Days 6 & 7: Texas and Louisiana

I had a few stops in Texas on Day 6 before moving on to Louisiana for a couple of days.

Let’s start with this sign in Jena, LA. Talk about mixed media: plastic, wood, neon… and check out that incredible font and colorful burger:

The Longhorn Travel Plaza in Vinton, LA has a broken neon sign on the side of a storage building:

This theatre is in Ruston, LA:

This abandoned giant mailbox is in Vidalia, LA:

This former Ford showroom in Shreveport, LA was built in 1929. This vintage photo was posted inside the building as the building was being restored:

The building had been in bad shape for many years – one of my photos from 2019:

and now fully renovated in June:

The Evangeline Theatre in New Iberia, LA and sign was also restored recently. Here’s a closeup of the sign:

Fertitta’s started out in Shreveport as a grocery store. This sign now has plastic shields to protect the neon. It was probably installed on front of the building originally:

This later sign was installed when the place became a sandwich shop, featuring muffaletta sandwiches:

OK Cleaners in Shreveport has been closed for years. This former pole sign has been leaning against the building since at least 2008:

Garrison’s in Shreveport opened in 1959. This sign might be from then:

This one in Shreveport originally advertising for Glenwood Drug Store. Around 2008, the sign’s neon was removed and the Village Panel slapped over the Drug Store panel:

The Quintin M. Martin Auditorium is located at Panola College in Carthage, TX:

The Burnett Motel is located in Marshall, TX:

This Kelvinator sign is installed in Abbeville, LA although the appliance store is long gone. Kelvinator was a refrigerator brand:

This giant jester is located in Bossier City, LA at the entrance to the Krewe of Gemini Mardi Gras Museum:

This former Cities Service gas station was recently renovated. It is located in an alley in Minden, LA:

This former A&W Root Beer drive-in is located in Minden, LA:

Let’s wrap up with a few more things from Shreveport, LA. This Greyhound station is now closed:

This building originally housed Brocato’s Stopmoor Restaurant. It was built in 1946 and got a lot of press and attention for its modernity then. The building and sign were adapted for many restaurants after its closed around 2005. The building now houses India’s Restaurant:

Around 2019, the Rountree Used Car sign:

was adapted for Car Giant. I miss the corrugated plastic, colorful toy block letters with the funky font but, hey, it could have been much worse:

That’s it for now. I’ll be back in about a week with more from this trip.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Day 5: Last Full Day in Texas

Let’s start with this little drive-in in Columbus, TX:

This crude elephant statue is located at the White Elephant Flea Market in Channelview TX. I think it might be from the 1970s:

Here are a bunch of things from Houston, TX. At the Sunbeam Bread production plant:

A modern neon diver inside the Neon Gallery:

This bakery sign is probably from the 1960s. The Art Deco building from 1945 originally housed the Allbritton’s Eats restaurant:

The Mac Haik Chevrolet dealership (former Tom Peacock Chevrolet) billboard next to I-10:

These giant busts of four Presidents were created by David Adickes — more about them (and others) at my website here:

Earlier in the day, I made time to check out the enormous sign collection at the Hemi Hideout in Brookshire, TX. For neon overload, check out my webpage here:

Here’s just a sampling. A dizzying animated bulb sign:

A reflector sign spelling out “Pearl Bear”:

A backlit opal glass sign:

A Howard Johnson’s sign:

And a huge car dealership cowboy sign:

That’s a wrap. Back with another post in a week or so with more goodies from Texas and Louisiana.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Days 3 & 4: More Texas

Let’s pick up in Plano, TX with a couple of statues at a Central Market. I’ve shot other giant fruits and vegetables at their supermarkets in Dallas and Austin. There are 10 locations but I don’t know if all of their stores have these pears, apples, peppers, oranges, and eggplants. More photos of these fruits & vegetables (and lots of others) at my website here:

Here are some photos from Dallas, TX. This appears to be modern but it’s still nice:

This former Brinks Coffee Shop from 1964 was a laundromat for a while but it’s found new life as a chicken restaurant:

The Longhorn Ballroom appears to be closed. The readerboard panel is missing. I love the faux wood grain on the frame and poles:

Every time I try to shoot this recently restored sign in Fort Worth, TX it’s either cloudy or the wrong time of day:

Moving on to Austin, TX for a couple of modern, retro-style signs:

This is another modern sign located in Buda, TX. It was created by Evan Voyles of Neon Jungle. It would look so much better in sun:

The Phillips House in Austin, TX was designed by John S. Chase and built in 1966:

The Deep in the Heart Art Foundry in Bastrop, TX has lots of incredible stuff outside. They also have tours and demonstrations of how they create these bronze sculptures. Here’s just a taste:

This giant bowling pin sign in New Braunfels, TX was built in 2017 when Downtown Social opened. It is about 15 feet tall:

Here are a few shots from San Antonio, TX. A modern sign but awfully pretty.

Folks that are really into 1960s chain restaurants will recognize this A-frame rooftop feature. This was standard for Griff’s Burger Bars. More about them at my website here:

This towering sign advertises for the University Bowl. I doubt the little neon stars are lit anymore. I’m guessing (fantasizing?) that they flashed sequentially somehow. Probably originally had neon letters as well:

That’s a wrap. I’ll be back soon with more Texas stuff.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Day 2: Texas

I snuck in about 4 days in Texas on our journey to Florida and other southern states.

This building in Abilene originally housed a Buick dealership. Coca-Cola occupied the building from 1950-2003. In 2020, the building and sign were restored.

There is another Coca-Cola sign in Abilene. This one is at the current production plant. I never seem to be there at the right time of day:

This nice breezeblock entrance is at the Serenity Foundation in Abilene:

The Brookhollow Christian Church in Abilene:

Here’s a shot of the long-closed Midway Drive-in screentower in Sweetwater, TX:

and what’s left of the sign:

The kids loved running in the big field there:

This Masonic Temple is in Wichita Falls:

Wood’s Boots is in Colorado City:

Trent High School (in Trent) is the “Home of the Gorillas”. Lots of other examples of this statue and other monkeys and apes at my website here:

Woody’s Bar & Grill in Mineral Wells is housed in a quonset hut building. Here’s the sign:

That’s enough for this post. I’ve got lots of other photos to add to my website. I’ll be back here this weekend with Day 3.

Happy trails,

dj & the dogs

Day 1: AZ, NM, TX

Here we go! I’m starting to work on the June/July trip now. As I add the photos to my website, I’ll be posting a few photos from each day here and some different ones over at my Flickr account:

Day 1 was spent zooming across the Southwest with some select reshoots and new shoots along the way. The dogs and I were shocked by the temperature change (from 68 at our place at the beach in SoCal to about 100 degrees in the desert). I had to run Gator’s AC all day long for 36 days and she didn’t let us down!

This vintage Taco Bell sign is in Scottsdale, AZ. It would originally have been installed on a pole and the bottom panel would have read “Drive Thru”:

Here are a few shots from Tucson, AZ. The Reilly Funeral Home building is from 1908. These Art Deco details were added in the 1930s. The building now houses Reilly Craft Pizza and Drink:

The former Conoco gas station is now housing the L Station Bar & Cafe:

This former Firestone Tires building now houses a gym:

The Coachlight Inn in Las Cruces, NM was built in 1973. This detail shows the canopy and the matchy-matchy former Terry’s Restaurant next door:

This vintage Reddy Ice sign is in El Paso, TX:

Here’s a closeup of the First Presbyterian Church in El Paso, TX:

At the Rock Hill Shopping Center in Odessa, TX, this is the Pinkie’s Liquor sign and the long abandoned Cloth World sign in the background which was given an LED sculptural feature in 2019:

I’ll be back later today with some things from Day 2.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Website Updates: Mid-Century Modern Architecture (part 2 and final!)

I’ve been working hard over the past couple of weeks polishing off this project. I’m putting all the recent losses and transformations in this single post.

Progressing through the alphabet and picking up with Florida, here are a couple of buildings from Orlando that are gone now. This furniture store was remodeled into oblivion earlier this year. This nifty entrance feature was removed as well as the other projecting features along the roofline and in front of the building. All that’s left is the box:

I don’t know what this building was originally. In recent years, it housed a thrift store. It was demolished around 2019:

Moving through the alphabet and no good or bad news to report until I reached Louisiana. This sweet office building in Shreveport was built in 1971:

Earlier this year, the gold features were mostly removed (only one piece on the right that might be gone now). Just another boring black box now:

Moving on to Michigan. This former Michigan National Bank motor bank in Flint, MI is gone now. It was there in 2017 but Google Maps shows a vacant lot by 2019. One of my photos from 2011 when it was housing a Chase Bank:

The former Mount Clemens Federal Savings & Loan building in Mount Clemens, MI has housed several nightclubs since 2008 with gaps of several years between tenants. My photo below is from 2011:

Since 2019, the building has housed Stateum Nightlife, another club. The gold paint is unfortunate:

The Christus Victor Lutheran Church from 1963 in Dearborn Heights, MI was sold and demolished last year. What a tragedy:

The B’nai Moshe Synagogue building from 1959 in Oak Park, MI was demolished in 2019:

The Fairlanes Bowl in Madison Heights, MI was demolished last year:

Moving on to Oklahoma: this building in Oklahoma City from 1957 has really nice screens:

but they were covered up around 2020. The first floor windows were also replaced:

I never got to shoot this one. The new 2019 Google Street View map shows an empty lot where this 1962 addition to the St. Anthony Hospital in Pendleton, OR was:

This building in Jackson, TN was originally a funeral parlor. I believe the buff brick and screens were part of the original look:

A heavy-handed paint job occurred recently when this building began housing Jackson’s Empowerment & Enrichment Complex. However, I’m glad the canopies, screens, and the rest are still there. Wait, the screen over the entrance is gone. Why, oh why, is dark grey so popular now?:

This Sears building in Dallas, TX was demolished in 2019:

Wolf’s Department Store in Houston, TX closed in 2019. Here is one of my photos from 2018:

The sign is still there but the letters on the screen have been removed. The screen is now black:

The canopy on this little commercial building in La Porte, TX was removed by earlier this year:

The long-vacant More Hall Annex at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA was demolished in 2016, despite being list on the National Register of Historic Places:

And lastly, the Mountain Lanes in Wausau, WI was built in 1962. It closed in 2017. The building was demolished in 2019 for apartments:

So, that’s a wrap for this depressing but necessary project for another year. Now, I can get started on getting the new photos ready and adding them to the website from the June/July trip. You can look forward to more than 30 blog posts here of interesting and wonderful things that are still around.

Happy trails,

dj & the dogs

Website Updates: Mid-Century Modern (part 1)

I had a fantastic, five-week roadtrip to the South and got back a week ago. I posted a sampling of photos each night at Instagram if you’d like to check it out:

Before I proceed with blog posts about the trip and adding about 4,000 new photos to my website, I’m going to polish off this grueling annual project of updating my website descriptions with all the good news (rare) & bad news (mostly) from the maps and cleaning up any dead external links. This is the only section left but it will probably take several weeks. So, hang in there! Loads of current photos of all the stuff that survives is coming!

The “A” states went unscathed but there are some noteworthy updates to the California pages. This former Fremont Bank (in Fremont) was demolished around 2020:

This San Diego County Courthouse building was demolished in 2020. A new courthouse building had been built earlier:

The Aztec mosaic created by Max Tuttle on this office building (originally, the Barkley Building) in North Hollywood has been painted. Here are a couple of my “before” photos:

Here’s what it looks like at Google Street View as of 2020. It’s now black & white and the panels on the sides of the building have been painted black. I’ll hold off full-on judgement until I see it in person but this looks awful and I much prefer the previous brown:

This wonderful little building in San Jose was demolished in 2020:

These interior light fixtures appeared to be original:

From the car wash mid-century subsection at my website… The Sparkle Car Wash in San Bernardino was repainted around 2019. I think this is actually an improvement. But the remaining, little ballies at the tops of the fins were removed which makes me very sad. The “before”:

The “after”:

The Madison Car Wash in West Hollywood was demolished in 2020. It must have been a Mister Car Wash originally.:

The fins would have had flags like this one in Houston, TX (flags gone now):

and a sign like this with a lantern integrated in the pole at the same Houston location (sign remodeled):

I don’t believe there are any Mister Car Washes that have the scripty text or lanterns. They seem to all have the boring current branding with blue backgrounds. Some of you roadside experts might recognize the company name as the one that, in recent years, bought out most of the Octopus Car Washes and removed the super cute octopus statues:

The Beach-Lin Car Wash in Anaheim was demolished in 2020. At least the same design (originally National Car Wash) survives in North Hollywood, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, and Mountain View:

No recent losses for Colorado, Delaware, or DC but here’s one for Connecticut (yes, the mcm section is organized in alpha order by state). The former Conty’s Drive-in in Bridgeport was mostly vacant for the last 15 years or so. It was demolished around 2019:

I’ll be picking up with Florida for the next blog post.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Website Updates: Signs (Part 6 – Final!)

This is a quick one. Many states had no tragedies over the past year. Here come the “W”s. The Yakima Sports Center sign in Yakima, WA:

was restored in 2019 and Google has the new StreetView up now:

Bob’s Grill in Chetek, WI closed in 2018 and this sign was removed. It was donated to the Chetek Area Historical Society:

The Chetek Cafe moved into the space and put its sign where the Bob’s sign was:

However, this sign from the old location is no longer on display. The old location was demolished:

This modern sign in Mosinee, WI was removed around 2019:

The Old Town Bar had been closed since 2013. The building in Superior, WI was demolished around 2019 and the sign was gone. It was going to be displayed inside the Thirsty Pagan bar. However, it doesn’t sound like that ever happened:

otbar.jpg (709×1037)

This sign in Charles Town, WV:

… got a little modification around 2018 — Rodeway Inn had to add their name to the middle. OK, it could have been a LOT worse:

That’s a wrap for the Signs section. All that’s left now is the biggest one with more than 450 pages: the Mid-Century Modern Buildings section. I’ll barely be able to start that one and probably won’t have time for a post. The dogs and I will be leaving on Friday for a five-week trip to The South. If you want to following along “live”, I’ll be posting a few photos every night to Instagram:

Then, the real work will begin in July as I gradually post a few photos from each day to this blog and Flickr as I begin to add the entire treasure trove to my website (

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

The camera, the laptop, the schedule, the lists, and my COVID card:

Website Updates: Signs (Part 5)

Here’s another hefty dose of recently lost signs.

Ralph Martin Shoe Repair opened in Delaware, OH in 1961 and this sign was installed in 1963. The store closed in 2019 and the sign was removed. It was sold to an antiques dealer:

The Park Lanes sign in Mansfield, OH was still there in 2018 but was gone by 2019. The bowling alley was demolished last year:

Although this hardware store in Woodward, OK was long-gone, this sign was still there until around 2019:

This sign in Jennerstown, PA was removed around 2019:

The Key Motel sign in Nashville, TN:

was repainted to read the Dive Motel in 2018. The motel itself now features retro-themed rooms and a swim club:

The Ironworker statue in Nashville, TN:

was repainted around 2019:

This sign at Wood’s Boots in Colorado City, TX was removed in 2019:

This sign in Conroe, TX was also removed in 2019:

This spinner sign in Thorndale, TX was still there when I took this photo in 2018. But it was gone by 2019. These signs are very rare now, just a handful are left on public display and none of them are operational. The two arms spun in opposite directions originally:

This sign in Austin, TX might have been from 1970. In 2019, the place became Big O’s Pit BBQ and this panel was replaced:

Johnny’s Sales Co. in Dallas, TX had closed by 2019 and this sign was removed. It was probably fairly modern but… so sweet:

Buck & Ruck Cut Rate Liquors in Dallas, TX had closed by 2014. Cowboy Bail Bonds now occupies the site. The neon pole sign with the bulb pole remains intact but the other sign was adapted:

This incredible sign in El Paso, TX was removed in 2020:

Cappetto’s Italian Restaurant in El Paso, TX closed in 2014. In 2018, these signs, including the giant bulb pole, were removed:

This sign in Houston, TX was removed in 2019:

This sign in Houston, TX was also removed in 2019:

So, this post gets us through my website’s signs section’s “T” states. I’m going to try to barrel through the rest of the states tomorrow to wrap up the section before the big vacation which starts on Friday.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Website Updates: Signs (Part 4)

Here come the “N” states. This sign in Fargo, ND disappeared around 2019. It was replaced with a boring plastic box sign for another Auto Supply store:

This one really hurts. The Swan’s Furniture sign in North Platte, NE was not there at Street View so I called them up. A storm came through in 2019 and knocked it into the street. The sign was not salvageable so they are having a smaller plastic box sign built:

Sometimes, signs just disappear. A business closes and you just never know if the sign was trashed or a collector got it or it went home with the retired or sentimental business owner. Other signs die a slow death until some ambitious business owner decides to slap their name on the sign. Usually, with the cheapest approach: some shitty fat plastic letters. And then everyone regrets leaving that beautiful sign out there although in-situ, completely vulnerable to someone with no taste at all. And with city regulations prohibiting building a sign as large at the original, really, who’s to blame them for defacing the sign to get their name on it vs. some tiny little box.

Anyhow, this sign is one of those, going, going…. gones. Here it was in Somerset, NJ, starting to look a little rough:

In 2013, someone decided to remove the neon and repaint it blue and white. But that paint didn’t last and it looked like this in 2018… then it 2020, it was gone. It was such a sweet, skinny arrow. My bet is that it was scrapped. Kinda big for a collector:

This motel in Springfield, NJ was demolished in 2017. The sign was covered up with vinyl for a bit advertising a fitness center. Then, by 2020, it was gone and a new building was on the lot. It was gorgeous at night, too:

This one in Trenton, NJ:

… was painted over by 2019 — OMG, brace yourself:

The Century 21 Motel in Las Cruces, NM was wonderful…

guess what’s there now?

The “Norge Ball” in Fargo, ND is gone now:

Finally, some good news! The Time Zone Motel in Reno, NV:

Got some TLC and new paint around 2018:

However, this sign in Las Vegas, NV:

was crappily adapted last year:

The Rummel Motel sign in Las Vegas, NV was removed last year. I don’t know if it wound up at the Neon Museum or if it was scrapped:

These signs in Las Vegas, NV were vintage holdouts. The restaurant closed last year and these were removed. I don’t believe any of the surviving locations have these:

That’s a wrap for this post. I’ll be picking up with the “O” states for the next one. I think I can squeeze in a couple more posts before the big summer trip (starts June 4).

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs