SoCal Mini Trip

I got out of town for little shooting down in the L.A. area to take advantage of last week’s three-day holiday weekend.  I’ve caught up with my winter projects and have the big June trip all planned out.  It’s so great to be shooting again!  I’ve already added those photos to my website but I have some “leftover” signs for this blog post.  If you didn’t know, most of things that I post to my blog never get the prestige status of inclusion at my website.  Instead of three separate posts (usually, I do one post per day’s shooting), I’ll just give you one big whammy this time.

Let’s start with this sign in North Hollywood:




This one hangs on in L.A. although the market is gone:


This Elks Lodge sign is in Arcadia.  The text panel must be porcelain under the paint and, surely, it had neon originally:



Here’s a three-fer from L.A.  Be prepared to be chased off if you want to shoot the canopy sign (last photo):





Some nice freestanding letters in Manhattan Beach:



Also in Manhattan Beach: a super cute plastic sign detail from the “Whale of a Wash” laundromat sign:



A two-fer from Commerce:




A fun sign in South Gate — surely that atomic thingie on top must have (maybe still does?) flashed in 3-part animation:



I love the crusty rust on this one at a liquor store in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of L.A.  The neon tubing sure looks intact:



In Highland Park.  One of the best arrows ever, right?  The letters were originally neon and the “Highland Park” bit is a later add-on.  Here’s a vintage photo of when the sign was blue and much prettier:



I don’t know what this sign in San Bernardino advertised for originally.  It was painted blue for another thrift store back in 2007:



This star is installed on top of the Downtown Motel 7 sign in San Bernardino.  The rest of the sign is not worth including, believe me.



A (mostly) surviving Color Tile sign in Bellflower.  These guys are getting super rare:

Here’s an example of one that I shot in Yakima, WA in 2008.  By 2012, the business was gone and so were all of the signs:

A small shopping center sign in Azusa that pays tribute to the mountains of the Angeles National Forest in the distance:


A neglected arrow sign in Gardena installed on the roof of a tire shop:



An empty frame at a liquor store in Compton.  More than likely, each square spelled out “L-I-Q-U-O-R” with the bottom rectangle used for something else (beer? wine? biz name? hours?):



Another liquor sign — this one with quadruple stroke neon at Friendly Liquor in Gardena:


A really big, mysterious arch over this discount store in South Gate.  In 2007, it was white; then it was yellow and then white again; and red since 2019.  Note how the arch continues down to the ground on the left.



I made it out to the desert to shoot some things.  One of the places on my list was this little private collection in Joshua Tree.   The property functions as “Bungalow in the Boulders”, a bed & breakfast.  There’s also a bottle house there.  Here are some of the signs:









Two more signs for this post.  This is a new one from 2016 in downtown L.A.  The Piano Lofts building once housed the Story & Clark piano factory:

And here’s the McDonald’s sign from 1959 in Downey getting some TLC by the sign company.  This photo makes you appreciate just how big Speedee really is:


I ran out of time and sun last weekend. So, I might head down to finish up next Saturday.  I’ve also got some San Diego Area, Bay Area,  and Vegas Area trips planned.  I want to make sure that Sparkle is running as perfect as can be before the big summer trip in June.  So, lots more photos & posts soon.  In the meantime, you might enjoy my Instagram and Flickr posts.  Of course, the real deal is the website:  my life’s focus for the past 20 years.

Happy trails,

dj & the dogs

Website Updating — Done! O thru W

Here it is:  the final installment of a gruesome and grueling project.  So much loss in the past couple of years.  I know it’s devastating but  I’m hoping it will be a motivator for everybody to get out on the road while we still have things to see and shoot.  Don’t forget to give a wave & a thumbs-up as you are out there shooting the sign/building/statue or go inside and to tell the business owner how much you love – REALLY REALLY LOVE — their sign/bldg/statue.  Count the ways of how it stands out among all the dreck, how beautiful it is, and how it is huge attention-getter for  potential customers, how important it is to the community as history and art, while a personal marker for locals and an attraction for tourists.  I know, I’m preaching to the choir.  But if you could just gush a lot to whoever is manning the register inside and/or the manager, I KNOW that it really does make a difference.

Enough of my lecture.  Let’s move on to some more bad news, shall we?

