Day 16: Birmingham and Beyond

I made a lot of progress today.  It really helped to hit Birmingham on a Saturday when there was basically no traffic whatsoever.  So now, just a bit more Northwest AL tomorrow and then on to MS.  Hopefully, I can bang through that state in three days as well.  We’re officially around the bend — just past the halfway point of this trip.  It feels like I’ve been at this a month already.  I think it’s all the rain and killer goals I’ve set up for myself each day.  Plus I’m still a little stressed about the key situation.

The weather was even more beautiful today than yesterday.  I didn’t get the dogs nearly as much exercise as they would’ve liked.  Will have to make it up to them tomorrow in some more rural-ish areas.  It’s also time for another oil change — passed the 6,000 mile mark for this trip today. 

Lots and lots of signs for you today so let’s get to it.  I already uploaded a bunch to Flickr but still have lots of “lesser” signs for the blog.  For those of you that are interested in such things, here’s the order of my nightly “homework”:
* check and answer emails; respond to Flickr comments
* crop & tweak photos for Flickr & blog
* upload photos to Flickr
* write the blog post

So that’s why I don’t get to bed til well after midnight and the blog posts will always be a rough draft.

Aha!  So that sign that I posted for you last night from Selma was not unique.  There must’ve been a chain that used these.  What chain though?  This one was in Sylacauga:

Sylacauga calls itself the “Marble City”.   According to their website, the city is constructed on a solid deposit of the hardest, whitest marble in the world.  Many famous buildings around the country have been faced with it, including this mid-century bank:

A massive sign from Talladega — still in business:

A colorful Masonic sign from Anniston:

The rusty crusty Van Thomas sign was looking extra nice in the sun:

This “Lounge” sign is in Pell City or just a hair north of it:

This painted wall sign in Birmingham appears to be authentic:

Another wall ad in Birmingham.  There are still uniform shops in the building:

Three “rusties” from Birmingham:

I really like this one a lot.  The delicate hand over the razor wire.   Is the hand holding a business card?  It would help to know the original use of the sign I suppose:

And lastly, I’m drawing a blank about this one which is west of downtown.  Was this a Jack’s restaurant?  Hopefully, Mr. Hollis or another Birmingham-er will identify this place:

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13 Responses to “Day 16: Birmingham and Beyond”

  1. That was a Jacks

  2. Here’s a page about the Jack’s chain which shows what this building & sign would have looked like originally:

  3. The South has the very best signs. Like you, I am drawn to the old motel signs and photograph them whenever possible.

    Yesterday, I thought of you as I sped by a sign for Sunken Gardens in St. Pete that has been rotting away on the 441 since the pre-Disney days!

    • It’s a great sign — and in great shape. Not “rotting away” at all. I have it at this page:

      What I post to Flickr & the blog are just a teensy sampling of what you’ll find at my website. There are lots of great signs in the South — but if you poke around, you’ll see there are plenty in all regions of the country as well.

  4. army.arch Says:

    Did you get to Pete’s Famous Hot Dogs in downtown Birmingham? The light was so wrong when we were there last summer.

  5. Those Rusties are great! What a difference some sunshine makes, huh?

  6. Can’t believe I’ve missed this blog! I’m the webmaster of Birmingham Rewound, and I see that someone else has told you about Jack’s Hamburgers … but let me add a little side story: what you saw is the sole remaining example of the original Jack’s walk-up stand from the 1960s. This location (3rd Ave. N.) was VERY short-lived, and had closed long before the 1970s, when Jack’s modified/enlarged its locations to include dining rooms, and soon thereafter discarded the old five-post sign in favor of the “lollipop” style signs still in use today. So, while it’s been through a lot of uses (when I took pics for the website some years back, it was a glass shop, and the sign had a hideous green/brown color scheme), it’s a sweet reminder of what was.

    Oh, and to answer your question about the traffic light signs — those were part of a long-gone car wash chain called Stop ‘N’ Go. Many of their locations had those traffic lights … they rotated, and their colors flashed accordingly. Neat to watch. I haven’t seen one in action since the ’70s, though.

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