

 

The store closed and this one was removed last year.  At least it is now in a private collection.  Uh huh, steel & chains again:

 

Here’s another one that I regret I never got to shoot and now it’s gone.  I’m assuming it was always an auto-related shop.  Check out that speedometer with what must have been an animated, ascending neon arrow pointing up at the mph.  What a joy that must have been at night!  A better photo than Google Maps here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/balinesecat/12311525765/

Capture

 

Let’s close with a bit of good news.  This photo of the Wayne’s Feed Store sign in Rockford, IL is from 2006:

I worry more about these homespun signs more than their fancier neon cousins.  But I’m happy to report that this one got a nice repaint around 2017.  Thank you Wayne’s!!

Capture

 

So, I’ve made it halfway through the “I”s (states beginning with “I”) in this winter project.  I’ll be back with another post in a couple weeks with more sign news.

Shoot ’em and save ’em whenever you can…

Take care,

dj & the dogs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time for Signs! (part 1 of many)

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:

farmers

 

And in Mesa, AZ, the neon palm trees are now missing from this sign and the plastic panels were replaced:

mholiday

mholiday2

 

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:

bucksport

And now (that guy painting the building gives you a sense of scale):

Capture

 

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.

Capture

 

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.

baldrug

 

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:

peking

 

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:

repshakeys

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”:

shakeysye

shakeys

And now, they both look like this:

Capture

 

The Del Rosa Lanes in San Bernardino, CA closed in 2016.  The sign hung in there after that:

delrosa

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:

Capture.JPG

 

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:

washoe

 

This sign in Bellflower, CA looked like this:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Then, in 2016, the neon was removed and the sign was repainted to look like this:

Capture

 

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.

townhouse

 

The Townhouse bar in Sacramento has been through a lot.  Here’s the original look – my photo from 2008:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Then recreated in 2013 for the Starlite:

And then last year or so, painted black & the martini is gone as the Holy Diver:

Capture.JPG

 

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:

Capture.JPG

 

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?

Capture.JPG

 

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:

Capture
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:

Capture.JPG

 

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…):

Capture.JPG

 

This is a ridiculously huge post so I’ll cut it off here.  I have another one nearly ready to go tonight.

Stay tuned…

dj & the dogs

 

 

 

 

Mid-Century Modern Updates

My winter website updating project is humming along.  I just finished combing the biggest section at my website (434 pages, more than 7,000 photos) and, naturally, have some bad news to report. The good news is far better though:   most of the buildings I’ve photographed & written about are still there.

Here are a couple dozen buildings that been demolished or disfigured in the past year or so.  The “before” photos are mine (from my website, roadarch.com) and the “afters” are courtesy of Google Street View.

Let’s start with this sweet little A-frame motel office in Williams, AZ:

budget

Remodeled last year into this:

capture

 

In Norwalk, CA, this building was built in 1962 as a Unimart.   It later housed a Two Guys and then, for many years, was used as an indoor swap meet.  The building was demolished last year:

nswap

 

I’ve long been a fab of these prefab structures and there are not many left at this point.  This one was in National City, CA and last housed a law office.   Before that, it was a medical office.  It was either dismantled or, more likely, demolished last year:

lawfirm

 

In Crestview, FL, the Okaloosa County Courthouse was demolished in 2017.  It was replaced with a larger (and uglier) courthouse:

okact

 

The Rigby Bowl in Rigby, ID is no more.  In 2017, the building began housing a gym and the mid-century features and sign were removed:

rigby

 

The First Federal Savings & Loan Bank in Kewanee, IL has been undergoing some unfortunate remodeling lately.  Here’s what it looked like from 1963 until recently:

nilbank

nilbank2

Around 2013, those colorful panels were replaced with clear (?) plastic (?) panels:

capture

And then, last year, it looks like the panels might be gone for good and a visible worker was repainting the exterior a gloomy black (we can only hope it’s primer and that the original panels will return):

Capture.JPG

I don’t know the status of the interior which has or had the same designs as the exterior panels:

nilbank4nilbank5

nilbank6

 

These barrel roofed buildings in Wichita, KS were demolished either last year or soon before that:

baroof

 

