Day 4: Western Mass Wrap-Up

We’re back home safe and back to the regular routine already.  The temps got into the 90s yesterday so I got to test the A/C.  Seems to be working fine now.  Lots of pristine rivers for the dogs.   I covered a lot of ground on this Massachusetts Marathon.   I owed the state some overdue attention.  Many of the places I hadn’t been to for ten years and the sad, dull photos on my website right now reflect it.  Soon to be fixed with new ones.  But when, I’m not sure.  Only six weeks before the summer trip and lots of non-website projects to do.  Plus work.  I’ve only just begun adding the OK/TX photos so I think everything will just have to gather dust until the winter.  Which kills me.  But I wanted to get this trip in while the weather was most likely going to be nice.  And nice it was — four solid days of sun!

Let’s start in little old Athol.  Plotkin Furniture has been in this building since 1958.  This sign must have come from their previous location.  The style of the sign is very 1920s.  The company was founded in 1919.  The opal glass is still lit at night when the store is open.  The missing letter replacements are supposedly translucent.   The top of the sign originally read “Glendale Ranges”.  There were curlicue details at the top and in the little corners which have been painted over.  But the really impressive thing is that this place is still open!  Most businesses with these opal glass signs (and there are very few of them) are long-gone, replaced with thrift stores and such, or are just plain vacant.

Another survivor in Athol:

 

A surviving supermarket in Northfield.  This porcelain enamel sign was mass-produced but they are very rare now.  I only know of a couple other IGA signs like this one and neither of them are at still-operating stores.

A couple from Turners Falls.  The candy store is gone but sign still hanging:

A door or two down, the remaining tile at the entrance of an A&P supermarket:

At the Mohawk Trading Post gift shop – still in business – in Shelburne:

In North Adams:

Another bowling sign — from Great Barrington:

Still selling booze by the package (and other grocery / deli stuff) in Great Barrington.  The neon glowing even in the middle of the day.  For a view of the storefront, here’s a link to someone else’s photo:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/37461467@N00/2922644833/

 

Stanley Cleaners in Westfield — still open:

OK, little story with this one.  I had heard awhile back that the old Galley Restaurant “Good Home Cooking” sign had been saved and was at Red’s Towing.  So, I went to check it out.  Rather than subject you to my crappy photo, I refer you to this blog which has some photos of the sign in place and some interesting info about its clone(s):
http://hellsacres.blogspot.com/2010/07/house-of-television-and-other-signs-of.html

So, sure enough, the sign IS still at Red’s.  I posted a few photos of Red’s, a former Esso station, over at Flickr tonight.  The sign is way in the back of the garage, installed on a pallet, up high where it won’t get bumped.  Flash was needed!

There’s still a lot of mystery to the sign’s history.  Here’s the info that I got from the folks at Red’s.  The restaurant itself was next door to Red’s and owned by the same family.   Before it was the Galley, there was a Friendly’s restaurant there.  Then, after a fire around the 1970s, there was a rebuild and the Galley opened.  The sign is believed to have come from somewhere else and was most likely reworked before installing at the Galley.   Makes sense since the letters are oddly slanted and there is so much dead space to the sign.  (Note how the replica sign at the blog link above went to the trouble to center the letters under each other better.)  So, maybe even the coffee cup was added when the sign was reworked.  The general shape is typical of signs from the 1950s or earlier.

From Granby, a nice old New Englandy drug store:

This “DRUGS”  sign had a few tell-tale rusty bits and dings on the sides that had been painted over — so I’m going with this one being nicely refurbished rather than a replication or imitation:

Ran out of decent shooting light in Ware so we’ll close out this batch & trip there.  This is the entrance to the Roll-A-Way Bowling Lanes:

Unlike the bigger roadtrips, I didn’t keep track of the mileage or the cost of gas on this one.   Gas prices have definitely gone up lately.  I paid more than $4 per gallon at many stops.  No tickets but I did get one written warning.  Speeding, of course, for doing 50 in a 35.  I swore to the officer that I didn’t think I was going that fast.  I really meant it and I think he bought it.  And being a middle-aged woman with grey hair probably helps.  If I was 20 years old, I’m sure I’d get a lot more real tickets.  No other stats for you.  The dogs got out to swim and run 646 times, or about that.  And the chocolates didn’t all make it home.

So, meet you back here at the end of July for more adventures and photos.  I’ve got the towering stack of maps & lists all ready for MI, WI & MN.   If you missed the purty pictures from this trip over at Flickr, you might want to check them out:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

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5 Responses to “Day 4: Western Mass Wrap-Up”

  1. that Good Home Cooking “Sign” sure looks familiar. I must have seen it on someone else’s photo stream.

    • Beth (RetroRoadTrip) did a blog post not long ago with vintage photos of diners & such. I bet you saw it there. Since the sign’s been down for a number of years, and maybe only a couple people know it’s whereabouts, it’s not likely you saw it in a Flickr photostream unless it was posted as a very old photo.

  2. I’m really excited to see the IGA Super Market sign. When I was growing up in South Bend, IN, there was an identical sign minus the IGA logo on a building we used to pass all the time. Now I know a little more about it! I drove by there a few years ago and found that some of the middle letters had been removed from the sign and then the two ends shoved together, rendering it “suprket.” To wit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mobilene/2770016510/

  3. that IGA is a wonderful find, the colours on enamel signs always hold up so well.

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