Day 13: A little more Florida Panhandle & on to Alabama

I got up most of the Florida Panhandle photos at my website.  So, I’m taking a break to get this post up midweek.

From Tallahassee, FL — a front yard with whales and dolphins:

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And on to Alabama.  This sign is in Dothan:

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Two more signs from Dothan — a still operating TV station:

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and a long-neglected radio sign:

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From Jackson, AL:

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And now — a sampling from the incredible sign display in downtown Abbeville, AL.  One man’s collection is displayed on the main street and inside the faux storefronts of non-operating businesses that serve as storage space.

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And if you make it to Abbeville, you’ll want to stop in at Huggin’ Molly’s — a restaurant with a soda fountain, more signs & lots of antiquey stuff:
https://www.hugginmollys.com/

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I’ll be back this weekend with a post of Mississippi goodies.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Day 12: Florida Panhandle

It wasn’t a big day for shooting signs so I’m going to veer off course a bit in this post to include some other things that I cover at my website (statues & buildings).  But let’s start with this sign in Crestview, FL — a delicious mixed media mash-up of plastic and neon and shapes:

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I diverted over the border to Florala, AL to shoot a gas station and came upon this novel column cluster.  A plaque indicated that they are all that’s left of the Covington County High School which was built in 1914 and demolished in 1963:

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In Miramar Beach, I went looking for the World’s Largest Fishing Lure at the Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort.  Turned out it had been gone for years but I did come across this fiberglass beauty.  I believe this is a swordfish:

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This faux lighthouse in Panama City Beach was once the little office for Beacon Golf, a mini-golf place.  It later served as a BBQ joint.  Now, it’s still well cared for and serving as an office for a scooter rental business.  If you’re into faux lighthouses, I’ve got loads of them at my website here:
http://www.roadarch.com/mim/lighthouses.html

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The sadness is almost overcome by the bright paint.  This cave-like structure was built for Jungle Land in Panama City Beach in the 1960s.  There were gators, a waterfall, a fake volcano and the like.  It closed in the late 1980s and then operated as Alvin’s Magic Mountain Mall and then Alvin’s Island Tropical Department Store — basically, a gift shop with beach stuff, souvenirs, doo-dads & maybe some tiki-ish stuff.  Evidently, Alvin’s closed when Hurricane Michael hit in October 2018 and it remains closed.  I stepped over the police tape for a few shots.  No signs of damage though which leaves me worried that this building might be endangered.  Lots of building & growth in PCB right now.

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I present the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! ship in Panama City.  It was modeled after the Titanic and built in 2006.  The ship had a more somber black & grey paint job originally.  Sometime around 2016, it got this prettier repaint:

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The Bowlarama Lanes in Panama City remains closed after Michael.  The sign really took a hit:

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There was lots of post-Michael devastation in Panama City.  This sign was still intact.  The letters originally had neon as evidenced in this postcard:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/edge_and_corner_wear/16464018423


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The Sombrero Mexican Restaurant remains closed and it seems unlikely that it will reopen.  The owners found out that their insurance policy didn’t cover wind damage from hurricanes.  So, they are on their own.  The bent over rooftop sign is rather symbolic:

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Sorry to end on a downer…  but I’ll be back soon once I get a big batch of Florida stuff at my website.  In the meantime, there are lots of more cheerful photos from Day 12 up at my Flickr account:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

Happy trails,

dj & the dogs

 

Day 11: Coastal MS & AL with a bit of FL

I got all the New Orleans stuff up at my website this week from Day 10.  There will be lots more Louisiana later in the trip.  We’re hugging the Gulf Coast for the next couple of days.  More than 200 photos to crop, tweak, upload and put in their appropriate places a the website from Day 11. So, I’ll probably only get  this one blog post up this weekend and get to work.

Let’s start with with one in downtown Ocean Springs, MS.  Neon only on one side, presumably since this side faces oncoming traffic:

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This one in Moss Point, MS is on top of the Moss Point Express gas station sign.  It’s probably a reference to the local high school mascot (Moss Point Tigers).

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Moving on to Mobile, AL:

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Not as nice as the similar Kelly’s Cleaners neon hanger sign but still great:

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There are more than a handful of neon signs in downtown Mobile.  I don’t know the age of these but the OK Bicycle sign might be adapted.  The Taqueria sign looks pretty modern:

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This one is surely vintage — probably 1950s:

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Naman’s Department Store opened in 1940.  This sign is much later — looks maybe 1960s? And that font is kinda lame and modern.  So, I’m thinking  maybe redone at some point.  Still lovely though:

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and one more from Mobile — a nice little terrazzo entrance:

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From Spanish Fort, AL.  This must be a modern sign but, wow, that’s a lotta neon!  I can only find photos of it with a few bits lit at night — or more lit but super blurry.  So, I’m skeptical that it’s operating properly at this point and I don’t know if any of that tubing was animated.

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One of my favorite memories from this trip was the Foamhenge (yes, Mark Cline built the first one in Virginia) in Elberta, AL.  I let the dogs rip around and they had a great time running around the columns even though it was close to 100 degrees.  In this photo foreground, Grizzie is rolling in god-knows-what and Nik is sniffing out something directly in the background behind him.  I have no idea where the two girls were at that moment but I know they were having a blast.

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Last one for this post — officially in Florida panhandle — this one from the recently restored Rex Theatre in Pensacola:

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Back with more next week!

dj & the dogs

 

 

 

Day 10: New Orleans

I took more than 200 photos this day.  When I shoot signs, most of the time, it’s just one shot and go.  Buildings and statues usually two or three and go.  So, no, I never park or turn the engine off.  I’m literally at the “thing” I’m shooting no more than a minute.  Seriously.  Anyway — a whole bunch of photos to share — and since my blog audience is mostly sign lovers, I’ll stick with that.

A grey morning but it didn’t last.  No amount of sign would help this sign.  The panels were refaced around 2013 or so.  There was originally a clock where the magnolia is.  And it used to read “mortuary.”  I guess “funeral home” is a little less harsh.  This Flickr photo shows how rough it was in 2008 before the “restoration”:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonyturducken/2575382041

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This little sign is on the side of a parking garage which was probably a good location at one time.  The shop has been gone for years though:

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This one must have been nice with neon and before the porcelain was painted over.  Still pretty in sunlight now though:

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Blue on blue:

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I usually don’t include ghost signs but this one is pretty nice and it’s getting rarer to find ones that haven’t been fussed with and ruined by repainting:

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Once a department store and now lofts.  Since the name remains the same, there’s hope that the sign might be restored one day:

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Painted over but still fairly pretty.  I can’t make out the middle.  The top looks like “Westside” and the bottom is “Improvement”:

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I’m pretty sure this one is a modern sign:

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Some bad repainting here of the top and bottom panels which were probably porcelain originally.  The bottom read “Car Parts” but I think there’s other text under that:

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Pretty little swirls.  I think this porcelain could be buffed and improved.  But it looks pretty baked and rusty.  These signs don’t need much love but this one’s probably 70 years old and if it gotten a little spritz and rub every 10 years, it would probably be in perfect shape right now:

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I think this is a modern sign.  But it might be an adapted oldie.  Yes, the plexi is irritating but I suspect it’s there for a reason (kids + rocks = $):

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This looks like a new build – maybe built in the shape/style of a sign that hung there previously :

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This one is definitely a new sign but those fishies are sure fun.  I’m assuming they are animated or were originally.

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Last one for now — at the Masonic Temple in Slidell.

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I’ll be moving on to other Louisiana cities in the next post.  But that probably won’t be until next weekend since I have a lot of New Orleans to get up at the website first.  More New Orleans signs (different photos of the prettier signs and other stuff) over a Flickr now.  Go on, you know you need a peek:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

Happy trails,

dj & the dogs

Day 9: More Louisiana

Let’s start off in Baton Rouge with this great little donut shop:

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Right next door is this great crown sign.  I saw at least one or two other signs in Baton Rouge with this design.  I believe this was originally an Auto King Muffler Shop:

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A nice modern sign at Schlitz and Giggles in Baton Rouge:

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From Hammond: this cluster of Rexall signs — from the front:

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and on the side of the bldg.  These oval signs are rarer than the navy & orange panel & projecting signs:

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Moving on to New Orleans.   I’m glad this one is still hanging:

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I can never get the blade sign at the right time of day or without the wires:

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Let’s end with a couple of tall ones from New Orleans:

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More New Orleans coming in the next post later today.  In the meantime, lots of new photos posted over at Flickr here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

dj & the dogs

Day 8: Southern Louisiana

In case you noticed, there is no post for Day 7.  That’s because I was totally shut out by rain.  I spent the day grumbling in a hotel in Lafayette, LA.  The dogs didn’t seem to mind.  It was supposed to rain for two or three days but when I woke up on Day 2 and saw the sun, I couldn’t check out fast enough.  Luckily, I parked Sparkle on high ground but there were plenty of other cars wheel well deep in water.  Some clouds slowed me down but I learned to be patient and wait a few minutes, sometimes even an hour.  I don’t shoot in cloudy weather because photos that aren’t lit by the sun just aren’t worth it.  It only means I’d have to go back to reshoot — a waste of time and gas money.

For example, in Abbeville, LA, there was no sun at all — an otherwise nice Rexall sign dull and dreary.  No sunny reflection on the porcelain and a depressing grey sky behind it.  Sad.

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Whereas… better weather — this embossed Firestone sign in Franklin, LA assisted by sun and few little perky clouds.  Sorry bout the wire.

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But even sun can’t help faded plastic (the woman with the groceries) and the glazed porcelain (a little elbow grease buffing and that red would be gleaming) — this one in Morgan City, LA:

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This one in Thibodaux — sometime after 2012, they messed with the bottom of the sign, replacing “BAR” with “Sports Grill” not bothering to paint white letters behind the neon.  I’m sure it originally had a nice detailed border around the edges of the panels.  But, hey, we just gotta be grateful that it’s still hanging.  That rust at the bottom is pretty amazing, isn’t it.  I wouldn’t walk directly under this one.

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This one in Houma, LA:

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This postcard shows what the original look was when it was the Theriot Pharmacy:

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This modern Frostop mug is located in Destrehan, LA.  It’s a long saga covered at my website but I’ll make it brief here.  The owners had a big revolving mug but were not allowed to display it at their new location in a shopping mall when they moved in 2007.  So, the mug remained on the ground, hidden on the side of the building.  The owners tried to sell it on eBay for nearly a year but never got a nibble.  They finally donated it to a prop shop.  So, it’s in storage somewhere.  This new sign went up about four years ago.  And as modern signs go, it’s a good one with the simulated foam and neon lettering and handle.  If you’re curious about Frostop, I’ve got three pages worth of signs and buildings here:
http://www.roadarch.com/vessels/mugs.html

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This sign is in LaPlace, LA.  I don’t know what it was originally.  The top panel had been blown out since at least 2010.  Sometime around 2016, the Midway panel was slid in there for a Tom Cruise movie.

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Let’s conclude this post with this one from Gonzales, LA at the golden hour:

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I’m handling these posts a little differently than I usually do.  I’ve been adding all the photos for each day to my website as I go.  So, the pattern is:  1) some Flickr photos, 2) a blog post here, 3) all the day’s photos to the website and… repeat for each day.  It makes for a little more time between blog posts but it seems a saner way to go about things.
More soon,

dj & the dogs

Day 6: Coastal Texas and into Louisiana

Let’s start with this sweet little museum in Beaumont, TX: the Texas Energy Museum.  The place is loaded with historical info and displays.  There are a few neon signs and vehicles as well:

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Here’s the Shark-Man in Galveston.  He’s been there at least a dozen years:

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This is the smaller of two shark statues in Galveston.  This one is above Gianni’s Italian Bistro:

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Moving on to Opelousas, LA for the next two signs:

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If you’re into Rexall signs, I’ve got tons of them at my website here:
http://www.roadarch.com/signs/rex.html

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Let’s end this post with a giant crawfish in Breaux Bridge, LA at the Crazy Bout Crawfish restaurant.  It appears he is made of scrap metal:

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Many more posts to come over the next few weeks.  I’ve been simultaneously putting up a sampling of other photos at Flickr at the same time as every post here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

Happy trails,

dj & the dogs

Day 5: Texas Coast

This was a crappy day weather-wise.  Some hours where I had to sit and wait for the rain to stop and the clouds to leave.  And then there was a little incident in Houston where I made a driving boo-boo.  I was changing lanes quickly to the left to do a U-turn and did not see the car in my blind spot that was rapidly moving up on my left.  So, a big scraping sound and we both pulled over. Luckily, he had a teensy one-inch scratch on his fender that he said not to worry about.  But when I looked at Sparkle, her entire grille was GONE.  Laying in the street and being run over by rush-hour traffic.  I dodged in there and grabbed it.  Some broken bits but I was able to have a body shop nearby perform magic with zipties and get it secured.  No left turn signal (wires broken) but the headlights worked so I lived with the situation for the rest of the trip.  I was a bit shaken by that and have been ultra careful/paranoid about blind spots since then.  My insurance is high enough after two speeding tickets last year!

Let’s start with this place in Corpus Christi which has some charming decades’ old signs:

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Moving on to this flower shop sign in Victoria:

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This sign in Victoria is pretty much a miracle.  One of my favorite signs of all time — this one had an animated bow and arrow with flaming arrows that moved across a wire to the roof of the restaurant.  Here’s one of my photos from 2011 — and more photos of what the sign originally looked like & the arrows at my website here:
http://www.roadarch.com/sca/extension4.html#Corral
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Then, in 2017, Hurricane Harvey came along and destroyed the top part of the sign with the Indian.  It was bent completely in half and un-repairable.  The owner talked for years about restoring it.  In late 2018, he finally did.  Okay — so there’s no neon but the feel of the old sign is still there and it sure beats nothing or a horrible plastic box version.

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A close-up of the new Indian:

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One more from today — this place opened in Houston last year with this sign.  It’s sort of a scaled down version of the Portland’s Palms Motor Hotel sign:

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Here’s the Portland sign for comparison:

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More later today…

dj & the dogs

Day 4: Mid-Texas

The focus today was on San Antonio, Austin & thereabouts.

This sign in San Antonio is protected behind plexiglass:

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Ray’s Drive-in in San Antonio has two great neon signs.  The second one is over the restaurant’s roof:

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This former Best Western crown sign in Austin is located inside the Holy Roller:

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The rest of the signs in this blog post are modern examples in Austin.  I believe the first three were created by Evan Voyles of Neon Jungle.  The others below are modern but probably not his work:

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Modern signs at Threadgill’s in Austin:

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That’s it for today’s posts.  I’ll be back this weekend with more.  In the meantime, don’t forget that I’m simultaneously posting other photos from this trip (different ones than those here at this blog) at Flickr.  Also, I posted daily at Instagram on this trip (different photos from here or Flickr).

https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

https://www.instagram.com/roadarch_com/

 

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Day 3: Western & Mid-Texas

I spent about three days in the mid-section of Texas for some predetermined stops as I was making my way to the focus of the 30-day trip (Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas).  I made it to El Paso to start Day 3.  While there, I got to shoot the Colon Theatre at the right time of day:

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Moving on to Ozona, TX for the Hotel Ozona:

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The Hotel Clark sign in Van Horn was reworked a little to add the word “Museum” to the bottom.  Here’s what the sign looked like just a few years ago:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/courthouselover/4358538994/

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The Stango’s Coffee Shop in San Angelo has this sign outside which came from somewhere else.  I’ve seen lots of the scrollwork at the top on signs in California:

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Just down the street from Stango’s is the Twisted Root which has some modern built-to-look-old signs outside.  Inside, there are lots of vintage advertising signs but no neon:

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This truck stop sign is in Van Horn:

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More later…

dj