Here’s another prefab example from Paducah, KY that disappeared some in or between 2012 and 2018.  It last housed a barber shop.:

ktaylor

 

The Plantation Inn in Chicopee, MA was designed by Morris Lapidus as the Chicopee Motor Inn and built in 1958.  This round building with a zigzag crown was used as the motel’s conference center.  It was vacant for many years even while the motel was still operating.  In 2013, the property was sold and the buildings were demolished in 2016.  There’s now a big, unremarkable car dealership on the site now:

plantinn

 

Some good news:  this building in Redford, MI is still there.  Designed by Minoru Yamasaki as a YWCA chapter.  Still intact canopies, screens, and loads of glass:

ywca3

But when a school moved into the building in 2012, this sign disappeared.  I sure hope someone has it!

ywca2

 

This sweet little entrance canopy of Midland Park, NJ — removed in or around 2018:

commerce

 

The Western Reserve Hardware building in Madison, OH was demolished last year:

wreserve

 

The Executive Club Building in Rocky River, OH was demolished in 2016:

footsp2

dexec

 

The Anthony Rossi Studio in Canton, OH closed around 2017 and these screens have been removed:

arossi

arossi2

 

The Great National Life Insurance Company Building in Dallas, TX from 1963 was either demolished last year or will be this year:

dalsa

6500

 

The Hill Farms State Transportation Building in Madison, WI was demolished last year:

transportation

Google Street View even documents the tragedy:

capture

 

The Lincoln Community Bank (both the branch & the matchy-matchy drive-thru) in Merrill, WI was demolished in 2018 or slightly before that:
wautob2

wautob

 

I never got to shoot the Uptown Motel building in Rawlins, WY.  It was demolished in 2017.  It was designed by Richard Crowther.  Here’s a vintage postcard:

Capture.JPG
Google last shot it in 2009:
Capture.JPG

 

Let’s move on to some better news.   In Boulder, CO, the First Christian Church building has be transformed into a recreation for “The Province” student housing which now surrounds it.  The building had been vacant since 2010.  The exterior and stained glass remain intact.  This website shows some photos of the interior:
https://www.apartments.com/the-province-at-boulder-boulder-co/lezkegd/

boch2

 

The long vacant former Gilldorn Savings Bank in Pawnee, IL has been adapted for the Pawnee Police Department.  Unfortunately, the dirt mounds which were part of the original 1984 design have been removed and they’ve slapped some ugly siding on the building and messed with the windows but the original intent is still kinda sorta there:

pawnee

pawnee2

Google 2018 photo:

capture

 

The Paris Laundry & Dry Cleaners in Phoenix, AZ was built in 1957:

pparis

The cleaners closed in 2016.  In 2018, the building was adapted for Modern Manor, a vintage furniture store and cafe.  Google shows the work taking place.  I believe the original Paris sign panel is inside the store (repainted but no neon):

Capture.JPG

 

So, what shall we conclude from all this devastation?  Yes, mid-century modern design is still under-appreciated by the masses and under attack all across the country — big cities & tiny towns.  One-story buildings on valuable land are especially at high risk for condo development.  Many mcm buildings have asbestos problems and that adds another complication and expense when it comes to reusing vs. teardown.

What can you do about it? If you are into these buildings, you can help at the local or state level by working with others to make a list of significant examples.  Create a walking or driving tour.  Take lots of photos. Meet with local government officials when a building becomes vacant to help them understand why the building “matters”.  Set up a card table near the building & hand out flyers to the locals about getting the building landmarked or at least recognized locally. Let other folks know about the vacancy or threat of demolition via social media and see what plans you can come up with to help save these beauties.  There are lots of great mcm organizations out there that might be interested in helping publicize your effort or provide strategy advice.

If you need a cheering up after this blog post, you might want to explore the mid-century modern buildings section at my website here:

http://www.roadarch.com/modarch/main.html

 

My next blog post will be in a month or two once I’ve combed the last section for the year:  the Signs section.  Wouldn’t be great if I only found a few things to report back about?

