Website Update News #19: Signs (#6)

Here’s another lengthy post. I think this is more sign losses than last year. Picking back up with the “N” pages…

The Norge Ball in Long Beach, CA:

has been updated with a new band around the middle:

This Norge Village sign in Coalville, UT is gone now:

Finally, some good news! This Elks Lodge sign in Hawthorne, NV:

… was repainted and the neon restored in 2020:

This sign in Reno, NV (and the motel itself) are gone now.

This sign in Las Vegas, NV is gone now. I’m hoping that The Neon Museum got it but I’m waiting to hear back from them:

The Ruby Slipper on East Fremont in Las Vegas was removed recently. It was modeled after the Silver Slipper sign and built in 2007 for the City of Las Vegas. I assume that it’s in storage somewhere. I can’t find anything about it online. The Silver Slipper sign was restored by The Neon Museum and is installed in the median next to the museum:

This store in New York City closed in 2020 and the sign is gone now:

A little good news!! The Levinson’s Uniforms sign in Cuyahoga Falls, OH was missing in the most recent StreetView. I never got to shoot this one but here it was in 2020:

After some digging online, I finally found out that the sign was restored and repurposed — from Richard K. Levitz Twitter post a couple of months ago:
https://twitter.com/rklevitz/status/1486047380180979720/photo/1

This sign in Mansfield, OH is gone now. The business now has a modern, backlit plastic sign:

This sign in Tulsa, OK is gone now. The motel suffered a fire in 2019 and was demolished the following year:

This sign in Tulsa is also gone now:

The Kellogg Bowl in Milwaukie, OR closed in 2020. This sign is gone now (just the pole remains):

The other two signs are still there…. for now:

This pretty plastic and neon sign in Ontario, OR:

was repurposed around 2018 for a window tinting store:

and now it’s been adapted for a heating business with the paintbrush turned into a fireplace:

Let’s end with that. I’ll be back probably later this week with more.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Website Update News #18: Signs (#5)

I didn’t think I’d be posting so quickly but the discoveries have been numerous and brutal. And I’m only in the middle of the “N” states.

This sign in Hardin, MT was originally installed on a rooftop as shown here:

It was recently removed and installed in front of the motel, replacing a less exciting box sign:

The Herrin Brothers building in Charlotte, NC was demolished in 2020 and the sign is gone:

This sign in Wilson, NC was originally installed for the Coral Room:

It was repurposed many times for different restaurants. It is gone now – just the restaurant panel remains:

This sign in Fargo, ND is gone now. The business moved in 2020 and the sign was removed then. It’s not at the new location.

This sign in Grand Forks, ND is gone now. A new liquor store moved in and remodeled the building:

This sign in Grand Forks, ND is gone now. It was leaning at such a precarious angle for years that I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did:

This beauty from 1935 in Hoboken, NJ is gone now. I tried to find out what happened to it but I don’t think it’s being restored and there’s hope of its return since the supports on the building are gone.

This sign in Lake Como, NJ is gone now:

This motel in Farmington, NM suffered a fire in 2017 and was demolished in 2020. This sign is gone now:

These signs in Raton, NM are pretty much gone now:

This sign in Gallup, NM is gone now:

Be back soon with more.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Website Update News #17: Signs (#4)

Ready for another heartbreaking round? The Volk Cleaners sign in Louisville, KY is gone now. The Patrick’s sign on the right is still there:

This Rexall sign in Richmond, IN is gone now:

Here are the cheesey signs that replaced it:

This sign in New Orleans is gone now. I suspect it was destroyed by a hurricane:

This place in Dearborn Heights, MI is gone, the building demolished, and the sign is gone:

This sign in Flint, MI is gone now:

I believe this sign in Grand Rapids, MI started out as a Buick sign:

It’s now been repainted for another used car dealership:

This sign in Grand Rapids is gone now:

This sign in Port Huron, MI:

has been painted and updated with backlit plastic letters. Bummer. But the good news is, the bigger sign hasn’t been changed:

This sign in Brewster, MN is gone now:

This restaurant and sign in Minneapolis are gone now:

This motel and sign in Excelsior Springs, MO are gone now:

This sign in Independence, MO:

is now missing its letters:

This sign in Jackson, MS is gone now:

That’s enough tragedy for now. I’ll be back very soon.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Website Update News #16: Signs (#3)

One quick update on the University Hills Plaza sign in Denver, CO that was included in the last post. My personal Denver scout, Corky Scholl, drove by and saw that the letters were back up on the sign. The neon has been replaced with LED tubing The Google car just caught the image while it was being updated.

This big post covers Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Kansas. I hate to report that it’s all bad news.