Starting in Ohio.  In Lorain, OH, this sign is gone:

This one in Cincinnati, OH — gone:

As for Oregon, this one in Baker City, OR — gone

In Pennsylvania — this revolving M&Z Carpet sign in Harrisburg, PA

has been updated with backlit plastic letters.  The neon borders also gone:

From the Rexall Signs section: these signs in Idaho Falls, ID are gone:

only the little plastic Rexall panel on the far left remains:

These signs in Chicago, IL are also gone:


In Reese, MI — also gone:

In South Carolina, this beauty in Orangeburg is gone:


As for South Dakota, this one in Aberdeen is gone:


In Tennessee, this one in Nashville is gone:

A bunch of signs in Texas have disappeared — the heaviest hit city was El Paso.
The Gran Mercado sign:

and these:


This one…

… has been painted over in this mess:



In Houston, TX, this one is gone:

In Austin, TX, this one on Lamar is gone (the identical sign on Guadelupe is still there):


This one in San Marcos, TX.

… has been replaced with this:



As for Utah, this one in Blanding has been replaced with a boring plastic box:


In Washington, this one in Anacortes is gone:


This one in Grandview, WA is gone:

The neon and hand painted mountains on this sign in Sedro-Woolley, WA….

… has been replaced with backlit plastic letters and peaks:



The Elephant Car Wash in Tacoma, WA closed and was replaced with another car wash.  This sign …

…was altered/repainted like this:


The surviving Elephant Car Wash signs are at my website here:

In Ephrata, WA, this sign’s neon text has been removed and the panels covered up with other panels for another business.  Luckily, they left the dragon alone:


In Fife, WA, this sign disappeared due to major roadwork next to it.   When I spoke with the desk clerk, he wasn’t sure if the sign would be reinstalled or if something new would replace it:


In West Virginia, this one in Charleston is gone now:

And lastly, from Wisconsin, this one in Lander is, you got it, gone:


So, that’s that.  My website is as current as can be with all 72,000 or so external links checked, countless Google Streetview maps checked.  Not a fun task but necessary and never finished.  I predict next winter’s posts will be just as heartbreaking.  But, on the bright side, there are miraculously thousands of other signs still in place, as well as thousands of statues and buildings sure to amaze and make you smile.  Have a look at your favorite sections or use that search box below the yellow bar on the top left at any page to look for cities, biz names, etc.  Favorite “” so you can plan your future adventures.

That’s just what I’m about to do!  I keep huge lists for every state of things that I want to shoot and reshoot.  I’ll be doing a few roadtrips here in California in the next few months to test out my van, camera, laptop, and aging body before embarking on the big 5-week trip to the Southeast in June.  The next posts will be much more cheerful as I document things that still exist and things that you’ll want to add to your own to-shoot lists.

Happy trails and happy 2020!
dj & the dogs


Website Updating Homestretch: K thru N

I’ve got a whole bunch of news for you since I am happy (relieved!) to report that I’m done with this winter project and I can get on with happier things.  To avoid the world’s longest post, I’m going to split this into two (still fairly huge) posts.  The last section of this mega-website-task was Signs.  I present the most noteworthy news for the states beginning with “K”.  Get a stiff drink — it’s going to be painful.

Let’s start in Louisville, KY where the KDC sign…

… which has been covered up with crappy panels that kinda/sorta (barely) mimic the design underneath:

Moving on to Michigan.  This sign in Grand Rapids, MI is gone now:


Also gone — in Richmond, MI:


This sign in Saginaw, MI…

was reworked by 2011 but the really nice AMF panel remained:

The sign is now nothing but the two pole stumps.

Some good news from Christmas, MI.  This sign….

… has recently been repainted (or maybe replicated):



A bunch of signs in Minnesota are gone now including this one in Austin, MN:

These two (the “turn here” and the one in front of the motel itself) in Deer River, MN — gone:


This beauty in Elk River, MN – gone:

This one in Grand Rapids, MN

was replaced with this thing:



This one in Maplewood, MN:
[check out how gorgeous it was at night here:

has been stripped:



This one in Ely, MN — was “picked” by American Pickers.  Their gleeful video at FB made me sick to my stomach and furious.  It’s one thing bargaining with old collectors for their motorcycle parts that have been gathering dust in barns for decades but quite another thing grabbing history and art from communities that have practically nothing to offer tourists and locals.  I bet you they couldn’t ditch the corrugated plastic panel fast enough.