And as for the next “real” roadtrip...  Once I’ve finished this “homework”, I’ll take a few little trips here in California.  One little trip up to the Bay Area in April will be to attend & speak at the 2nd (annual?) Neon Speaks event in San Francisco April 26-28.  If you love signs, you GOTTA go:
https://sfneon.org/

The Really Big Trip for the year will be in June — a month to wrap up some Texas stuff and then focus on Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Oklahoma.

Happy Trails,

dj & the dogs

 

 

 

 

Gas Station Updates

Lots of “news” while updating the Gas Station section at my website.  Let’s start with the bad news.  The photos were all taken by me.  The “Afters”/update photos are from Google Street View.

This former Shell station in San Bernardino was demolished in 2017.  I only know of one other original canopy like this left (Tracy, CA):

xpress

 

This former Beacon Oil station in Stoneham, MA housed the Dairy Dome for many years.  The building will be demolished soon for condos.

boic

Well, at least there are three other surviving examples of this design:
http://www.roadarch.com/gas/macan.html

 

 

This station in Janesville, WI was demolished recently:

janegas

janegas2

 

Let’s move on to the Before/Afters.

This Standard Oil station in Lawrenceburg, KY:

techt

was unfortunately remodeled (canopy removed) into this (photo GSV):

capture

 

 

This former station in Cambridge, MA when it was in use as a colorful cafe:

carberrys

It was remodeled in 2016 for a medical center (photo GSV) – the tower removed & altered:

capture

 

 

Let’s move on to some happy news:

This photo of this former Esso station in Lynchburg, VA is from 2011:

bwesso

began housing this swanky bar/restaurant in 2016 (photo GSV):

capture

 

This former Gulf station in Beckley, WV:

wvgulf

has housed Poncho & Lefty’s restaurant since 2016 (photo GSV):

Capture.JPG

 

This station in Minerva, OH:

ccedar

is now housing a brewery (photo GSV):

capture

 

This former Gulf station in Durham, NC was in rough shape for many years:

geer2

Since 2011, the building has housed the Geer Street Garden restaurant/bar (photo GSV):

Capture.JPG

 

This former Cities Service station in Darlington, WI was housing a farm supply store in 2012:

supplygas

Since 2017, the building has housed City Service Brewing:

Capture.JPG

 

This former Conoco station in Des Moines, IA was endangered and saved.  But then it sat up on blocks for many years:

dmgas

Finally, it has landed and is now used as a youth center (photo GSV):

capture

 

This former Phillips 66 station in 2017:

tp66

is now housing the Graze restaurant (photo GSV):

capture

 

This former Sinclair station in Denver, CO (yes, the P66 design was used by Sinclair in Colorado):

cclosin

is now housing a Snarf’s Sandwiches (photo GSV):

capture

 

This boarded up Enco station in Tallahassee, FL:

checkgas

was adapted for the Happy Motoring bar/restaurant last year (photo GSV):

capture

That wraps up these blog posts for awhile.  I’m now going to tackle the two biggest sections at my website (mid-century modern buildings and signs).  I’ll be back in a few weeks with an mcm post.

dj

Sign Updates

The last section at my website that I comb for updates with be the Signs section.  But in going through the SCA article section, I found lots of bad news pertaining to signs.  Kleenex handy?

The Blue Ribbon Shoe Service store and sign in Grants Pass, OR are gone:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 
This one in Memphis, TN — yep, the business and sign are now gone:

heartbreak

 

The Filling Station sign in Savanna, IL is gone.  Originally, a mechanical waving sign.  It was painted differently on both sides:

ilwaving

ilwaving2

 
This motorized sign in Willow Springs, MO was installed at the long-closed Hillbilly Store.  It was down to one arm in 2016.  The entire sign is gone now:

hillbilly

 
This Original Pancake House sign and location in Seattle were built around 2001.  A very nice animated neon sign though.  By last year, the building and sign were gone.

opd

opancake

 
The La Frite sign in Sherman Oaks, CA is also gone now:

frite

 
The Skate Inn in Tallahassee, FL closed in 2017.   And, yep, this sign is gone now:

skateinn
This Neo-Lectra in Elkhart, IN is gone, too:

neobird

 

This sign in Denton, TX is gone:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It was “updated” (ugh) with this crap:

https://www.reddit.com/r/unt/comments/9xg2cv/the_resemblance_of_this_and_my_dl_photo_has_me/