This sign in Cedar Rapids, IA… :

has been replaced with new plastic panels and LED tubing:

This sign in Woodbine, IA is gone now:

This sign in Lava Hot Springs, ID is gone now:

This jewelry store in Centralia, IL closed and the sign is gone now:

The Willowbrook Ballroom in Willow Springs, IL was destroyed by fire in 2016. It was recently demolished and the sign is gone now:

This store in Mendota, IL has closed and the sign is gone:

This store in Midlothian, IL has also closed and the sign is gone:

The star on top of this sign in South Holland, IL is gone now:

The Zimmerman Ford sign in St. Charles, IL is gone now:

This sign in Chicago is gone now:

This sign in New Albany, IN was removed in 2019 when the building was being renovated:

In 2021, it looks like the work is nearly done. The small sign on the left has returned but I don’t know if the big sign will really be coming back. I can’t imagine they’re going to cover up those windows:

On to Kansas where there were lots of losses and bad makeovers. This pharmacy in Cimarron, KS moved across the street. The sign appears to be gone:

The signs at this motel in Fort Scott, KS are gone now:

This sign in Kansas City, KS is gone now:

These signs in Moundridge, KS are gone now:

This sign in Russell, KS is gone now:

This sign in Salina, KS had its neon removed and got a terrible paint job. Here’s the “before”:

and now:

This sign in Wathena, KS has also had the neon removed and been repainted. The “before”:

and now:

And lastly, this adapted sign in Wichita, KS is gone now:

I’ll be back this weekend, if not sooner, with more.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Website Update News #15: Signs (#2)

Here’s another installment of recent sign news. The Custer’s Gift Shop sign in Covina, CA had been missing the middle panel since around 2017 and now the entire sign is gone:

The Anatel Liquors signs in Downey, CA are gone now. Here’s the “before”

and what’s there now:

This ginormous arrow in Fresno, CA is gone now:

Here’s a real kick to the gut. The wonderful Pagano’s sign in San Leandro, CA:

has been stripped and repainted for a new business – ugh…:

Capitol Burgers in Los Angeles closed in 2019 and this sign is gone now:

The sign at the Kirby Dr. location of Houston Shoe Hospital in Houston, TX:

was painted black last year. However, after feedback from the owners and the public, they have repainted it back to the previous color scheme.

Speaking of shoe signs, I’m working on my next SCA Journal article about these. The magazine will be out at the end of the year. Here’s the companion page I’ve started building at my website:

https://www.roadarch.com/sca/shoes.html

This sign in Springfield, CO is missing at the most recent StreetView. The Main Cafe has been gone for years but other restaurants have operated beneath this sign. The vertical support is still on the building but I don’t know if the sign is being restored, adapted, or a new sign is about to take its place:

The University Hills Plaza sign in Denver, CO got an unfortunate makeover. Here’s the before:

And here’s the “after”. The channel letters and neon have been removed. I suppose there’s a remote chance that they letters are off at shop being restored. That top panel has some fabric type covering. But I think it’s more likely that there will soon be backlit plastic letters:

The Kirby & Holloway Family Restaurant in Dover, DE was devastated by a fire in 2014 and demolished the next year. The sign hung in there until last year:

Articles stated that the sign would be adapted for a new car wash but it was not:

This sign in Bartow, FL is gone now:

The Ball & Chain sign in Miami, FL has been removed. I contacted one of the owners and he said that the City insisted it be removed. The owners are fighting to have it deemed “historically significant” so that it can be rehung:

This sign in Pensacola, FL is gone now — and so is the entire building that housed Felton Lanes:

I’m off to start working on the “I” states (Iowa, Illinois, etc.). I’ll be back next weekend.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Website Update News #14:  Signs (#1 of ??)

For sign lovers, this is going to be a heartbreaking post. I’m really looking forward to hitting the road again (March or April, depending on when I can finish this project) and sharing GOOD news with new photos of things that are still out there. But for now, let’s get on with it.

This sign in Birmingham, AL is gone now. The building had been vacant for years but the sign was still there last spring:

This sign in North Little Rock, AR is gone now:

The Se-Tay Motel in Casa Grande, AZ has had a makeover. Brace yourself. Here’s the “before”:

The neon is all gone and the sign has been garishly repainted:

Last year, the neon “Motel” letters on this sign in Mesa, AZ were replaced with chunky backlit plastic letters:

Hinkley’s Lighting in Phoenix, AZ closed that location last year and has been moving their stock to the Scottsdale location. The signs have been removed and are now at one of the company’s warehouses. The giant, bulb-festooned rooftop chandelier is still there for the now while the owner decides what to do with it.

