Day 3: Trey and Grey

By “trey”, I mean three — as in tri-state (WV, PA and OH — although we were only in the latter for a tiny bit) — and also day three.  And, grey, well — another tediously, solidly cloudy day.  When it wasn’t raining, then it was just a darker grey.  I’m bummed.  But it’s raining in Albuquerque right now as well — so maybe it’s good I’m still here.   But I’m giving impatient thought to just flooring it tomorrow, driving west til the sun comes out, somewhere.   Although the forecast looks good for right here tomorrow.

No embarrassing mishaps to report.  Mom is getting a bit testy with all the barking.  Nik has gotten a little spoiled early in this trip and expects that he’s getting out every stop where there’s grass visible.  He ate a lot of goose poop today which gave me even more to yell about.   Grip starts barking around 4pm now demanding dinner (which should be more like 6pm).  I think with her loss of sight, she’s lost her sense of time.  Grem barks just about all day.  And Fix is the good girl — who only barks when the other ones do (“they started it!”).

So let’s begin with some intentional monochrome — a black and white building — to get you in the mood for today’s photos.  An Art Deco building in the Elm Grove section of Wheeling, WV.   Looks like a former bank to me.  There appear to be holes below the Board of Ed letters where a previous sign would have been:

 

I shot lots of round mid-century buildings today — I’ll spare you.  But here’s one in Wheeling.  Pink panels, blue panels, green panels… I love them all:

 

More Wheeling.  Now, had this been a sunny day, this magnificent sign would be appearing over at my agilitynut Flickr account tonight.  But, alas,  it’s sadly condemned to the rusty, crusty, dreary selections of my blog:

 

Now, I never complain (ha!) but this one really pisses me off.  Bad enough that they’ve covered the original Kresge facade — but this cheapo lithograph covering is a joke.  Completely blurry — like they planned the resolution for something one-fourth of the size — and then just blew it up all the way like “good enough, no one will notice, looks better than it did”.  Gawd.   It looks so much worse in person.  I guess they thought they were hiding an eyesore — but THIS is the real eyesore now.

And what’s been covered up:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/34878756@N04/3867845692/

 

OK, so covering things up is nothing new.  Here’s a sixties/seventies example.  And maybe it’s just now that this has that kitschy fun look to us now that it’s treasured (at least by folks like me).  But still.  Really.  If printed computer graphics are the way of the future and all craftsmanship is dead, do we have more downtowns soon to looks like super-trashed Disney Main Streets — all vinyl tarped crap?

 

On a less serious note.  Still Wheeling until I say otherwise.  These guys (puppets? masks?) stare down from the second floor.  Half cute / half creepy:

 

Shall we vote if this is a beauty or an eyesore?  I personally love it — all this and that.  1970s?  I particularly love the beam with the hanging lamp.

 

On to Weirton, WV.  This 1947 All Saints Orthodox Church has been gussied up with stainless.  I assume post-1947.  Almost diner-y, no?

 

Pittsburgh, finally.  Gotta be a modern sign — but wonderful nevertheless.  At Niki’s Pizza.  Which reminds me, the topic of my next SCA article is pizza chef signs.  That issue should be out any day now.  Shameless plug for the organization and publications.  If you’re into this roadside stuff — you wanta / gotta join.
http://www.sca-roadside.org/

 

This sign at Lucky’s Tavern has not been so lucky.  I don’t know what bar it originally advertised for — but good god, some lousy patch work here.  And I guess left unattended, those holes fill with water and the bottom gets rusty and eaten out like this.  Might make a good advertisement for all those vintage sign owners out there to keep their signs in good shape.  Like those anti-smoking ads — don’t let this happen to your sign!

 

Here’s a heartbreaker.  Abandoned since forever.  The New Granada Theatre.  More about the place here:
http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/16495

 

Another modern sign — but pretty cute.  The torch flashes on and off.  Unfortunately, the face wasn’t lit on either side:

 

On to Clairton for another flame sign.  I do have a thing for them — another SCA theme article coming up most likely (are you reading this Doug?).  The torch was out on both sides here.  I don’t get the message:

And this cute guy is over the door:

 

Alright then — an early night here (11 pm).  I’ll catch up on the sleep I missed last night.  And then make some big decision in the morning at sunrise — stay & shoot — or scoot off to the Midwest someplace.

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10 Responses to “Day 3: Trey and Grey”

  1. I love the Buch and Donovan Drugs sign. I’ve photographed it before myself, when I drove the old National Road from Maryland to Indianapolis.

  2. I thought covering up facades like this went out of style after Koch tried it in the Bronx back in the early 1980s?

  3. galechicago Says:

    I want to photograph that vinyl billboard facade in 5 years when it’s all faded and torn! Nothing lasts forever, even vinyl. Strange attempt to make the downtown appear less forelorn/scary/abandoned until they get the financing to do it with actual bricks and windows.

    • You know, I had a lot of time to think today on long stretches of highway. Maybe I should give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they’re actually covering up the facades to protect them until they can restore them properly? In which case, I can sort of forgive the icky sign. I guess it’s better than some big advertisement. Though it is actually an advertisement for Lamar Signs.

    • I take back the innocent comment I made last night. A comment this morning at someone else’s photo of the tarped Kresge/Murphy building said that they are getting ready to demolish the building. Ugh.

  4. I was hoping you’d visit the New Granada. It looks worse than when I was there in 2006. Do you have a picture of the whole building?

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