 

And last heartbreak for this post… the former Pee Wee Pizza sign in San Leandro, CA.  Here’s what the sign looked like in 2008:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Papa John’s moved in in 2010.  The text sign was adapted with their name on the top panel with new neon.  The chef’s neon was removed at that point:

pjohns
And then, by 2017, Papa John’s decided to completely ruin the sign.  Here’s how it looks now, from Google Street View.  All backlit plastic slapped onto the panels and the chef obliterated with the stupid phone number disk:

papajohns
OK — that’s enough for now.  I’m happy to say the devastation to the SCA signs section has been minor.  Super interesting signs await you here:

Society for Commercial Archeology Journal Article Companion Pages

I’ll be back tomorrow with the Gas Stations section (losses & classy transformations).

dj

 

Updates: Statues & Eateries

Let’s talk Statues.  One of my favorite subjects, if not yours.  Here are some wonderful things now missing from our public landscapes.

The seven-foot-tall Owl in Orem, UT was built in 2011 for a crepe-focused restaurant.   My photo from 2014.  Missing in 2018.  I hope he’s safe somewhere:

powl

 

The funky bucking bull with the taxidermy face in Kanab, UT is gone now, too.  So is the restaurant it was installed in front of:

bucking

 

The International Fiberglass “Giant Man” (IF’s name — nicknamed “Muffler Men” in the 1990s) in Compton, CA disappeared last year.  No one, not even Joel, knows where he is:

cmm

 

The Giant Waitress in Flint, MI which stood on top of the sign at the Colonial Coney Island & Family Restaurant from 1978-2014.  She was supposedly put in storage but no one was sure just where:

fcolonial2

In July, she resurfaced and was moved on to a private collection.  Better than being destroyed but too bad that she couldn’t a) be public and b) stay in Flint.  This article describes her restoration and other details:
https://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2018/07/big_girl_statue_that_overlooke.html

 

 

Moving on to the Eateries section at my website.  The Dairy Queen clown sign in Seelyville, IN is gone now.  It seemed inevitable since it appeared to be abandoned for decades.  It was still there in 2013 but gone by last year.  There are only three examples of these waving, mechanical DQ clown signs known to still exist.  Info at my website here:
http://www.roadarch.com/eateries/dq.html#Clown

sclown

 

 

This Maid-Rite Sandwich Shop in Macomb, IL had been abandoned since around 2007 and is gone now:

maidrite

 

 

The Chocolate Moose in Bloomington, IN moved to the boring building next door and this sweet A-frame walk-up was demolished in 2016:

chocolate

 

The Bohemian Cafe in Omaha, NE closed in 2016.  These signs were gone by 2018.  The colorful building remains vacant:

bohem

 

The East Park Restaurant in Ravenna, OH closed around 2014 and was demolished in 2016.  By last year, this sign and the long-closed drive-in canopy and building behind it were gone:

eastpark
This former Sambo’s sign in Willamina, OR was always a mystery.  There was never a Sambo’s there so it came from someplace else and got reworked.  There are no other Sambo’s or former Sambo’s signs that still have the yellow spike.  This sign disappeared last year:

ssign

 

Lots more signs in the next post.  But if the above subjects appeal to you, check out all the surviving statues & great restaurant buildings that still survive at my website:

Animal Statues

People Statues

Eateries

dj

Updates: Ship Buildings, Theatres, & Car Dealerships

This is the first of a flurry of blog posts from my winter site updating.  I’ll admit, most of it is bad news but I’ll share it anyway.  The good news is that, so far (I still have the two biggest sections to go), most things are still there.

Let’s start with Ship-Shaped Buildings.

The Dockside building in Morro Bay, CA was demolished in October.  It was built in the 1950s as a fish market.  Never a real boat — just built to look like one. Torn down for new development.  A few “pieces” were saved for the local museum.  Sigh.

dockside2

Some good news:  the Pirate Ship in Sparks, NV has finally reopened.  I sure thought this one was doomed!  It was built in 1971 as a fish & chips restaurant.  A few other restaurants after that and then closed seemingly for good in 2008.  My photo from 2014:

pirateship

But, by 2017, thank you Google Street View, reopened as Mariscos El Barco with colorful paint.  A bit crude but the building’s exterior is intact and the sign & crow’s nest are still there and that’s what matters:

capture

Moving on to Theatres.  The Eastwood Theatre in Toledo, OH.  It had fallen on hard times for decades and housed many a church.  My photo here is from 2011:

eastwood2

In 2014, the theatre was on the way to recovery and about to return to showing movies.  By this 2018 GSV photo, the theatre had been painted a garish red and the reader boarded had been replaced with a crappy digital display:

capture

The worst of it is the LED rope which replaced the neon — geez!

capture

The Paris Theatre has one of my fave signs in Portland, OR.  Originally, the Third Avenue Theatre, built in 1890.  The adapted sign still has the old school tin border beading.  I’m guessing the sign from the 1920s or so from the I-shape and border.  Gotta love those scary sign-repair ladders!   It became the Paris Theatre in the 1940s or so and the lettering was changed at the bottom.  I don’t know if the drama masks at the top were original (1920s-ish).  Quite possibly, since it was a vaudeville/live performance theatre, not movie theatre then. This photo is from 2015:

paris2

Around 2017, the theatre was renovated and the sign got new paint and neon:

capture

This photo shows a closeup of the sign [credit Robert K. Chin at Alamy.com] – nice job, right?:

capture

 
The Miller Theatre in Augusta, GA opened in 1938 and closed in 1983.  It looked worse and worse every year despite promises of restoration.  My photo from 2009:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

It seemed a goner but, in 2017, the theatre reopened!  The message board marquee, which was originally a manual letter readerboard, is now a scrolling digital graphic thing.  But the neon letters and Art Deco style elements on top of the marquee were kept and restored.  This photo from this article shows what it looks like now:
https://www.svconline.com/the-wire/l-acoustics-at-miller-theater

capture

Moving on to Car Dealerships.  This mid-century modern beauty with neon letters on roof and at left in Graham, TX 2011 is basically no more:

davidsonmo

Here’s what happened to it about a year ago:

Capture.JPG

This is a horrible trend all over the country:  brand dealerships, especially Ford and Chevrolet, are destroying historic, lovely buildings and replacing them with modern horror shows all in the name of consistent corporate branding.  Uff.  Well, at least the Davidson letters were slapped on the building next door:

capture

 
The Cutrubus Freeway Mazda in Ogden, UT was built in 1973.   My photo is from 2014.  The building was still there and the biz operating in 2015.  But by 2018, the beautiful, round zigzaggy building was gone.  Replaced with a drab shopping center.

mazda2

 
Another mcm loss:  this big ol’ A-frame showroom in Olympia, WA was built in 1964 for a Cadillac dealership.  In later years, it housed car rental businesses.  Vacant in 2015 and demolished in 2016:

avis3
BUT the good news is that there are still plenty of spectacular buildings still out there.  If you’re interested in any of these themes, here’s where you will find them at my website:

Ship Buildings

Ship Restaurants

Movie Theatres

Car Dealerships

Back with more later tonight…

dj

There / Not There (post #1 of many)

I’m now hunkered down for the big winter project.  I’m combing my entire website for dead links to other websites and checking out the map links for ev-ry-thing (2600+ pages) to see if there have been changes (demolitions, removals, repaints, etc.).  As you can imagine, most of the news is not good.  But, these days, anything that’s still in place and hasn’t been touched is good news!

Over the next several months, I’ll be updating my website with the info as I go and posting some of these discoveries here at blog posts.  The focus will be on signs since that seems to be my blog audience.  But I’ll slip in some buildings and statues as well.

So.  Let’s get the ball rolling with the 63 Diner in Columbia, MO which closed in 2015.  These signs hung in there until at least 2016.  But, by this year, they were gone and the building was deteriorating.

mobbq2

I think most of the signs were retro (new/made to look vintage).  The pig might have been vintage.  The atomic sign either came from a Mr. Quick or was modeled after that burger stand chain’s sign.  There was also a cute giant burger & french fries here.  Gone as well.

mobbq

mobbq3

 
From the Egyptian Revival section at my site, here’s a heartbreak in Los Angeles.  The Ahmed Apartments from 1925 had lots of nice detail.  Until a couple of years ago when some bozo decided to paint and basically ruin it.  Here’s a detail photo I took in 2010:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And here’s the Google Street View tragic view – ugh:

Capture

 

That’s enough bad news for one blog post.  Here are some “wins” from the Giant Animals section.  While checking on all the cow head statues, I feared the worst when I saw this at Google Street View for 2017 for Holland Farms in Yorkville, NY:

Capture

My photo from 2010:

hfarms

But after Googling a bit to see what happened (bakery closed or what), I found out that the Cupcake and Chuckie had been restored:
https://www.facebook.com/hollandfarms/photos/a.1128178683878451/1896233233739655/?type=3&theater

Here’s John Margolies’ photo of the sign in 1987:
http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/mrg.07511/

*********************

The Giant Horseshoe Crab in Blanchester, OH was also missing at Street View.  My photo from 2009:

hcrab

A little hunting at Google revealed that the crab is now a feature of a vintage trailer park in Hillsboro, OH:
http://www.ohio.org/blogs/2015/10/worlds-largest-horseshoe-crab-has-new-home

 
Same situation for the Whale Car in South St. Paul, MN.  Missing at Street View so I called the new used car lot biz that’s there now and found out that he’s been moved to the new owner’s location nearby:

Capture

 

Let’s end with a sign since that’s what most of you want to hear about.  This sign in Victoria, TX was pretty much destroyed last year by Hurricane Harvey.  The text panel survived but the Indian was completely crumpled.  My photo from 2011:

tcorral

After corresponding at Facebook for over a year with the owner who insisted that the sign was being “restored”, I had pretty much given up.  But then this news item popped up.  The Indian had been recreated and reinstalled.  Not neon but the style still looks fairly close (although the colors look kinda bright):
https://www.victoriaadvocate.com/news/iconic-sign-returns-to-the-corral/article_47e665ce-f41e-11e8-83e4-3fc7e71b2121.html

More good news/bad news coming soon.  There’ll be another post most likely next weekend.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

L.A. Area Quickies

Hey there!

All of the ~3,000 photos from my June trip are officially up at my website (roadarch.com).  So, if you’re thinking of traveling to Texas or just want to travel virtually, have a look at any of the sections (signs, mid-century modern, eateries, theatres, gas stations, giant statues, etc.) and you’ll find loads of new additions.  There were also some additions to Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona.

In the past few weeks, I took two little daytrips down to the L.A. area.  Here are some funky-blogworthy signs, buildings, etc..  If you didn’t know, the “good stuff” appears at my website and the coarser stuff gets uploaded here.

From Hawthorne — kind of a bizarre circus thingie on top.  Maybe there were horses?  Maybe it revolved?

blog1.jpg

 

The Custer’s Gift Shop in Covina has been gone for many years.  Nevertheless, the sign hung in there. Here’s a photo I took in 2013:

custers

The central panel has been missing since around 2017.  I don’t suppose any money or effort will be spent to repair it.  I doubt this will be around much longer:

blog2.jpg

 

From Whittier.  Too late in the day and I got silly shadows but I’ll include this anyway.

blog3

 

From Valley Village:

blog1

 

The Bootmobile at Victor’s Shoe Repair in Burbank is getting a makeover.  It’s normally red and this looks like a primer coat to me:

bshoe.jpg

 

The Mission Hills Bowl in Mission Hills in its new life as a Ross Dress for Less store:

ross

 

This sign in Los Angeles was built & installed around 2014:

bigfoot.jpg

 

Let’s close out this post with some signs from the Valley Relics Museum which recently relocated to Burbank:

relics.jpg

relics6.jpg

relics4.jpg

relics14

Yes, part of the Premiere Lanes sign from Santa Fe Springs:

relics24.jpg

relics10.jpg

relics12

relics8

There will be more posts coming up very soon since my annual website combing project  is underway which leads to all kinds of pleasant surprises (restorations) and, more commonly, devastating discoveries about demolitions, horrible sign updating and removals.  Stay tuned!

dj & the dogs