The one in Sebeka, MN

… has been destroyed with backlit plastic letters:



Moving on to Missouri.  This one in Cape Girardeau, MO is gone:


This one at a plumbing business in Chillicothe, MO — gone:


This one in St. Joseph, MO — yep, gone.  Note the wonderful two-phase arrow at the bottom:


In St. Louis, MO — gone:

This one in Raytown, MO — gone:


This Vickers gas station sign in Independence, MO — gone:


Also in Independence, MO, this beautiful sign…

…has been brutally altered.  The neon removed and bottom panels painted over:



Moving on to New Mexico.  This one in Carlsbad, NM is gone:

This one in Espanola, NM… gone:


This one in Farmington, NM — uh huh, gone:


This sign in Hobbs, NM

is missing a major chunk now:

This one in Ruidoso, NM — gone:

In Raton, NM, this sign is gone (a Travelodge there now):


In Albuquerque, NM, the Master Cleaners is gone and so is this guy:


Moving on to Nevada.  This sign in Jean, NV...

… has been adapted.  Google doesn’t have a good shot but the letter bulbs are gone – replaced with either neon or LED.  I think the borders are just painted.



Reno, NV took a heavy hit this past year and last.  There are dirty sandy lots all over town — soon to be horrible modern towers.  I think some or all of these signs are stashed in developers hands for now.  There has been some talk in news articles of displaying them in town somewhere but it’s pretty vague and might be just to keep people quiet long enough that they’ll forget about their loss.


As for Las Vegas, NV, a bit of good news:  The Golden Goose Casino under the Fremont canopy is gone but the statue was saved, restored and is now spinning at Fremont & 10th.  I promise this video will cheer you up:

The baseball player statue from the Vegas Club & Casino was removed at the same time as the goose.  I believe he’s still in storage for now:


Only one sign to report from New York.  This sign from Watkins Glen, NY was auctioned off when the restaurant closed.  It’s now in a private collection:


Lastly, from the “N”s and my “Norge Ball” section.  This one in Louisville, KY is gone now:


The Norge Ball in San Mateo, CA

… has been replaced with this round but flat thing:


So, that’s quite enough.  I’ll be back later tonight with the final post of this series.  I know you can hardly wait.

dj & the dogs



Website Updating: Signs Pt. 2

One notable recent loss in Edgewater, FL — the company was bought out and this sign was removed:


On a positive note (for a change), this sign in Dublin, GA

… was missing the doggie for a few years, and then the sign was entirely restored or repainted recently.  This is the best angle I could get at Google & couldn’t find anything better online:

This sign and the restaurant in Weiser, ID are gone now:


I’ve been following all the hard work and restorations of the Relight the Neon organization in Pocatello, ID but somehow I missed this one.  This Independent Order of Odd Fellows sign:

was restored a couple of years ago:
Here comes a bunch of losses in Illinois.  This sign in Anna, IL is gone:

This sign in South Beloit, IL –— gone:

This one in Villa Park, IL…. gone:

This one in Chicago, IL is gone:

Some mixed news from St. Charles, IL:  This sign is still there but the top lettering has been changed — no neon, just paint — for Hawk Ford:

Unfortunately, this sign which was around back, is gone now:

A couple of losses in Indiana.   This sign in Franklin, IN is gone now:


and this beauty in Michigan City, IN is also gone:



Moving on to Kansas.  The Crown Rug signs in Kansas City, KS are gone:



This sign in Salina, KS…

… has been repainted.  I think the neon is still there but it’s hard to tell.  Too bad that the AAA logo is gone but I’m happy that the readerboard survives:



I’m pretty sure I wrote about this poor sign in Henderson, KY last year at this time.  This beauty:

had been transformed into this hideous thing:

Well, it’s been changed up again:

These two signs in Owensboro, KY are gone now:


Let’s end this post on a positive note.  This sign in Lake Charles, LA had abandoned for years.  It was standing on a vacant lot when I shot it last in 2018 and really seemed doomed:

But!  The sign was rescued and the “Burger” (which was already a patch panel anyway) was swapped for “Music” and the neon was restored for a new business downtown:


From their website:


That’s a wrap for a while.  I’m moving on to Massachusetts now (virtually, of course).  I’ll be back in a week or so with more.

Happy trails,

dj & the dogs

Website Updating: Signs Pt. 1

I’m proceeding through the webpages, as I do just about everything in life, in alphabetical order.  So, here are the “discoveries” (losses and triumphs) from Arizona to California.

Let’s start with the Valencia Market in Tucson, AZ.  Around last year, the sign was replaced with a neon-less replica.  Luckily, the original sign was saved and is located at the Ignite Sign Art Museum in Tucson.  Here’s the original…

… and what’s there now (not quite the same Art Deco side trim, and, boy, that font is horrid, isn’t it?):


Not by state alpha order but these two are from the “Bears” page:  the Happy Bear signs at my website here:

This sign in Ida, MI is gone now:

as is this one in Yakima, WA:

What follows is about a dozen news items from California.   Finally, some good news!  This sign in Bay Point, CA has been repainted.  Here’s what it looked like for years:

and since about a year ago:

This old 7-Eleven sign in Davis, CA has been replaced with a modern sign:

The twin Mayan Hotel signs in El Centro, CA….

… have been painted black and now have plastic letters:



Also, in El Centro, CA, not only are these signs gone but the building was also demolished:


The Cinderella Motel sign in Hollister, CA

… has been repainted (and the bulb arrow is missing):



The Kieffe & Sons Ford dealership in Rosamond, CA is gone and so is this sign:


Frank’s Fish Market in Salinas, CA is gone and so is this sign:

This sign in Victorville, CA

… no longer has neon and has been covered up with crappy signs for a couple of years now:


The Spur sign in Yuba City, CA is gone now:


The Meltdown Comics store in Los Angeles, CA closed in 2018 and this modern sign (stuck onto a vintage panel) is gone now:


This sign in Los Angeles, CA

… was removed in 2018 and reinstalled recently.  Here’s what it looks like now:

The Hotel Marshall signs in Sacramento, CA have been removed during major building rehab.  Fingers crossed that some of the signs return when they are done:


Several signs in San Jose, CA have been removed in the past year or so.  Here are just a few:


I assume  that the former Dick’s Supermarket sign panels:

are gone for good now:
But one bit of good news in San Jose though (in addition to the restoration of the Dancing Pig sign), is that the Time Deli sign….

is still there (with a new tenant below):


That’s enough for one post!  I’ll be back in a few mins. with Florida thru Louisiana.

Take care,

dj & the dogs





Website Updating: Mid-Century Modern

I’m down to the final section (signs) of my winter updating project.  I’m about halfway through that so it’s time for a few blog posts.  I think I can wrap things up in a week or so.  Then, I’ll take a few local-ish roadtrips and start planning the big summer trip.


Here are some of the biggest losses from the past year or two. Got the Kleenex or alcohol handy?  If my blog posts are new to you, the photos are mine while the “afters” are captures from Google Street View.

The former Hyatt Lodge in Port Huron, MI was branded as a Super 7 Motel when I took these photos in 2011.  It later was painted blue and known as the Main Street Lodge & Suites.  By early last year, the building had been demolished.

This round mid-century modern bank in Boulder, CO last housed a Wells Fargo.  It was surrounded by chain link fencing in 2018… and now it’s gone:


This former Big Top store in Denver, CO was demolished in 2018.  Luckily, there are still a few surviving buildings:


This sweet Crest Inn in Reno, NV was remodeled last year:

Here’s the “after” showing what it looks like now as the “Renova Flat” – ugh:


I never did solve the mystery of this dome in Cleveland, OH — when it was built and for what.  It was demolished around 2018:


This former  National City Bank building in Tiffin, OH was demolished around 2018.  Luckily, it’s twin in Findlay, OH survives:

This St. Peter’s Church in Akron, OH was also demolished around 2018:

These two former Fotomats in Ohio are gone now.  This one in Canton, OH was gone by 2017:

and this one in Hamilton, OH was gone by 2018:

This building in Eastlake, OH was gone by 2018.  It may have housed a moving & storage place originally:

The St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Provo, UT  was demolished about a year ago:

The Global Credit Union building in Spokane, WA was demolished about a year ago:

The Midland County Courthouse in Midland, TX was demolished in 2015. Google Street View is behind in many smaller towns & states.  Sometimes, the newest photos are from 2013:


This building in Amarillo, TX was demolished in 2018.  I never did figure out what was housed here originally:

The First Pasadena State Bank Building in Pasadena, TX was demolished last year.  It had been vacant since at least 2005:


I’ll be back in just a few minutes with the first post about signs.  I promise, it won’t be all bad news!

dj & the dogs

Website Updating: Gas Stations & Eateries

I’ve gotten through another 700 pages or so of my website with this winter project.  Time for a post.  The good news is that most of the thousands of buildings in these two sections are still standing and remain basically unchanged for the past couple of years.  Let’s talk gas stations first.

This station in Fresno, CA is no more.  Vacant for many years, probably spared by its location on the outskirts.  Demolished in the last year or so — now a big dirt lot:

This long neglected former Conoco station in Chicago, IL now has a strange, second floor addition.  Here’s the “before”:

And the ugly, what-the-hell “after” look courtesy of Google Street View from last year.  I guess that would be a living space and make the building more sell-able?  Still surrounded with chain link though and looking rough otherwise:


This former station in Lynn, MA has been vacant and looked increasingly rough for decades.  My photo from 2009:

Surprise!  Last year, it apparently got some scrubbing and paint (grey is better than nothing).  I’m so glad they kept the clock.  In fact, the time is different so maybe they even fixed it?



I had long admired this station in Brookline, MA.  Here’s a photo I took in 2004 when there were still pumps:

In 2007, it found new life as a restaurant:

It housed a couple of other restaurants after that until it was demolished last year.  Google SV shows what they are planning for the lot — a stacked-up mess of a building, if you ask me:


This surviving Mobil station in New Ulm, MN was too good to be true to survive much longer I guess.  Here are a couple of photo that I took in 2012:

There are still some Eliot Noyes-designed 1960s Mobil cylinder pumps out there (mostly in North Carolina).  But now there are six left of them.  Last year-ish, the building was completely remodeled (or new building with same footprint) for a real estate office and the pumps & signs were gone.  Here’s the current, boring look:



This nice (and super rare) vertical, neon Gulf sign in Whitehouse, NJ survived until 2017:

While the Gulf station (building nothing special, believe me) survives and is still operating, here’s what has been erected in the sign’s place (yeah, dullsville backlit plastic letters):


This gas station in Mumford, NY was built in 1933.  When I first saw it in 2005, it was operating as a CITGO station.  But the building was vacant by 2010 and started going downhill.

Miraculously, earlier this year, the building got cleaned up and now houses a gift shop (yes, the pump & island & pump lights are gone):


This time-capsule, restored Texaco in La Grande, OR with operating pumps…

… was sold around 2018.  The pumps have been removed and I’m sure the memorabilia inside the office and bays are gone.  The signs and stars on the building remain but the lot is used for truck parking.  Sigh.

This former Texaco in Portland, OR had been repurposed a number of times over the years.  A teriyaki restaurant in 2008:

The Hawaiian Time restaurant in 2015:

Then, the building was demolished last year.  Here’s what’s going up on the lot right now:



This former Amoco station in Clarksburg, WV still had its porcelain panels until…

around last year when the building was refaced with stone:




This former station in Canton, OH housed an auto repair and towing business for many years:

Earlier this year, the building go some unfortunate orange paint and began housing Walkie Talkie Espresso & Coffee:




Let’s move on to the EATERIES section.

Another vintage Big Boy statue is gone.  This one was in Coldwater, MI:

Actually, I think the statue was vintage but the burger was a later replacement.  The truly vintage burgers were shorter and more rounded.  That Coldwater location closed around last year.  The good news, there are still lots of these statue left in Michigan (and elsewhere):


This castle-style Burger King in Buena Park, CA is gone now.   Earlier this year, the building was remodeled (castle details gone) and it now houses a Starbucks:


This long-vacant, former Orange Julius in Los Angeles, CA…

… began housing the Ktchn Sandwich Spot earlier this year:


The Fosters Freeze sign in Berkeley, CA

… was repainted around last year:


This former Howard Johnson’s gatehouse building in New Castle, DE was demolished earlier this year:

This former Howard Johnson’s restaurant building in San Luis Obispo, CA…

… began housing the Taco Temple earlier this year:


Lastly, a couple of cute, small buildings in Texas are gone now.  Vick’s Famous Hamburgers in Corpus Christi moved to another location last year and this building was demo-ed:

The Dale’s Grand Burger Foto-mat-ish building in Amarillo disappeared last year:


There are just two sections left to comb for this winter’s project (Signs & Mid-Century Modern Buildings) but they are the biggest.  So, you won’t be hearing from me for at least a few weeks.   Wishing you all the best for the holidays and 2020!!

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Website Updating Report #3

Are you braced for more bad news?  Actually, most of the following stories are pretty upbeat.   I’ve been pounding away here.  I’m about halfway through this grueling winter project.  After this post, I have just five sections to go but they are the biggest and comprise about half of my website:  theatres, gas stations, eateries, mid-century, and signs.   I have about 2,700 pages at my website at this point.  I’m not counting the number of photos but I know it’s over 60,000 (the last time I counted).

So, here are some highlights (lowlights?) from four sections. As always, the photos were taken by me, the “news” snippets are courtesy Google StreetView Maps.


The Connell Motor Company building in Oakland, California is still there.  Sort of.  It still had the 1947 look in 2008 (well, those signs were not original — originally just “Connell” around the roof lip):


By 2014 — repainted & other plastic backlit signs:


And now (as of  this May map), the overwhelming and ghastly apartment building behind was completed.  I guess that sign is a retro attempt (backlit plastic letters):


“Startling” remodeling is not confined to California.  Here’s what recently happened to this former dealership in Bad Axe, Michigan.  I would guess built in the 1920s.  Nice stairstep brick typical of many dealerships from that time.  My photo from 2011:

It still looked like that in 2015 but as of this new 2018 map, this is what’s happened to it.  Backlit plastic letters now read “Flannery Auto Mall”:




Maybe you have already heard, Magic Forest in Lake George, New York has been re-themed and the owner sold off most of the fiberglass 1960s-era statues (dozens of people & animals) at the end of last year.  The bad news is that you won’t be able to see the variety all in one place any more.  The good news is that most of the statues have gone to loving homes and they are being restored.

One happy story is the nearly 40-foot-tall Uncle Sam statue (produced by International Fiberglass) which was originally installed at the Danbury Fair in Danbury, Connecticut is now back in Danbury at the Railway Museum.

Here he is installed in July, after being restored — photo from this publication:


Missing now — this nice wood-carved statue of Jim Bridger in Lander, Wyoming.  He was installed in front of a liquor store around 2000.  By 2018, the store and the statue were gone.  I hope he’s safe somewhere.

Also gone now:  this Pirate that was in Breinigsville, Pennsylvania.  It was a matter of time, I suppose.  He stood in front of the Terry Hill Waterpark which opened in the late 1960s and has been closed since 2013.  He was gone by 2018.  I sure hope someone has him and we see him somewhere again.


John Margolies photographed this statue at a mini golf in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire in 1984.  I have often wondered if this was the same statue or if there was more than one built:




Naturally, a few classic rooster, cows, bulls, and other animal statue have disappeared.  But there are still lots of them out there.  Some special one-of-a-kind losses are harder to take.  Like this sweet spotted chicken in Bothell, Washington:


The giant Great Dane statue at Great Dane Trailers — has been moved from Savannah, Georgia to their Brazil, Indiana location:

From this article — restored and installed in November:


How about this frog in Fontana, Wisconsin from a long-lost mini golf.  One of my photos from 2011.  I was sure he was gonna be a goner.  I think those wood doors indicate that he was originally the little shack where you picked up your clubs and balls:

But he was declared a landmark and restored in 2012.  Just look how gorgeous he looks now.



This spotted cow (steer?) in Brookfield, Illinois was installed on the roof of a restaurant in town for decades.  My photo here from 2009.  By 2015, she (?) had been painted brown and white.

In 2018, the most recent restaurant had closed and the building was being remodeled.   The cow was removed lives on!   She is now displayed and loved on at the local farmers market.  From the Brookfield Farmers Market Facebook page:



The Hilltop Steak House in Saugus, Massachusetts had a whole herd of cow/bull statues:

They had been there since the 1960s:

But then in 2013, the restaurant closed.  The world-famous giant cactus sign was adapted for a strip mall.  But the cows had to go.  Luckily, at least three of them found their way to the MarketStreet mall in Lynnfield, Massachusetts:



What surprised me though as I surfed GoogleMaps to find those guys is the cow that’s now in the same mall in front of the J.P. Licks ice cream store.  I’m pretty sure that it didn’t come from Hilltop:


Note the world map painted on her side.  The only other cow I’ve ever seen like that was in Guelph, Ontario in front of a Lely Canada (robotic milking company) office.  By 2009, the statue and business were gone:

Could this be the same statue?  The paint job is a little different.  Were other cows painted like this originally?  For what business? A true mystery!


Last topic for this post.  My first “true love” wasn’t neon signs.  It was actually streamline moderne buildings.   I’ve always loved buildings.  As soon as I got my driver’s license when I was 16, I drove all over California every weekend, shooting every streamline moderne building in the AIA Guides for northern & southern CA.  Hundreds of them.  Those photos faded into nothingness and were trashed eventually.  But I guess the obsessive seed was planted at that time.


The General Motors Testing Laboratory building in Phoenix, Arizona is still there.  But the later addition sign (1953?) for the Imperial School Photography disappeared earlier this year.  I hope someone has it!

Two nice buildings in California were recently demolished.  Preservationist fought hard to save the Eugene C. Jones Veterinary Office from 1938 in West Hollywood.  Also, there’s a vacant lot there now:

A less historically significant building in Los Angeles (but I loved it just as much) was also demolished.  Vacant lot now. I don’t know what it housed originally but I always thought it had a lot of class.  I’m betting the bottom part was all continuous glass originally:

Hollywood High in Los Angeles was built in 1938 (after the previous building was demolished in the 1933 earthquake).  The buildings have lots of super details:  reliefs, borders, curves…

How on EARTH, did they allow this crap mural to be painted over the building last November?!?  “Hollywood High School recently unveiled a new community mural on campus created by Don Rimx One that celebrates the students’ diverse and collaborative spirit!”  Ugh.



At least that’s not as bad as a remodeling.  New paint can fix it one day.

Last subject for this post.  The Sears, Roebuck & Co. Building in Houston, Texas was remodeled into an unrecognizable, massive blob over the years.  From this in 1939:



To this by 2018:

But — see that black rectangle up there on the right?  That is/was a gorgeous red, porcelain enamel SEARS sign that was probably added in the 1950s.  Note the neon tubing overlay text that flashed, alternating with the Sears name and read “Open Til 9”.


When the store closed in 2018, the sign was, gasp, painted black.  The building is now being adapted for a “technology innovation center” and the sign is sitting on blocks across the street.  The owners aren’t sure what they’re going to do with it.  It’s massive so not exactly man-cave material.  So, we probably know what that means (scrapyard) or maybe re-lettered for the new building when it’s done.




That’s enough news for one post!  I’ll be back in a couple of weeks or so with more.

Happy trails!
dj & the dogs


Updating Report #2

Welcome back!   Here’s today’s second installment covering two sections at my website.  Let’s start with the Giant Stuff  section which covers many topics:  Musical Instruments, Body Parts, Fake Castles, Fake Lighthouses, Fake Ship Buildings, Giant Guns, etc.

One of the most devastating bits of bad news — Bo Pilgrim is no more.  The 37-foot-tall, fiberglass head at Pilgrim’s Pride in Pittsburg, TX is now in storage.  The chicken plant moved its headquarters to Greeley, CO and Bo’s family now has the head.  More photos & info about my website here:


This castle-ish building in Portland, OR was built in the 1930s as a church.  It later became a bar and had been Club 21 since 1958.  It was demolished around 2017.


This cute faux castle building in Cocoa Beach, FL…

… had lost most of its castle details by 2011 and then by last year, it was repainted and looked like every other boxy building.

In Cocoa, FL, this Pullman train cars restaurant driving into a fake cave was gone by sometime last year:


This Shoe House in Elk Grove, CA disappeared within the past year or so:

These Giant Scissors in Woodland Hills, CA were attached to the Wella Corporation building.  The company and the scissors were gone by last year or so:


This cute little lighthouse building in Deerfield, MA was built as a gas station in the 1920s or 1930s.  It was demolished a couple of years ago.  Devastating.

Another real punch to the gut — the Grand Guitar in Bristol, TN was demolished earlier this year despite its listing on the National Register of Historic Places:

Let’s move on to some signs from the SCA Journal Companion section:

From the Car Signs page – this sign in Rockport, IN is gone now:


From the Donut Signs subsection — this former Jolly Pirate Donuts sign in Columbus, OH seems to be gone now.  It was removed in 2018 for construction work.  But it’s still not back this year.


From the Plumbing Signs page — this store in Murray, UT relocated last year and the sign was removed.  It doesn’t seem to be at the new place:


And, lastly, two signs from the Pest Control Signs page.  This place in Memphis, TN closed and this sign is gone:

The Western Exterminator location in Burlingame, CA closed and the Big Man and Mouse were removed.  The sign was painted over.  The business owner isn’t sure if they will reinstall the statues at the new place.  Luckily, there are a few other examples of these statues on public display:

That’s it for now.   I’ll be back in a week or two with more news.

Happy trails,

dj & the dogs


Site Updating Report #1

So, it’s that time of year.  Time to be thankful for all the wonderful places and things that miraculously survive out there.  And it’s time to share the mostly bad news about things that are no longer with us.  I’ve combed about 40% of my website since I posted last.  I still have the biggest 9 sections to go.  I’d love to power through and be done by the first of the year but we shall see.  Here then are some new “discoveries” courtesy of clicking & adjusting the GoogleStreetView links for every entry at my website.  The “before” photos are mine — the “afters” are snips from StreetView.

Let’s start with some good news from the Bottling Plants section:

Here’s my photo of the former Canada Dry bottling plant in Minneapolis, MN built in 1946.  My photo from 2008 when it was looking pretty weary:


What a pleasant surprise to find out the building was restored and repurposed for the Hiawatha Collegiate High School in 2017:




The Coca-Cola plant in Salem, NH was hanging by a thread when I took this photo in 2011:

There were already plans to demolish the building in 2009.  BUT!  In 2015, the building was restored and repurposed as office/retail space.  The sign on the roof (that was originally a Coca-Cola sign) is gone now:


And in Indianapolis, IN, this huge & spectacular, Art Deco Coca-Cola bottling complex —

which had been used as a school bus maintenance and storage facility for many years… is being restored for a restaurant/entertainment/etc. “BottleWorks District” complex now:



Let’s move on to Drive-in Movie Theatres:

The Kenwood Drive-in in Louisville, KY has been closed since 2009 but this sign had been hanging on:

Around 2014, the property was adapted for a business park.  The screentower was actually taken down and move to a drive-in in Georgetown, IN where it will be used as a backup.  The sign remains and was adapted.  No neon but hey!


The Springmill Drive-in in Mansfield, OH was look sad and rusty for years:

Then, last year, it got a makeover!  I’m so glad they kep the original look and lettering:




From the Bus Stations section:

This cool streamline moderne number in Brainerd, MN:

got an unfortunate, ugly makeover by last October:




From the Diners section:

The converted trolley car at Chris & Rob’s Chicago’s Taste Authority in St. Paul, MN:

got a bright paint job by this past June:



Some bad news from the Tire Stores section:

This nifty, mid-century Goodyear building (built as a Firestone in 1970) in Houston was demolished earlier this year for a new towering medical complex.  Ugh.

The Firestone in San Mateo, CA had a unique, giant glazed tile pylon.  Originally, both signs had neon.  By this past June, the signs were gone and the building was vacant.



From the Dinosaurs section:

Some good news!  This statue in Bayville, NJ was built in 1925:

The statue has been battered and vandalized many times since then.  Its head hit and lopped off many times by passing trucks.  There was talk of restoring the statue for years and now it has finally happened!  GoogleStreetView still shows the empty platform from 2018 but this article from last December shows the statue’s miraculous restoration.  Note that his/her neck is now turned to the side a bit to protect it from traffic:


That’s enough for this post.  Another one coming up later today.

See ’em & shoot ’em while you can….

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs