June/July Trip – Day #8 (More Montana)

I’ve got a nice big post for you. The weather was not the best, so, expect some no-sky backgrounds. Let’s start with some signs from Lewistown — the 4 Aces Casino:

At the former Bon-Ton Confectionery which dated back to 1908. The building now houses a closed cafe:

Here are a few signs from Harlowton. The State Theatre building is a hollow shell after a fire in 2012 but this sign remains:

At the Moose Lodge:

Obviously, the Oasis Bar:

This one is located at the Oasis’ side entrance:

From Wilsall — this one is a modern sign:

Here are some goodies from Butte. Note the former chasing bulbs on the vertical panel and the cute Tyrolean hat on the mountains:

Mighty colorful – sooooo many layers of paint:

The Pekin Noodle Parlor opened in 1911 and is the longest operating Chinese restaurant in the country! The interior with little wooden booths (very private!) is incredible. This sign is from around 1940:

In the ground level window next door is this beauty with ripple tin panels, beading, what I call “applied letters” for 119… After much digging, I got this vintage photo when it was hanging for the London Company Cigars store:

This is how I like my ghost signs — untouched! There’s such a trend lately to repaint them and they always end up look like crap. The whole point of these signs is the patina and layering of paint and color:

This one is in Livingston. Coca-Cola on top of Wrigley’s Spearmint gum — it doesn’t get any better than this!

Some other signs from Livingston. This one originally advertised for the Gil’s Indian Trading Post souvenir store and read “Gil’s Gifts”. It was restored and adapted for the Gil’s Goods restaurant:

The peeling paint on this bar sign seems to reveal different lettering. I believe this one originally advertised for the Park Hotel although I can’t find a vintage photo or postcard to prove it. The other two signs are modern:

A couple of signs from Bozeman. This closed cleaners sign was restored recently when the building became an outdoor/clothing store:

The paint is starting to go on this one but it still looks fabulous:

The Longbranch Saloon is in Ennis:

Also in Ennis — this incredible facade sculpture:

That’s enough with the signs! Let’s close with three buildings. This theatre is still operating in Harlowton:

This incredible mid-century modern building in Butte was designed by William Pereira and built as the Prudential Federal Savings & Loan in 1962. Note the round building inside the columns with the spiral staircase on the corner:

This late Art Deco house in Bozeman was built in 1942:

That’s a wrap for now. More Montana coming soon… different photos from this same day over at Flickr:


Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

June/July Trip – Day #7 (More Montana)

We were in Montana for about a week so there will be a bunch more posts for that state. Let’s start with Billings. This sign was saved from the closed Park Drive-in in Cody, WY. It was on the back of the screentower in Cody and then converted to an entrance sign here and the word “Amusement” for Amusement Park Drive-in added. Unfortunately, there was a fire and the screentower burned down. It seems unlikely that it will be rebuilt.

This is one of the few unmaintained/unrestored signs in town:

I don’t know how old the Western Pawn signs are but there are several vintage local signs inside — see below:

More Billings signs:

After all these years, the Monte Carlo Casino can no longer use the name after being pressured by the Principality of Monaco since their older casino with the same name was trademarked. So, the “Carlo” panel has been covered up and the place is now known as The Monte:

This stained glass canopy is at the Eagle Hotel:

The Sunset Bowl opened in 1959 and this sign appears to be from then:

This modern sign was added around 2008:

and this fun one was added to the side of the building around 2017:

Two signs from Roundup. This faded beauty…

and the Arcade Bar:

This long-gone drive-in’s sign in Miles City has been moved to private property where it is still visible:

From Broadus:

From Forsyth:

Let’s do a deep dive on this sign in Miles City. It previously read/advertised for the Range Rider’s Bar and was located next door:

But to understand the complete history, you gotta go back to the 1940s. This photo from 1942 shows the original (and I think bigger) sign. Note, no arrow and much closer to the street:

But it gets better. That sign was moved up when this incredible street level animated sign is installed — probably late 1940s/early 1950s:

At some point in the 1950s, a different sign — theatre canopy style — is below it and a bulb arrow was installed:

There were weird little window cutouts on that sign but I can’t find anything high-rez enough to determine what those panels looked like. By 1978, those windows were falling apart and both the canopy sign and the one above had been repainted and it looks like the neon was gone. The bulb arrow no longer had bulbs:

By 1984, the paint was peeling but the window on the canopy on the left side looked to be fairly intact:

Skipping ahead to recent years… this Google Street View map shows what the two buildings look like now. The Trails Inn Bar and its horizontal sign had already been there for decades. In 2009, the two businesses were consolidated and the projecting sign with the horse & rider was adapted with the new name and moved to the right, next door. A few years later, the Range Riders Cafe opened in the vacant space on the left:

Let’s close with a couple of non-signs. This Indian and horse are in Miles City. Despite my best efforts, I can’t find any info about their history:

This dome-shaped coffee place in Roundup was built in the 1980s:

I’ll be back soon enough with more Montana.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

June/July Trip – Day #6 (Idaho and Montana)

There wasn’t much sun today, as reflected by the no-sky/no-sun backgrounds in the following photos. Let’s start off in Pocatello, ID with one of the signs recently restored and installed by Relight the Night:

Randy Dixon at Relight the Night hopes to restore this one someday:

One more from Pocatello. I believe this is the only Master Muffler sign in Idaho with the cute blonde guy. There are lots of them in Utah — at my website here:


This one is in American Falls, ID:

This one is in Blackfoot, ID — that’s Gator behind the deliberately slanted sign pole:

This sign in Blackfoot was restored and installed above the Collecting America store a couple of years ago. It came from a drug store in town:

In a private collection in Lava Hot Springs, ID:

Waaaay above the Lava Spa Motel in Lava Hot Springs:

This sign in Idaho Falls originally advertised for the Paris Cafe. The panels on the left and bottom have been messed with but at least the central neon panel remains. This is what the sign looked like originally:


Some combo signs from Idaho Falls:

Moving on to West Yellowstone, MT. I believe the owl at least was originally a pole sign — looks like that piece is double-sided:

This sign originally advertised for an Imperial 400 Motel. Although the nationwide chain did have locations in Montana, I don’t think there was one in West Yellowstone. So, this sign must have come from another city. This postcard shows a sign in Casper, WY:

This sign was adapted at some point from the Ham & Eggery:


Very dreary (and cold!) in Silver Gate, MT for these two:

A few more photos of non-signs — the Nuart Theatre in Blackfoot, ID. The signs were updated recently with graphic display boards and LED but the Art Deco building is still a marvel. That’s a new addition on the left:

This castle building is in Idaho Falls, ID. I could not find any info about what was here originally but it was most recently a Mexican restaurant.

This building in Idaho Falls was built in 1974 as the Westbank Motel.

This giant trout is at Hyde Drift Boats in Idaho Falls. It was installed sometime between 2008 and 2011 but clearly it’s older than that:

That’s it for now. I’ll be back with lots more Montana soon.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

June/July Trip – Day #5 (Idaho)

Let’s start off with this pair of raceway bowling signs at the Bowladrome in Twin Falls, ID. By the way, if you like bowling signs, you’ll love this section at my website:


Another sign from Twin Falls. The motel has been closed for many years:

A bunch of signs from Boise, ID. The 44 Club opened in the 1940s but this sign looks more 1960s, if that:

This one though, with the beaded border, is probably from the 1930s. It was in really bad shape until it was restored in 2015:

Gotta be 1960s:

This sign shaped like a camera on a tripod advertised for Idaho Camera until recently. I’m glad that it’s still basically there, just that ugly blue panel on top of the lens panel:

The Travelers Motel sign has been through a lot. I can’t find a vintage postcard but here’s what it looked like when I shot it in 2014:

Note the neon extension tubing for “TV” in the middle of the sign. I haven’t seen any other signs with that:

Well, that’s gone now and so is just about all of the other neon. I guess it’s better than a plastic box but…”

After much internet sleuthing, I was able to determine that the Vista Uptown Bar was built in 1962 as the Two Boys Inn. Here’s a little advertisement showing its original look. Note how the canopies with picnic tables were replaced with building additions. Too bad…

From Garden City, ID:

From the beginning of the day, this one is in Snowville, UT;

From Mountain Home, ID – this sign apparently revolved. It looks like the business is closed – shoot ’em while you can, folks:

Also Mountain Home. The paint on the sunny side of the sign was gone — don’t know what happened.

This giant bowling pin sign is at the Bear River Bowling Center in Tremonton, UT. I’ve got a lot more giant bowling pins and sports-related stuff at this page at my website:


Let’s close this post with a couple of buildings. This incredible Art Deco courthouse is in Jerome:

And this repurposed Sambo’s restaurant is from Ogden, UT where I started the day:

I’ll be back soon with more Idaho and a little bit of Montana.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

June/July Trip – Day #4 (More Utah)

Glorious sun for today’s shooting. This one in Murray is a new sign but very cool:

This one in Salt Lake City might not be around much longer. In 2019, a proposal was announced to demolish the motel and build a big residential/commercial complex. I didn’t see this sign in the plans at all. But maybe things have fallen through:

More stuff from Salt Lake City… With city permission, a smaller replica of the original sign from 1950s was created by Rainbow Neon:

In 2019, this sign was declared too unsafe and beyond maintaining. The original sign was shipped off to the Railroad Museum in Ogden and this sign was created. It’s double-sided like it was originally but lit with LED instead of neon:

This Park ‘N Jet sign with sputnik has gotta be 1960s:

There are a few Village Cleaners signs in the SLC area using some variation of this logo. This one is in Murray. I think we can assume from the round shape and stripes that these signs are a tribute to the Norgetown “Norge Ball” signs. Norgetown signs with stripes were the later versions of the polka dot signs. Loads of info and examples at my website section here:


Speaking of polka dots. This pylon sign in Salt Lake City originally advertised for a Safeway. It was later adapted for Hostess Brands/Wonder Bread. Those polka dots were associated with Wonder Bread all the way back to 1921 when the VP of merchandising was inspired by a Balloon Race at the Indy Motor Speedway. Anyway, the neon had been missing for years but was restored by Furst when they moved into the building in 2014. They left the original corrugated material and faded paint and just added their own name to the sign:

Lots more from Salt Lake City. The Classic Lanes opened in 1958. Here’s a photo I took in 2006:

In 2015, the bowling alley closed and was demolished. The sign was preserved and adapted with LED for the apartments built on the site in 2015:

This Fendall’s Ice Cream sign is probably from 1957 or thereabouts. It closed in 1997 but the sign escaped being messed with until last year when it was adapted for this pizza place:

Speaking of ice cream. This Snelgrove Ice Cream sign was built by YESCO in 1962. Here’s a photo I took in 2006:

In 1990, Dreyer’s bought the company and used the site for ice cream production. Little by little, the sign deteriorated — hit by a truck, then repainted, then Dreyer’s left and their signs were removed… and we are left with the photo below. The site is a vacant lot right now but I know that the Sugar House historical people will not let anything happen to the cone:

Some happy news. This bulb sign originally advertised for the West Side Drug store. Here’s a photo I took in 2014:

The building had long been vacant and was about to be demolished when this piece was removed, restored, and installed at the Red Iguana 2 Mexican restaurant. I posted a little video of the bulbs in action here:

This place opened in 1968 and I’m betting the bulb piece on top is from then:

One more sign — this one from Bountiful:

Let’s close with some statues. This half “Muffler Man” is installed on the roof of Rainbow Neon in Salt Lake City. He was remodeled as Spock when Leonard Nimoy died in 2015. He is currently masked-up for COVID.

This wood-carved “Captain EZ” is located in Vernal:

Lastly, one of my favorite Indian statues. This one was in Roosevelt originally where he sat in front of the Moqui Trading Post. He was built in 1976 — and this postcard is from around then:

He was in pretty rough shape when I shot him in 2012:

Then, in 2018, he was adopted by the the Ute Indian Tribe. The statue was restored and moved to the Ute Tribal Plaza in Fort Duchesne:

That’s a wrap. I’ll be back soon with stuff from Idaho. Don’t be forgetting that I post different photos over at Flickr from these trips:


Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

June/July Trip – Day #3 (Wyoming)

A discouraging day which was mostly cloudy with a little rain. But I persevered through this part of Wyoming at my usual fast face since I couldn’t wait around which would mean canceling stops at the end of the trip.

Here’s a two-fer from Evanston. I don’t know if the wood on both signs is just to hold them together or if there is hope of some restoration:

Also in Evanston — no neon here but still some lovely raised letters and script:

This place in Evanston is a historic Lincoln Highway Landmark but boarded up since forever:

The pole sign from the same place – barely readable but incredible nonetheless:

Jackson was one big cloud — better luck next time… This sign hasn’t changed a hardly a bit since this 1960s postcard (except the AAA and Color TV signs are gone):

This nice script sign is in Riverton:

This Elks Lodge is also in Riverton:

Momentary sun — this one is in Lander. The photo below is probably a 1960s replacement of the sign in this postcard:

I wonder what was on those spikes?

This sign in Rawlins is shaped like a giant motel room key (remember, before we used plastic access cards?). No postcards that I could find but I’m betting there was neon on the key and maybe different text. Note that this one still has the vacuum form Color TV sign at the bottom:

A vitrolite storefront in Rawlins, I think from 1935. Probably a jewelry or clothing store but I’ve never been able to figure it out. I just looked at dozens of downtown pcards but can’t find it either:

I shot the terrazzo apron in 2012 without the mat in the way:

Pretty beat but here’s another sign from Rawlins:

This one is in Kemmerer — used as apartments now. I’m a sucker for signs with lanterns:

Also Kemmerer. The neon’s been removed and so has the plastic circle with the deer (that partial circle on the panel). Purple is an interesting paint color — previously red and black. I love a deliberately leaning sign. Does that instinctively catch the driver’s attention as if it were possibly a falling object?:

Another one from Lander. They’ve added rustic log-like stuff to the facade on the left since I was here 10 years ago. Note how the pheasant’s tail is used to make the middle stroke of the “H”. And the fishie is used for the “O” in “LODGE”:

This one in Sheridan breaks my heart. Here’s what it looked like in 2012:

The neon stars and rays were removed around 2019:

Here’s one from Dubois. This place is closed so… shoot ’em while you can folks. It was established in 1889:

Those of you that are familiar with my website know that I shoot a LOT more than just signs. Most of the followers of this blog and my Flickr account are signs geeks, so, I usually focus on those. But let’s throw a few more photos into the mix for this post.

A couple of statues. This bronze statue of James Cash Penney (the founder of J.C. Penney stores) is now in Kemmerer. It was installed in the lobby of the headquarters in Plano, TX since around 1992. I think his legs are short (and arms so long) to compensate that he was meant to be seen from up on top of pedestal. Much like the Birmingham Vulcan statue. The Plano office closed and the statue was moved here last year. The still-operating (!) JC Penney store in Kemmerer was the very first one and this statue is installed in the little park across the street:

This fiberglass Sumo Wrestler statue in Rawlins is one of a few in Wyoming and Colorado built for Sapporo Japanese Steak Houses. I think this Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse got this guy from a closed location:

This theatre in Lander is still plugging away. It seemed like every theatre I saw on this trip was showing Top Gun:

A former Safeway in Lander:

And two gas stations froms Rawlins. This building was recently restored as a Texaco (which I believe it was originally) with pumps & signs added:

Pouring rain but here’s a very rare former double-canopy Phillips 66 that sat empty for many years. Now housing Union Wireless and a little cafe:

That’s enough for now. The next post will cover lots of Utah things.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

June/July Trip – Day #2 (Utah)

The trip continues — scurrying through a few states that I’ve covered pretty thoroughly more recently before to get to the states that I haven’t been to in about 10 years (MT, WY, SD, ND, NE, etc.). The weather was sucky for a couple of days — mostly clouds but there would be sunny days to come.

There’s been a lots of restoration and recreation in Helper lately so I definitely wanted to get some shots there. I’ll have to go back in a few years in the sun.

The neon on the Hillcrest Motel sign has been restored but the patina left intact. Look at that lovely beaded border! The neon at the Strand Theatre next door was also restored. Here’s a night photo:


Some new stuff was also added to this little strip of Main Street:


I’m pretty sure these ghost signs are “imaginative” rather than restorations:

Some of the other rusty vintage signs have been left as-is:

It was certainly the wrong time of day and weather for this one but I’ll share it anyway. This is on the roof of a long closed restaurant in Wanship:

This place (AAA Lakeside Storage) in Provo has one of the largest gas station sign collections that I’ve ever seen — this is just a sampling:

The nicest sign in Echo (the Kozy Motel & Cafe) is gone now but I’m glad these two are still there:

The Riverside Ranch RV Park Motel & Campground in Hatch has an adapted Best Western crown sign on top of its box sign. They’ve added the little snowy mountain with a river (at least that’s what I think it is):

This sign which I shot in Springfield, MO shows you the original look:

I should mention my traveling companions (four lucky terriers). They got to run all over the place but they also greatly enjoyed watching the wildlife from the confines of the van: bison, elk, moose, deer, and, of course, cows. I was on the lookout for prairie dogs since that’s one of their favorite sports. But I only saw one field of them in Colorado so I let the dogs run their asses off trying to catch them. Honestly, I think the prairie dogs enjoy it just as much since they always “win” knowing where all their hidey holes are. Here’s Orbit and Dilly:

That’s it for now. I’ll be back with Day 3 soon which covers more Utah and some Wyoming.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

June/July Trip – Day #1 (Nevada)

Here we go! I returned home from this 33-day trip a few days ago with another 4,000+ photos for the website (roadarch.com). As I add each day’s batch to the site, I’ll be posting a sampling of photos here to this blog and to Flickr (different photos both places). The weather was mostly cooperative and I powered through Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Colorado. I ran out of time in Colorado so I’ll pick up where I left off in that state next year. Let’s get to it.

I made a pitstop in Amboy, CA to shoot the repainted Roy’s Motel/Cafe sign and shot this guy which I don’t think I had noticed before. The school closed in 1999 but this sign remains:

From Yermo, CA — this Crazy Horse sculpture is located in the Liberty Sculpture Park:

Let’s move on to some Las Vegas stuff. Unfortunately, this sign was partly shaded by the trees but I still love the cars, shapes, etc.:

The bottom panel must have been hit by a truck at some point:

The Milan Bakery sign is pretty rough but still worth shooting. The building originally housed the Salvation Army in 1952. So, I assume the sign (which must have had neon) was built then since the bakery didn’t move in until 1966. I’d love to see what this sign looked like originally. The bakery’s been closed since 2010:

This one was also shot at the wrong time of day (bad shadows) and I’ll try to reshoot it next year. It was recently restored:

Another one with some irritating shows. The perfect time of day to shoot it… but alas that freaking streetlamp:

The Fong’s Garden sign is still there, thank god:

The original sign was spectacular (yes, the entrance structure on the left is also gone):

This Flickr photo shows what the later sign looked like with backlit plastic & neon:

This long-vacant gas station from 1931 has been really jazzed up with paint:

The Dino’s Lounge sign is from 1962 (still operating):

This one was painted red and white earlier this year (was blue and gold previously):

This place opened last year:

I had enough energy to scoot into St. George, UT and get a few night shots – including this modern sign at the Pasta Factory:

That’s enough for now. I’ll be back in a week or so with more Utah photos.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

4-Day Northern California Trip

This was my last little practice trip before the June five-weeker. Gator ran great for the 2419 miles, mostly in the mountains, forests and tiny towns. The dogs and I were exhausted but I guess we are now ready for the biggie. I’m going to lump this sampling of photos into one post.

It’s hard to believe that this Plymouth Chrysler sign in Martinez is still there. I don’t know if there are any others left.

In 2011, there were still blue plastic letters on the building for the dealership (gone now):

I got to check out the new home of this sign in San Jose at the right time of day. It’s now at History Park:

This rock, paper, scissors sculpture in Los Altos is entitled “Conversation Peace:”

This adapted clock sign is in St. Helena. It may have been built for Ray’s Place which was there by 1956. Ana’s has been here since at least the 1980s:

These “Happy Goats” are sipping wine at Four Seasons Vineyard Management in Geyserville:

This photographer goat is also at the same place but I could not find a way to shoot him without the chain link in the way:

The Barrel Man in Geyserville used to hold a bottle in his right hand (yes, this is wine country):

It was raining when I took this photo in Mad River:

I was happy to see that the pole sign in Eureka is still in the back behind Bob’s Fine Cars. Although it’s sad that it’s still laying there. I don’t the city will let them reinstall it. It was in front of the business until it fell over around 2014.

This is what it looked like in 2008 (this side didn’t have bulbs):

This sign in Eureka had neon until around 2017:

This is what it looks like now:

This sign is also in Eureka. The fog made the peeling paint look even more dreary. But maybe you like that?

This former motor court is in Weaverville:

This sign in Shasta Lake is at the Oasis Fun Center had different letter panels originally. They read “GOLF” with the word “Mini” above the G:


This sign is in Mount Shasta. Although the paint is pretty “peely”, it looks like the neon is intact:

Let’s do some sign details. This sign is also in Mount Shasta — at the Veteran’s Club. The bulbs have little plastic caps over them:

This detail is from the Shasta Lodge sign in Redding:

One more detail — from the Yreka Welcome Sign in Yreka. The R and the K still have these metal projections from when the sign hung downtown from 1917-1934. In 1977, it was finally brought out of storage and put at its current location. I’m glad they left the two little hangers. This is one of the best examples of Federal Electric sectional signs:


More dreary weather towards the end of this trip. This sign is in Portola:

This cute sign is also in Portola:

This one is in Quincy:

And, lastly, this sweet walk-up ice cream and burger stand from 1962 is also in Quincy:

This blog will be quiet until July when we get home and I start putting the photos together. I’m now starting to add all the photos from this weekend to my website. You might want to check out the Flickr photos that I posted from this trip (different from these at this blog post):


Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Website Update News #25 – Mid-century Modern Buildings #2

Now back to this final section of website updates. This has been a long slog and it gets longer every year. But I consider it a responsibility to keep my website as current as possible. Even though doing this for more than 2700 pages every year is pretty nuts.

This will be a quickie post to finish things off. The mcm section is nearly 500 pages but I only have a few more places to mention.

The former Hill Top Motel in Belmar, NJ (later Rodeway Inn) is gone now:

These signs had been replaced around 2010:

This motel in Reno, NV is gone now. The sign was saved by a collector for possible display in town later on:

After two fires in 2019, the Memorial Drive Church of Christ in Tulsa, OK was demolished in 2020:

In 2021, this building in Tulsa at the Tulsa Tech’s Lemley Campus was also demolished:

The Shandon Florist building in Columbia, SC was demolished in 2020:

And that’s it!!!! The next posts will be more positive (stuff that still exists) but you won’t hear from me for a few weeks. I’ll be doing a little Northern California 4-day trip in early May and I’ll post some photos here then after that. Then, this blog will be very quiet until I get home in July from the June mega trip (five weeks in Wyoming, Montana, the Dakotas, etc.).

In closing, a few reminders. You can always find earlier blog posts here by clicking on the back arrow links in the yellow area below the posts. Or in the brown area below that, you can go back thru the archives by month. I just realized I’ve been doing these posts since 2006!

And don’t forget about the Flickr stuff — I post about 10 photos per roadtrip day there (different from the photos here at these blog posts).


And then, if your an Instagram fan, you might want to tag along in early May and then in June since I post a few photos every night there when I’m on the road.


Happy trails,
dj & the dogs