Day 6: More Southern NM & El Paso

Since El Paso is right up against the southern New Mexico border, it made sense to grab that city at this point rather than with the rest of Texas.  Let’s start there.

Apparently, a building was just knocked down on this lot revealing some nicely preserved “ghost dogs” (vintage painted advertising signs):

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This sign has been painted, badly.  From 2012:

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and now with the name painted over and the tires and grill crudely painted:

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The Sunbeam sign is also missing the girl now.  My photo from 2008:

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Google Maps Street View shows she was still there in 2015 so this change must be recent:

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The Barrel House Liquor sign:

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Right behind it is the Cappetto’s Italian Restaurant sign:

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The bulb piece on top must have been amazing.  I assume it some sort of flashy thing.  I’ve seen poles with bulbs on them attached to poles.  But nothing with THIS many bulbs:

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An older panel below the main panel of the Montana Motel sign.  With these vacancy signs, these “Sorry No” letters could be turned on as needed with a separate switch:

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This operating Coca-Cola plant sign is most likely modern.  It reads Dr. Pepper on the other side.  It apparently revolved originally but not on this trip:

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This one’s definitely vintage.  It’s inside the High Altitude bike shop in Cloudcroft, NM:

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On to Roswell, NM.  I didn’t shoot any alien stuff — not my thing.  This Roswell Motor Supply sign was installed at a local business.  It has been installed inside this Farley’s restaurant/bar since around 2004.  The bellhop? mechanic? has an animated saluting arm.  Although the sign is usually lit, there was a problem and the manager couldn’t get it to come on.  Bummer:

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11 more days to come…

dj

 

Day 5: From Tucson onward to New Mexico

For those of you who are curious about the route of this trip…. From SoCal, I headed through southern Arizona and New Mexico and into Texas.  The eastward most point was the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  On to some northern Texas and then northern New Mexico and Arizona.  I dropped back down to I-10 for the trip home.  That was the hottest day which was at least 118 degrees.

Yes, all of my roadtrips are very planned out (see the “How to Plan a Roadtrip” page here at my blog) for the details.  I have been to these states about four times now and combed them pretty thoroughly.  But there are always new things that I didn’t know about or things that have changed (repainted, remodeled, or fallen on harder times) that merit reshooting.  I’d say I only stumble upon 1% of the stuff that I shoot by accident.  I only post a few of the “lesser” subjects here at the blog.  A handful of nicer subjects over at Flickr.  Then, the bulk of the photos (roughly 2,000 photos on this trip) are gradually inserted at the website over the next six months or so.

I wrapped up Tucson in the morning.  Here’s one of my favorite storefronts:

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The only photos of my three dogs that I took on this trip were these at the abandoned Spanish Trail Motel.  As I have mentioned more than a few times already, the heat was brutal on this trip.  So, the dogs only left the van to pee during the day.  Their running was only around sunup (5:30am) at public parks and schools which have grassy areas.  Nothing interesting to shoot for you there.  Although this place has pavement, it wasn’t warm yet and there were no stickers, fire ants, or cactus.  We had the displeasure of all three of those on this trip. Here are a couple shots — left to right — Gremmie (Gremlin, ~10), Grizzie (Griswold, ~5), and Sparkle (my legendary van, ~14).

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Nik (Sputnik) prefers his giant ballie on pavement.  Since he’s blind, he can hear it bounce when I throw it.  He likes to hover over it and bark at it; push it around with his nose and bark at it.  He can smell the plastic that its made of and I can also help direct him to the ball (“right”, “left”, “back”, “come”).  For water romps (I was always on the lookout on this trip and scored more than a few times), he likes more normal-sized toys.  He can approximate where they land when I throw them and then fine-tunes with his nose.  He’s in good shape for a 14-year-old.

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The Silver Saddle sign is located just across the highway from the Spanish Trail Motel:

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Family shot — temps going up, let’s get outta here:

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Moving on to New Mexico.  One of the highlights of the day was finally meeting Teaku Nunn who has transformed Hatch into a whole lotta fun small town.  He has lots of fiberglass statues & other cool stuff along the main drag.  His “Sparky’s” restaurant is the epicenter of the statuary.  The interior also has loads of signs & other stuff.  He showed me some of the things that are not on public display.  This mystery statue appears to be a bunny but with a globe-shaped head.  I don’t recognize this character (and neither does Teaku):

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He also has a couple of fiberglass A&W (Root Beer Drive-in) Family mugs.  Many of these statues are missing these so maybe these will be snatched up soon.  Note the mugs are different sizes depending on whether they are for Mama, Papa, Baby or Teen Burger statues.
http://www.roadarch.com/giants/aw.html

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Inside Sparky’s — a rare Harbie statue:
http://www.roadarch.com/critters/sea2.html

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In the background is this sign — which I recognized immediately as missing from El Paso.  This two part sign was originally installed at Sanitary Plumbing & Heating.  Here’s what it looked like in place:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/52676908@N02/5043701804/

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One more from Sparky’s.  I’m not sure if this is vintage or a repro.  But I think it’s vintage:

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More tomorrow night,

dj

Day 4: Mostly Tucson

Moving on now from the Phoenix area — heading east.  Here’s the Copper Mountain Motel in Superior, AZ:

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A former Sprouse Reitz store in Superior.  I’ve got a couple of others in better shape at my webpage here:
http://www.roadarch.com/dept/other3.html

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This sign in Globe, AZ, has been repainted and some of the text changed.  Here’s my photo from 2012:

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and from this trip:

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This one in Coolidge, AZ.  Remember when Mastercard was Master Charge?:

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This sign in Casa Grande has been painted over but the neon detail on top is still amazing.  I love the little loops on the ends.  It must have been wonderful at night:

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Moving on to Tucson.  This sign was restored in 2013:

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I’ve shot the “Muffler Man” at Leo’s many times but I don’t think I’ve ever shot the sign:

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The Ye Olde Lantern sign, now in pieces, is displayed in Dirk Arnold’s yard:
http://tucson.com/news/local/tucson-oddity-lantern-sign-now-brightens-yard/article_cbbdde63-1cda-5fac-906f-dbc66f2f4529.amp.html

Here’s what the sign looked like when it was intact:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mwaters/111677515/

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I’ve never seen pinatas in progress before — very fun!

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A quite famous sign in Tucson.  I’m always relieved that it’s still there.  Here’s what the Mayflower moving truck on top looked like originally:
http://www.roadsidepeek.com/roadusa/southwest/arizona/azsign/azothersign/tucsonwarehouse.jpg

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The skeptic in me believed this was a retro (new made to look old) sort of place.  But, no, it’s the real deal.  The Shelter was built in 1961:

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The building was redeveloped as apartments but they left the sign alone.  The trees are consuming it now though:

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The Buffet Bar sign is protected with clear plastic panels.  An ugly trade-off for keeping it lit at night:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/army_arch/33209314805/

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The building next door but a little higher up and safer from vandals:

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The T&T Market:

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Too late in the day to shoot the other side properly.  I had to find a gap in the tree branches to get even this:

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A miraculous survivor in Southwest Tucson on the Benson Highway:

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Recently restored but the “San” was out on both sides of the sign:

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At least the wonderful and warm opal glass letters at the bottom are lit.  I think the backlit opal letters are even sexier and more romantic than neon.  Very few are still lit at night:
http://www.roadarch.com/sca/opal.html

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Lots more coming.

dj

Day 2 and 3: But it’s a Dry Heat…

Whew!  It is SO good to be home in the fog and cool breezes.  17 days of 100+ degree days in the Southwest was not pleasant BUT I got loads of photos so it was definitely worth the pain.  Several days were spent driving 12 hrs. plus without A/C so the dogs and I really got to feel what the desert is all about.  I had plenty of water to douse the dogs and my head and we got though it alive.  Ice cream was a near daily staple.

Day 2 got off to a slow start since the first half of it was spent at the Pep Boys in Yuma getting the A/C fixed — or so I thought.  It only lasted 4 days.   A lot of boring highway miles on Day 3 before we arrived in the Phoenix area.  Let’s start with some photos from there.

I don’t know what business this pawn shop sign advertised for originally:

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Google Street View from 2007 gives a clue — the dollar sign panels look like they were originally “H”s:

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I believe this was a liquor store originally.  There are apparently identical buildings in the California desert (e.g., Needles, Yucca Valley).  So, it might have been a chain:

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The last time I visited the Christown Lanes in 2012, the building was greyish & white:
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By 2015, the building had flashier red paint.  The paitn was getting a touch up when I was here on this trip:

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I doubt the rock wall was three-tone like this originally:

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This gigantic sign visible from I-17 was a Goodyear sign originally:

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This vintage photo is from this website:
http://www.historyadventuring.com/2015/07/the-importance-of-goodyear-to-history.html

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There are very few of these Travelodge signs left so I’ve started shooting them even when they’ve been hideously adapted.  I don’t believe there are any that still advertise for Travelodge:

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This postcard shows there original look:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/roadsidepictures/4661477278/

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I don’t know the original business for this one but I like the shapes.  I assume the disk on top revolved:

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Much to admire here at this mid-century modern building in Mesa.  The screen, the columns with ballies, the brick planters, the raised letters….

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Also in Mesa.  Gotta be 1970s, right?  Yes, this is a big one.  The top panel still revolves:

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In Chandler.  Originally a Chrysler sign.  That’s the “Flookerang” (Forward Look) logo in neon on top:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forward_Look

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A former KFC bucket sign in Chandler was adapted last year for a Bosa Donuts.  This would have had the more modern bucket Colonel graphic originally.  I believe the vintage buckets were a tad narrower.

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One more from Chandler.  Maybe this was always the Wingfoot Mini-Mart.  Much to love — the spear, the ballie, the shish-kebab panels below:

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So much more to come…

Don’t forget that I do these blog/Flickr posts in separate, simultaneous batches.  Other nicer-looking signs, buildings & other stuff over here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

dj & the dogs

Day 1: SW Vacation -> Calif to Arizona

Here we go!  Three weeks all carefully planned out to maximize my precious vacation time.  Only about half of it is paid but I’ll deal with the debt later.  If you want to contribute to gas, I won’t stop you.  Donations to Sparkle’s tank can be made through my email address at Paypal.com (roadarch@outlook.com).  Thanks!!

First stop was in Corona, CA for this sign which was restored a couple of years ago.  I’m a little obsessed with Happy Bear signs right now since I just finished writing an article for the SCA Journal about them.  This is the only Bear sign still lit so it deserves three photos here.  By the way, for more examples & info about these signs, my webpage is here:
http://www.roadarch.com/signs/bear.html

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Headed eastward into the desert in the morning.  Here are a couple of signs from Hemet, CA:

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Five Corner Liquors in San Jacinto, CA:

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From Desert Hot Springs, CA:

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The Broadview Lodge in Desert Hot Springs is no more but this single sided panel has been placed at the back of the property.

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Colt’s Lodge in Palm Springs has two modern diver signs next to the pool (thanks Heather David for the tip!):

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This motel in Peyton Shores (near the Salton Sea) is long gone but this sign remains:

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Around 11am, I decided to crank up the A/C.  Nothing.  And it was already 93 degrees.  So, the dogs and I toughed it out since we were in the middle of nowhere and there were no reputable repair shops that I saw.  There were signs for miles advertising the date shakes in Westmorland.  I was so ready for this and it was sheer nirvana:

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A few signs in Brawley.  Garcia’s Market:

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Long abandoned sign without a building:

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At the Mexican border in Calexico.  I don’t know what business this sign advertised for originally:

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And then across the border into Arizona — woo hoo!  In Yuma where I spent the night.

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Pep Boys to the rescue — an appt at 9am to get the A/C repaired.  Sounds like it was just the freon.  Bone dry.  Since I never use it where I live in SoCal (right on the beach where it rarely gets above 70).  It sounds like another 30 mins and we will be on our way.  I hadn’t planned on posting to the blog until I got home but this was a good way to kill the time.  More photos over at Flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

I’ll get posting the rest of the vacation when I get home at the end of the month.

Happy trails,

dj & the dogs

Road Testing

I took a couple of little quickie L.A. area trips in the past few weeks.  Crappy weather but I took some photos anyway.

A towering sign with plastic ballies at the State Farm Insurance office in Inglewood:

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Lace-like concrete screen at Pilgrim Fence in Huntington Park:

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The Shamrock Lounge in Huntington Park:

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Martin’s TV & Radio Center in South Gate:

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At the vacant Artesia Drive In Dairy:

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A sibling of the Auto Chek Smog Center from the early 1980s which I posted here at this blog recently.  This one is in Stanton and is now known as Super Smog:

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This past weekend, I made a little trip up to the Sacramento area to give Sparkle another road test before my vacation.  All systems are go!  Here are some sign photos for you.  The City Motel in Fresno, CA.  This one is hidden away behind the building:

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Index Printing is in Newman, CA.  The business is gone and the neon is broken but the porcelain panels are still shiny:

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From Patterson — this spear-like sign pierces the canopy.  Hard to see in the shade but there’s concrete block over there on the left:

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This pretty sign is in Twain Harte at the El Dorado Motel:

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From Mi-Wuk Village at Diamond Jim’s — this heart-shaped sign is mounted sideways to point at the restaurant:

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From Sacramento:

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Also Sacramento — always in the shade when I try to shoot it.  Some info about the place here:
http://of-nothing.blogspot.com/2008/01/poseys-cottage.html

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Heading for the freeway in Martinez, I stumbled upon this clown sign in a residential neighborhood.  I have no idea where it was originally installed:

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More photos from this weekend over at Flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

Lots and lots of photos coming up in July.  My 3-week roadtrip starts in early June — Arizona, New Mexico & some Western Texas.

Until then, Happy Trails,

dj & the dogs

L.A.-ish Quickie

I made a little trip down to the L.A. area on Saturday to grab some photos.  Some reshoots, some things that have been on my list for awhile, and some unexpected discoveries.

Here’s a nice ripple tin oldie from Echo Park (Los Angeles):

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Here’s a batch of stuff from Covina:

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I have no idea how old this one is.  Certainly, the text is new or if this place has always been Baskin-Robbins.  If it has always been a B-R, the text was updated as the company updated the logo.  It’s not often you see a B-R neon sign.  I’m assuming it’s lit at night and fantasizing that it’s pink and blue neon:

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I’d love to know what this big monster advertised for originally:

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A cutie-patootie from Glendora:

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Equally or more cute in Covina.  I’m assuming there was a different biz here originally with different letters — but I can live with this transformation:

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A close-up of Mr. Cinderblock (my name):

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Some signs from San Bernardino:

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I wonder how many layers of paint are there:

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One more from San Bernardino.  I believe this has always been backlit plastic (not neon) but I could be wrong.  The place opened in 1961 but, unfortunately, it closed last year:

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Moving on to some buildings — a repurposed Fotomat in Covina:

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This place in Covina blew me away — love the angled sign and the decapitated pyramid.  I’m guessing 1970s:

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How about this shredded brick corner?  Does anyone remember the BEST Product Showrooms?
http://www.archdaily.com/778003/the-intersection-of-art-and-architecture-the-best-products-showrooms-by-site-sculpture-in-the-environment

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It turns out, there are FIVE other locations similar to this.  You can bet, I’ll be shooting them all!
http://www.autochekcenters.com/locations–hours.html

 

Moving on to one of my obsessions:  Bear Alignment signs.  They’ll be the subject of my feature for the the Winter SCA Journal issue — what’s the SCA Journal?  If you’re not a member, and you like signs and buildings and Americana, you wanta become a member so you’re not missing out.  Or you can buy a few Journals just to get a taste here:

http://sca-roadside.org/sca-publications/

I’ve been adding to this little page for awhile which explains a bit about these signs and shows examples from around the country:
http://www.roadarch.com/signs/bear.html

This weekend, I bumped into this little funky sign in Covina with the happy Bear:

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One of the priorities of this trip was shooting this Bear Alignment shop Glendora, CA.  I believe this is the only wheel alignment shop in-the-round.  One of the things that makes Bear shops unique is the equipment and the pit.  Not having lifts makes servicing faster.  You pull forward, and the mechanics get right to work:

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Note that little bridge stairway in the photo above?  Upstairs, the owner shared with the this framed vintage aerial photo:

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and this one:

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The upstairs office is original (1960s)!

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The Bear sign in Corona was restored last year.  I shot it last year but had a shadow from that palm tree.  This time, the light was right!

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The shop is very proud of its Bear-ness.  Painted bears in the front window – and even the workers have embroidered bears on their shirts.  Here’s the manager, Paul, who told me he’s considering adding some animation or flashing to the sign.  I explained to him that the Vodie’s Bear shop in Garden Grove recently restored their giant bear sign and added back the original moving mouth.  Paul seemed enthusiastic about doing that.  I mentioned that most cities have strict laws about moving signs.  He seemed to think it wouldn’t be a problem since the city was very happy about the restoration of this sign.

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This former Helm’s Bakery building in San Bernardino was a surprise.  Yeah, it’s pretty junked up now but the Art Deco details are still nice:

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The incredible library is in Covina:

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One more sign for you.  Maybe not all that special but I’m very sentimental about it.  My apartment is on a hill and when I take the dogs out for their final pee break before bed, I always look down the street to see the top few letters of the sign lit up at the bottom of the hill.  Green’s my favorite color as well.   And since you never know when one of these neon signs will disappear, I treasure it nightly.   I know there’s supposed to be black-out tape between the letters but I like it better this way.  There’s another, nearly identical “LIQUOR” sign just up the block with red neon.  I’d better get off my butt and shoot that one soon.  So, here’s the Avenue Liquor Store in Ventura:

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I’ll be back soon with more stuff soon since  I need to give Sparkle some stress tests before the 3-week June trip.

More stuff from Saturday at my Flickr stream here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Two Mini Trips

I took two little back-to-back daytrips these past couple of weekends.  Both were to be full two-day trips but the weather went cloudy/rainy by Sunday mornings, forcing the dogs and I to turn back for home.  Last Saturday, we went down to L.A. and, yesterday, we were in Central California.  Most of the destinations were to shoot things which have changed since I shot them last.  But there were a few first-timers and unexpected things as well.

This guy at Victorio’s Ristorante in North Hollywood used to look like this (my photos from 2012):

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at night:

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But then, a few months ago, the neon signs were placed with backlit plastic.  The owner said that the neon signs will be moved to the back of the building and will be lit again.  But I’m skeptical.

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The Circus Liquor sign in North Hollywood was repainted around 2013.  It’s faded quite a bit already but it’s still one of the best signs in the Valley:

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This beauty is in Van Nuys:

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I went to see the Friendly Hills Bowl transformation in Whittier.  Here’s the sign and building from 2013:

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The bowling alley closed in 2015 — it’s now a small strip mall.  Here’s the new look:

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I’ve heard that this former Van Nuys Savings Bank (in Van Nuys) might be on the chopping block:

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I’ve posted more photos from this L.A. trip over at Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

and posted others at my website.  But let’s move on to yesterday’s little trip.  Starting with these signs in Taft:

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This tire store is now an upholstery business but I’m glad the tire has survived.  That’s neon tread!

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Moving on to Bakersfield:

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In Avenal:

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In Kerman:

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Moving on to Fresno (thanks to Heather David who alerted me to this one).  It looks like this was originally a revolving sign:

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The Big Fresno Fair has a small collection of local, restored signs.  This one is from the Mars Drive-in restaurant, built in 1947.  Those car butts were not part of the original design:
https://www.fresnofair.com/blog-entry/throwback-thursday-1947-mars-drive-sign

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This one is also at the Big Fresno Fair.  I couldn’t find a thing about it but he’s awfully cute:

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A few signs from downtown Fresno — freestanding letters:

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the blade sign:

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and the Asla Hotel sign which hangs above the freestanding letters:

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A half-block away:

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From Oildale:

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If he looks familiar, yes, he’s the same character that appears on this sign at the former Johnie’s Broiler (now Bob’s Big Boy) in Downey, CA.  (I believe the Oildale location was a Johnie’s Jr.)
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From Porterville.  Surely, that neon skeleton on top must have pulsated at night:

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Another dealership sign — the one in Fresno.  I don’t know what the original name was:

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A close-up of the sputnik on top.  More examples of these at my site here:
http://www.roadarch.com/sca/roto3.html

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I thought I would have a better shot of this beauty in Sonora but just as I got into town, clouds blocked the sun.  Another time.  I hope it will be there the next time:

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If you’re curious, I’m still doing my winter website updating — religiously going through all the map links to see what’s changed or gone.  I have just 3 sections left:  Giant Things, Theatres, and Mid-Century Modern.  All the other sections are as updated as I can make them.

In other news, one of the reasons that I’ve been pretty quiet and stayed close to home for the past five months… I’ve been working on a book.  I never wanted to do one and turned a couple of publishers down.  I’ve always felt my website was a far better creation than a book could ever be.  But an English publisher caught me in a generous mood and I gave in.  The book should be out in October.  This won’t be a coffee table book.  More like 9 1/2 x 6 inches, paperback, at an affordable $20 or so.  There are about 177 photo (175 different signs) from all over the country.  All of them still on display at the moment.  I’ll post more details later.  This is a rough draft of what the bookjacket will look like:

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I’m turning in the photos & manuscript this week and will be back with some more roadtrips photos soon.  I’m also putting together plans for a 3-week June/July trip (Arizona, New Mexico & a wee bit of Texas).

More photos from these past two Saturdays over at Flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

For now, Happy Trails!

dj & the dogs

More Recent-ish Sign News – Part 2

Here’s Part 2 — brace yourself for more heartbreaking losses.  All the photos were taken by me unless it’s mentioned.  By the way, you can advance to earlier posts down at the bottom of the page, just above the brown box.  Or in the brown box, you can select posts by monthly chunks.

Ohio has lost some beauties recently.  The Carl Zipf Lock Shop sign in Columbus had been bent like this since at least 2007:
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Then, earlier this year, the sign was replaced with this smaller, modern sign — from Google Street View:
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The Maple  Leaf Tavern in Cleveland was a beauty:

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It was replaced within the last year and a half with a new sign for the All Stars Ultra Sports Lounge.  I’ll spare you with how ugly it looks.

This one in Lancaster, OH was gorgeous.  It was still there last year but it’s gone now.  In fact, the entire building has been demolished:

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A little ray of sun — the Karl Mouch sign in Cincinnati was removed this year.  But Tod at the American Sign Museum is working with the family that owned the business.  The sign will probably be restored and then will, most likely, be sold to a collector.  Let’s hope somehow Tod is able to sweet talk the sign into his collection instead.  These Elgin Watch signs were mass-produced and there are only a dozen or so of them still out there.  This is one of the rarer ones with the optional, blade sign attached:

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Some losses in New Jersey.  This one in Angeloni’s Cedar Gardens Liquor store in Hamilton was removed this year:
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This one in Pennsville — gone:
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In Jersey City — the business closed decades (?) ago — the sign is gone now:
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In Rutherford, NJ — there in 2013 but gone now:
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The Colgate Clock in Jersey City has a long history.  This sign was built in 1924 and was based on Colgate’s octagon-shaped soap.  The hour marks and hands were outlined with neon.  The outside of the clock was lit with bulbs.

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Then, in 2013, the clock was completely rebuilt (I assume they trashed the original) with LED.  Needless to say, I’m not pleased with the results.  Here’s a photo from Patrick Marella:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/pmarella/14845729998/

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For those of you who wonder what’s the big deal between neon and LED… Yes, LED is cheaper.  But it’s turning to be not as long-lasting as promised.   Most importantly, it’s crap as you can see here.  The first photo shows the sign when it had neon (glowing, warm, wonderful) and the second photo of what it looks like now (flat, lifeless, blah):

Photo from Steven Kelley:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/yukonblizzard/4482415211/

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Photo from J. Alberto Granados Sosa:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/wideopencode/15830916525/
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Moving on to a couple of losses in Illinois.  In Forest Park — the sign was still there in 2015 but gone now.  I’m hoping a collector got this one since it’s not overly big:
thepines

This sign was in Tuscola, IL.  When the motel got a plastic box sign in 2012, the sign was saved and moved across the street and installed at a used car dealer.  We thought the sign had found some love and was safe.  But by 2015, it was gone:
cooper

This sign in Kansas City, KS disappeared within the last year or two:
thriftway

Let’s end this post with one bit of good news fer Chrissakes.  The Sifting Sands Motel sign in Ocean City, NJ is being restored.  Or at least I think it is:
sifting

This article says that the sign is being restored as closely as possible to the original colors and look:
http://ocnjdaily.com/sifting-sands-refurbishes-facilities/

I may have one more “Recent Sign News” post in few weeks.  It probably shrinks my “fan base” to write these but I think it’s important to share the bad news.  We need to get organized somehow folks to save what’s left.  There are plenty of wonderful signs still out there but we lose more and more every year, every month.  At this rate, 20 years from now, there will be practically none left.

Happy New Year!

Debra Jane

P.S.  some little roadtrips coming up soon.  There will also be a three-week trip this summer.  Most likely AZ, NM & a little TX.

 

More Recent-ish Sign News – Part 1

I’ve been continuing to update the Signs section at my website (RoadsideArchitecture.com).  So many signs have been removed in the past couple of years that I can’t begin to fit them into a post or two.

Let’s start off with this painful shocker.  Just this week, the towering Sunland Motel sign in Mesa, AZ was removed and replaced with a boring, little backlit plastic box sun (I’ll spare you the photo of that).  Here’s what was lost – my photos from 2012:

psunland

msunland

Recent news from Stockton, CA.  The Lincoln Center sign is being redone.  Here’s the article:
http://www.recordnet.com/news/20161225/fitzs-stockton-sign-goes-to-l-and-back

Here’s the sign — the “L” composed of scintillating and flashing bulbs on one side, with neon on the other.  My photo from 2014:
lcenter

Here’s a quickie video that I shot which shows the revolving sign at night — and the flashing bulbs:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PANrHbhTjgg&list=UU-YkUPfbb5bC5rI7RsFH1Ng

And here’s the artist’s illustration of what the sign will look like later this week — with the backlit plastic “L” on both sides and the new digital message board below:

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More sign losses, if you can bear it.   The Corn Palace sign in Mitchell, SD was replaced about a year ago with a backlit plastic box sign.  One of the plastic onion domes (a reference to the Corn Palace building in town) had been taken out during a storm in 2012.  I guess the decision was made to just replace the whole darn thing with something cheaper/easier to maintain.  My photo from 2006:

cpmotel2

The Men’s Club sign in Chickasha, OK disappeared sometime after 2013.  I sure hope someone saved it.  The snooker balls were composed of light bulbs.  My photo from 2011:
mensclub

There have been a lot of recent losses in Pennsylvania.  The Donahue’s Hour Glass sign in Wilkes-Barre was removed about a year ago during a “remodeling”.  I’m pretty sure it’s gone for good.  My photo from 2010:
hourglass

The Pep Bar in Harrisburg is gone and so is the sign.  My photo from 2012:
hbar

The Ed’s Steak House rooftop sign in Bedford, PA was removed in 2012 and scrapped.  My photo from 2010:
eds

This Philadelphia Electric Company bulb sign disappeared about a year ago.  My photo from 2010:
philelec

 

From Las Vegas — this sign has been adapted.  My photo from 2014:

2newtown

It’s not as nice now but it’s better than being scrapped.  From Google Street View a few months ago:
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Another bit of Vegas news — the Strip 91 Motel sign was removed about a year ago.  It is now being stored by The Neon Museum in town.  So, it may reappear someday.  Restoring this big sign will be costly.  My photo from 2014 (Sparkle says “hi”):

strip91

The Stimson Market sign in Ogden, UT from 1948 was still intact in 2008:
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

By 2014, it had a weird paint job:
smarket1

Then, last year, the sign disappeared and, by earlier this year, there was a vacant lot where the market had been.

This one’s very upsetting to me.  In all my recent 32 years of living in NYC, I never did shoot the Lascoff Drugs sign.  I don’t know why.  In a town with so little neon, I just ignored things there I guess.  It was incredible with its beaded tin border, applied letters, caduceus, and repair ladders.  Photo from Google Street View in 2011:

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Then, after 113 years in business, the store closed in 2012.  The “Lascoff Drugs” letters were removed by the following year.  In 2014, it was adapted for a Warby Parker eyeglass store.  I’m trying to see the glass half full here — but that sign should NEVER have been touched.  [Google Street View:
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Another sign that should have been declared historic and never touched is this one in Henderson, KY.  My photo from 2010:

bernsteins

Alas, the neon was removed and the sign was painted over by 2012 as revealed by the latest Google Street View photo:
capture

The best news I have at the moment and I have mixed feelings about it.  The House of Doors sign Brookfield, IL was replaced with a replica sign a year ago:
barcol

From the House of Doors’ Facebook page — the new sign just before it was installed:

doors

Back later today with “Part 2”.

Debra Jane