This Bekins Storage sign in Phoenix, AZ was adapted last year:

The “Happy Bear” sign in Long Beach, CA has been repainted for a new business name. The bear actually looks a little nicer now. Here’s the “before”:

and the after:

This drug store in Avenal, CA has closed and a different one has taken its place. This sign is gone now:

The Torches Motel sign in Barstow, CA has been reworked a bit. Here’s the “before”:

and the “after” with a plain text panels on top and bottom. The neon letters in the middle are now backlit plastic. A little torch has been added to the top. The Color TV sign remains:

This ripple tin sign in Placerville, CA is gone now. The store closed in 2019 and there’s another jewelry store there now:

This restaurant and sign in Riverside, CA are gone now:

This former Travelodge sign in Santa Maria, CA is gone now:

Maya Shoe Repair in Santa Monica, CA has closed and this sign is gone now:

This sign in Victorville, CA has been repainted. The “before”:

and now:

The Rancho Verde Motel sign in Blythe, CA… :

is laying on the ground in the 2021 Google Street View:

This sign in Catheys Valley, CA is gone now:

This one breaks my heart. I never got to photograph this one in Clearlake, CA. The sign recently got scooped up by a sign seller. Here’s a decent representation from Google Street View:

Good news/bad news, I guess. The Owl Cafe in Cloverdale, CA is now El Milagro Mexican restaurant but the owl sign is still there:

However, the pole sign has been screwed up. The before:

Note the revolving piece at the top has a little owl face on one side — and those panels are still there (for now?):

But the top text panels has been changed and the other two and removed:

That’s enough for now and I’m only about halfway through California. I’ll be back this weekend with more sign “news”.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Website Update News #13: Gas Stations

This is another mega section with about 300 pages. There are lots of casualties in this big post. I’m only including the most noteworthy. There were lots of other buildings that have been repainted, transitioned to different car repair businesses, tire stores, car washes, and the like.

This former station in Arbuckle, CA was demolished around 2020:

This former station in Cedar Rapids, IA housed a hair salon for many years. When the sign was removed recently, it revealed the Art Deco “oil products” letters:

That identifies it as a former Standard Oil station like this one in Brooklyn IA:

This former Conoco station in Kinsley, KS has been demolished:

This former Phillips 66 station in Kansas City, KS was demolished around 2020:

The former Pure Oil station in Hollandale, MS is gone now:

The long-vacant station in Jamestown, NC was adapted for a restaurant around 2020 and an addition was added to the left side. It now houses the Black Powder Smokehouse:

This canopy in Hawthorne, NV is gone now. It was most likely a Wilshire station originally with the top part of the spear-like supports moved many years ago:

This former station in Castleton-on-Hudson, NY is gone now:

This former Gulf station in New Washington, OH:

is now missing those porcelain panels:

This former Phillips 66 in Brunswick, OH was demolished around 2020:

This little former station in Drumright, OK:

now has fresh paint and houses Cannabis Alley:

Several other long-vacant gas stations in Oklahoma have been recently repurposed as cannabis shops. Here’s a former Phillips 66 from Bristow, OK:

This former Cities Service station in Tulsa, OK was restored in 2010. Last year, LED tubing was added to the letters on the building:

This former Gulf station in Tamaqua, PA is gone now:

This former Pure Oil station in Elizabethton, TN is gone now:

This former station in San Antonio, TX:

got some wild paint recently for a pizza place:

This former Ball station in Wellington, TX was a wreck for many years:

Late last year it got a new roof and canopy:

This former Gulf station in Big Spring, TX…:

was being renovated in 2021. The porcelain panels are gone now but somewhat similar bands on the building and a new canopy were added:

Next up at this blog with be the Signs section. That will probably be multiple posts.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Website Update News #12: Eateries – Part 2

The Dairy Sweet sign panels in Nashua, IA are gone gone. The place is now known as Dairy Treat:

This former International House of Pancakes in Oakland, CA was demolished around last year:

This one in Denton, TX is also gone:

This cool building in Grand Rapids, MI last housed an ice cream place. I don’t know what was here originally. The building was vacant by 2018 and now it’s gone:

The Peanut Shoppe in Erie, PA closed last year. The place was packed with vintage stuff. It’s now a mini market but the neon sign remains:

Dome’s Nut Shop in Lima, OH closed at the end of 2020:

I believe the Burgertown location in Beaverton, OR was the last vintage location left in the chain. There are a couple dozen locations left in Oregon and Washington. This one closed in 2019 and the building now houses a meat market. The signs are gone:

The former Sambo’s in Ogden, UT now has a new tenant and has been repainted:

The former Sandy’s Hamburgers location in Topeka, KS:

was badly damaged last year when it was being prepared to begin housing Churchill’s tobacco shop. It appears that the original building shape is intact but it is now covered with brown siding. The original tile on the sides looks like it is gone now:

The long-closed Caravan Drive-in in Greenwood, SC was demolished around 2020 and replaced with a Dollar General. This canopy is gone now:

The Tastee-Freez in West Chicago, IL

is now operating as Jalapeno Burgers. The ice cream cone has been stripped of its neon and…

now has some sort of cheap vinyl covering which has already ripped off at the top in the photo above. I don’t know why they didn’t just repaint it — the cone looks stupidly skinny over the wider cone. And are those mint leaves on the ice cream? Truly odd:

The former Tastee-Freez in Manassas, VA was demolished in 2019:

This former Tastee-Freez in Pensacola, FL was demolished around 2020. A Discount Tire there now:

The former Tastee-Freez in Sapulpa, OK (Happy Burger since 1974) replaced these corrugated plastic panels on top of the sign around 2020:

but it’s a pretty close approximation of the originals:

Hut’s Hamburgers in Austin, TX closed in 2019:

The building and sign were adapted last year for Sammie’s Italian Restaurant:

This sweet little thing in Smithfield, UT is gone now:

Around 2020, the Knight’s Diner in Spokane, WA added a 1907 caboose. It is installed right next to the 1906 former dining railway car restaurant and is used for food preparation:

And that’s a wrap for the Eateries section. I’ll be back with updates from the Gas Station section soon.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Website Update News #12: Eateries – Part 1

Here come the restaurants, ice cream stands, and the like.

This Griff’s Burger Bar in Arvada, CO closed in 2015. It was demolished in 2020 or 2021:

This Whataburger in Marshall, TX had been adapted with the drive-in canopy in front walled up. Then, around 2020, this vintage building was demolished and a new one built on the lot:

This former A&W “pilgrim hat” building in Menlo Park, CA

… is vacant and looks endangered with new construction going on nearby:

This one in Loveland, CO was demolished around last year – replaced with a Culver’s:

This former Burger Chef in Portland, OR:

is now housing a cannabis store:

The former Bob’s Big Boy in Las Vegas, NV caught fire last year and was demolished:

The Fannie May Candies in La Grange, IL is still open. However….

the vitrolite tiles and canopies shown above were replaced and there are tacky plastic letters on the facade now. Such a crime:

This ice cream stand in Cleveland, OH is closed and the sign was removed last year:

This “crown roof” Denny’s in Kansas City, MO was demolished last year:

This former Dairy Queen sign in Detroit, MI was removed around 2020:

The Dairy Queen signs at the Bisbee, AZ location:

have been replaced with modern logo signs:

The El Taco sign panels in San Pedro, CA have been replaced. Here’s what the sign looked like before 2021:

and now:

The Foster’s Freeze in Gilroy, CA closed around last year and this sign is gone now:

The Caspers Famous Hot Dogs location in Albany, CA has closed and these signs have been removed:

This Maid-Rite location in Toledo, IA closed in 2020 and this sign is gone now:

I’m just getting started with this section but this post is already long enough. I’ll be back soon with more.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Website Update News #11: Movie Theatres

I pounded through more than 130 pages of the Theatres section at my website and here are the most noteworthy discoveries.

The Saguaro Theatre in Wickenburg, AZ has added some neon to its facade and letters to its sign. My photo from 2019:

and now:

The Lorenzo Theatre in San Lorenzo, CA has been vacant since 1982:

But miracles sometimes happen it is now being restored! A very cool video about the project is here:
https://www.facebook.com/AlamedaCountyECD/videos/6857421234328874/

The long-closed Desert Theatre in Indio, CA…:

was devastated by a fire in late 2020. It seems unlikely that it will be rebuilt.

The Arcadia Theatre in Kerrville, TX has a new look and has reopened as a live performance venue. Here’s what it looked like since 1948:

In 2020, the facade and sign were replaced to look more like the original. I believe the 1948 sign was moved to the back of the building.


This is a trend with movie theatres: remove perfectly functional neon signs (evenly recently restored) and marquees with readerboards and replace with schlocky “replicas” approximately the originals. I get being historic and being proud of how old something is for a community… but I really think the detail of the facade fell short and the sign looks pretty cheese-y. Here are a couple of 1920s photos:

The Des Moines Theatre sign in Des Moines, WA is missing right now but it will be back when renovations are done to the building:

I’m not a fan of the new building but hey:

the original building was pretty drab:

Four sections to go but they are massive. Next up will be Eateries (restaurants, fast food chains, etc.)

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs