Recent-ish Roadside News — Statues!

Lots of recent good news and bad news to share from the Statues section at my website which I just updated thoroughly.


This trio of A&W statues in Thermopolis, WY has been gone since around 2014.  One of my photos from 2012:


There are still a couple dozen or so A&W Burger Family statues still out there:

The Tastee-Freez “Eff” statue in Kenly, NC disappeared earlier this year.  Rumor has it that it might be repaired and return but I’ll believe it when I see it.  My photo from 2009:


The Cowboy Cleaners statue in Wichita is also gone now.  Still there in 2014 but gone in 2015.  My photo from 2010:

The Johnny Appleseed Restaurant in New Market, VA closed in October.  It’s not known what will happen with the statue in front of the building.  One of my photos from 2008:


One Stop Wedding in Pittsburgh, PA closed around 2014 and this sign disappeared from the roof at the same time.  My photo from 2010:


The Hobo Joe statue in Buckeye, AZ was removed earlier this year.  The property had been sold and the City snagged the statue before something could happen to it.  The statue may be restored and reinstalled some day.   Don’t hold your breath though.  The statue is 27 feet tall and will cost a fortune to restore.  Here’s an article about the recent removal:

One of my photos from 2012:



There are only a handful of Carpeteria genie statues left.  The one in Las Vegas had been abandoned for many years. Then, earlier this year, a new flooring place moved into the building and repainted the statue and adapted the sign.  He looks great!

One of my photos from 2014:


And now this photo from the Nevada Public Radio blog post:


In Davenport, IA, these statues which depict Seurat’s painting “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” in 3-D form were installed in 1998 in Credit Island Park.  One of my photos from 2006 (yes, that’s Sparkle in the background):


The statues were removed in 2008 and everyone assumed they were gone for good.  I just found out they were restored and reinstalled in 2010!  Some photos from 2012 at this blog:

One of the biggest miracles is the restoration of Tex Randall in Canyon, TX.  This 47 foot tall cowboy was built in 1959.  By the time I got photos of him in 2011, he was very endangered:


He’s nearly done as you can see in this photo from Kim Canada at the Tex Randall Facebook page:

From Cowboys to Indians…  The giant Indian in Oak Lawn, IL has also been restored.  Here’s one of my photos from 2006:


Here’s an article about the restoration:
And a photo from 2015 by Rick Drew:

Another miracle and restoration — the Last Chance Joe statue in Sparks, NV.   This 36 foot tall statue was built in 1952.  In 2014, the Nuggest Casino was sold to Global Gaming which had no interest in keeping the statue.   The Sparks Heritage Museum came to the rescue and, with the help of many donations, got the statue moved in front of museum.  The restoration of the statue is coming along.  Here’s one of my photos from 2014 at the old location when his fate was still hanging in the balance:


And the work in progress at the new location from the Last Chance Joe Facebook page:


The International Fiberglass “Waving Man” statue at the Plantation Inn was a landmark in Chicopee since 1999.  In 2013, the hotel and property were put up for sale.  The statue was sold for $11,500 and moved to Agawam.  I think this makes the third time this 22 foot tall statue was moved — which is no small feat!  He was originally at a pizza shop, then a car dealership, then the Plantation Inn, and now over at a strip mall in Agawam, MA.  Here’s one of my photos from 2010 during his Chicopee days:


There are no photos on the ‘net yet of him in his new home.  But Google Street View has a shot of him next to the Partners Restaurant.  Google blurred out his face but you get the idea.  He looks much shorter there, doesn’t he?:

And finally — another major miracle.  The  34 foot tall Santa statue at Busler’s Truck Stop in Haubtstadt, IN was thought to be beyond repair and doomed.  Then someone bought him in 2012 and trucked him off saying the statue would be restored and put up on public view again.  Yeah, right.  But then, two months ago, the statue reappeared in Evansville, IN — fully restored — just in time for Christmas!

One of my photos from 2010:


And while he was being restored — photo from this article:


And in Evansville at his new location — waving to passersby one again [photo & story from:


If you’d like to see lots & lots of surviving people statues  (other sections for animals & things), my section is here:

Back soon with news on other subjects,


Recent-ish Roadside News… Dairy Queen, Car Dealerships & More

I’m continuing to bang away at the website updating.  I’ve wrapped up the Drive-ins, Diners, Mini Golf, Five & Dime Stores, and more.  But still a long way to go.  Time to pause for a moment & share some news.

This building in Enid, OK was demolished earlier this year.  What a beauty — my photo from 2011:


A few Dairy Queens losses  to report.  This unique sign in Verona, PA disappeared sometime between 2013 and 2016.  My photo from 2012:


In the last couple of years, Dairy Queen corporate has been very actively going after their franchisees to replace their vintage signs with the ugly new swoosh DQ logo.  They are also demanding building replacements as well.  With all the costs to be paid by the franchisee.  There have been many threats and a number of losses.  The rare plastic sign in Topeka, KS came down just this week.  They are hoping to donate it to a local museum.  The Stamford, CT location is breathing a sign of relief this week as their local government stood up to DQ’s demands to replace their 1960s barn-like building and sign.

I just Googled to see the status of the Andover, OH location and sadly it closed a few years ago.  Dairy Oasis opened in the building earlier this year.  This sign which is the same sign that was in Topeka and survives in Stamford is gone now.  But the barn building and the very rare “lips”-shaped weathervane on the roof survive.  My photo from 2010:


Let’s move on to Car Dealerships — with lots of news from the last couple of years.

A devastating loss in San Carlos, CA.  The Neufeld & Freeborn dealership was built in 1960, selling Porsches and Volkswagens.  The building was vacant and boarded up for many years.  Then, demolished earlier this year.  There’s a vacant lot there now.  My photo from 2014:


The Leach-Wilson Chevrolet-Buick dealership in Shelbyville, IL got a heavy-handed remodeling from corporate recently.  My photo from 2010:


And from last year — okay, at least they left the stair-step showroom on the left and the removed the ugly vinyl slats from the windows – but did they have to cover up the brick?  [Google Street View]:


The good news is that three of these Chevrolet “OK” signs still remain at Leach-Wilson in the used car lot behind the building:


In Lexington, KY, the Paul Miller sign had been partially replaced with backlit plastic letters – my photo from 2010:


and the news via Google Street View (yes, at least the hyperbolic parabola showroom is intact):


This nice building in Lexington, TN was demolished earlier this year.  I couldn’t find any explanation of why.  The dealership moved in 2013 and the building remained vacant after that:



In 2014, this fun mid-century dome Chevrolet dealership (my photo from 2011):


… was updated with that hideous silver and blue “consistent corporate branding” crap:


This silver and blue stuff is being plastered on Chevy dealerships from coast to coast, little dealers and big ones.  Like DQ, Chevy has no respect or understanding of history.    I’m hoping they didn’t screw around with the interior.  Luckily, I think it would be too difficult (my photo from 2005):


Let’s not leave things on such a depressing note — how about a little sign news:

The bad news — the Charcoal Oven in Oklahoma City closed recently.  The good news — at least the sign was saved and it is resting comfortably at G&S Signs in OKC.  The owner  of the sign is still deciding what to do with it.  It will most likely be displayed at a sign museum which the owner of G&S hopes to open within the next few years:


Some really good news in Sacramento — six vintage, local signs have been restored and are now on display at the recently opened Golden 1 Center.  Here’s one of the signs which I shot in the shade in 2008:


More about the restorations, great photos & history of the “lucky six” here:

Lots more surviving car dealerships at my website here:

And the Dairy Queen section starts here (seven very full pages):

Back with more news & photos on other topics soon,



More Recent-ish Roadside News: Signs – Part 1 of Many

From the SCA Journal Sign Lines articles “companion pages” at my site, here are some of the noteworthy discoveries.

This vintage Krispy Kreme sign in Akron, OH must have been from the 1950s.  If there were others like it, none are left now.  My photo from 2009:


Around 2013, the sign was replaced with a modern version.  I wish they had stayed closer to the original — I hate those channel letters!   And those perfectly circular donuts have none of the character as the original, irregular neon and hand-painted originals.  But, yeah, it could have been a plastic box.  From Google Street View:


Here’s a closeup at Flickr [credit to Rick]:


Yet another Krispy Kreme heartbreaker — the company replaced the Hampton, VA location with a boring box style building and this rare, rooftop 1960s beauty is gone.  At least the ones in Chattanooga, Gainesville, and Atlanta remain and are in intact.  The one in Spartanburg has been painted over and the one in Albany, GA has been altered with the company’s newer logo.  My photo of the Hampton crown sign — now in sign heaven — from 2007.  Yes, the oval part of the sign revolved originally:


Moving on to another donut chain:  Shipley Do-Nuts.  The North Little Rock location got a little makeover sometime after last summer.  My photo from 2008:


And courtesy of Google Street View — the building and sign were repainted.  Unfortunately, the neon is gone now but at least the original shapes are all still there:


The Shipley Donuts in Tupelo, MS location became Scarlet’s Donuts in 2015.  My photo from 2010:

The adapted sign from Google Street View:


There are still loads of surviving donut signs.  I’ve got six pages of them at my website here:

These two opal glass letter signs in Beaumont, TX are gone now — my photos from 2011:



Miraculously, still a good number of these signs from the 1920s/1930s out there still:

This sign in Selma, AL is gone now.  My photo from 2010.  The restaurant closed in 2012.   The sign was still there in 2014.  I hope it was saved:


But the good news is — there’s still lots of other pancake signs out there:

Another horrible surprise and loss.  This sign in Albuquerque disappeared this year at Google Street View.  The company had moved to a new location in 2001.  They couldn’t bring it and install it at the new place due to sign regulations.  I sure hope it was saved by somebody.  I’m going to call them on Monday to see what happened.  My photo from 2008:


More plumbing signs here:

Let’s end this post on a positive note.  If you haven’t heard, the Roto-Sphere in Memphis at Joe’s Liquors was removed in June.  It was completely restored and reinstalled in August.  Here’s my photo from 2010:


My page about these signs here:

Back very soon with another post.


More Recent-ish Roadside News – Giant Food, Art Deco & more

From random sections at my website — I wrapped Giant Food, Giant Containers, Art Deco/Streamline Modern buildings, Paul Bunyan statues…  and here are some of my discoveries.

I’m happy to report this miracle.  This giant orange in Mount Dora, FL was built in 1973.  It closed in 1984 and remained vacant.  I took this photo in 2009:


In 2014, it was adopted and moved to Umatilla, FL where it was completely restored at its new home:  Sunsational Citrus.  The following photo appears in this news article:


If you’re interested in more giant oranges, my page about them is here:

Here’s one place that I was really looking forward to seeing & shooting in Chicago — tacky as it might seem.  Evidently, these pizza slices started out as searchlight beams for a Planet Hollywood.  Geno’s moved in around 2007 and by 2009 one of the shapes was transformed into a pizza slice.  By 2011, all four of them had become giant slices: [Google Street View]


Then last summer, the slices and the entire building came down.  Ah well…

I shot this giant Nantucket Nectars bottle at a junkyard in Dos Palos, CA in 2014.  It was gone by last May.  I hope it found a good home:


The Cup restaurant in Pottstown, PA was built in the 1940s by Levengood Dairies.  The company built at least four of these buildings.   The Pottstown location closed shortly after I took this photo of the place in 2007:


It reopened a few years later and then closed again.  Since 2013, the building has been housing Mannino’s Pizzeria [Google Street View].  The cute straw in the cup is gone but I’m glad to see the place back in use:


The Cup building in Pennsburg, PA has been housing a Rita’s Water Ice for close to 10 years or more.  Here’s a photo I took in 2009:

This building in San Diego was built in 1931 as the Silverado Ballroom.  It was looking a little ragged when I took this photo in 2014:


I’m happy to say that it got a $1.6 million restoration last year and now has a cheery paint job:
It reopened earlier this year  [from Google Street View]:


This one broke my heart.  I loved this little Art Deco building in New Haven, CT.  I took these photos in 2007:


It had these nice relief panels with an aviation theme:


It was abandoned for years.  So, I shouldn’t have been shocked.  But in 2015, Google Street View shows an apartment building going up on the site.  Crap.

Let’s wrap up this post with a sign.  I’ve been worried about the long abandoned camera store sign in Detroit — fearing that it would just disappear one day.  Here’s what the sign looked like back in 2005 [credit mrehfus at Flickr]


It had neon originally.  And the flash on top must have had a bulb that flashed.   By my 2011 photo, the sign had been painted over:


And today, as per Google Street View, it’s a relief that the sign is still there.  But it’s a rather odd repurpose.   Glad they didn’t scrap it.  Maybe one day the sign will be adopted by a camera store and repainted.  Although getting around city sign codes to install a sign like this is nearly impossible these days:


I’ve just started going through the SCA Journal Sign Articles companion pages at my site.  So, there will be a lot more signs coming up in the next post.  Stay tuned.



Recent-ish Road News: Critters (Pt. 2)

I hope you have the Kleenex handy.  There have been lots of wonderful animal statues which have gone missing in the past year or so.  Like this pink elephant in Tucson.  Apparently, the Treasure Chest used furniture store closed last year and this statue disappeared at that point:



Not so recent but I’ll include it anyway since I still haven’t gotten over the loss.  This Giant Gator in Kissimmee, FL was demolished in 2014.  It was 126 feet long and originally advertised for JungleLand, a wild animal park and alligator farm.  JungleLand closed in 2002.  The Gator Motel is still located next to the now really big parking lot:


The good news is that Swampy, the 200 foot long gator in Christmas, FL, is still there and looking good.  My photo from 2009:


Google Street View from this year:



These Giant Ants in Tulare, CA were removed last year:


Copper Country Antiques in Tucson, AZ closed at the end of 2015.  The place had all kinds of statues like these which I shot in 2012.  All are gone now and Tucson is the lesser for it:




Dixon’s Blind & Awning in Rocky Mount, NC is still there but this wonderful giraffe disappeared sometime between 2012 and 2015.  My photos from 2009:


Another giraffe sob story .  This one was in Cape Canaveral, FL.  Traxx at Jungle Village has closed.  These two statues disappeared sometime between 2011 and 2015.   My photos from 2009:


A close-up of his lovely concrete face:


The giraffe’s buddy — a cheetah (?) is also gone:


In January, the Octopus Car Wash in Rockford, IL became a Mister Car Wash .  This sign was reworked and the giant octopus was removed.   Here are a couple of my photos of the place from 2009:



Here’s what is there now [from the Rockford Register Star]:


There were about 25 of these “Ozzie” statues built in the mid-1960s.  I believe there are only two left on public display:  one in Milwaukee, WI and one in Sterling, IL.  I just spoke with the owner of the Milwaukee location and was assured that a) she’s keeping hers and b) the three statues from the Madison locations which were removed in 2015 are in good hands.  The owner is looking for appropriate homes for them.

Here’s the one in Sterling, IL — my photo from 2012:


For more photos & info about these Octopus Car Wash statues, see my page here:


So, that’s it for the animal statues section.  The really good news is that there are still hundreds them that are still out there.  If you’re into this sort of thing, here’s the Main Page for them at my website:


Back soon with “news” from other sections.


Recent-ish Road News: Critters (Pt. 1)

The animal statue section at my site is really big.  I’m only about halfway through the link & map checking.  But here’s what I can report so far.  Lots of losses.

The Chicken Cadillac in Bandera, TX is gone now.  Here’s a photo I took in 2011:banderachick
Thankfully, there are still lots of Chicken Cars out there:

Two Rubber Duckies are also missing now — the one in Houston, TX:

and the one in Oxnard, CA:


The Bull in San Jose, CA has gotten a new paint job.  Here he is in 2014:

and here’s what he looks like now [Google Street View]:

A real loss — the Cow with the Steak in Durand, IL disappeared in 2015:

The Blue Bull in Radcliff, KY also disappeared a year or two ago:

This Bull in Reno, NV is also gone as of last year:

The Giant Cougar in Zebulon, NC is gone now:

There are still three of these statues out there:

Two standing Esso Tigers are gone now.  This one in Mount Ephraim, NJ:

and this one in Verona, PA:

The only other one like this that I know of still out there on public display is in Toano, VA at a BP gas station.   [Google Street View]

More to come…


Recent-ish Road News: Soda Bottling Plants

This will be a short one.  After combing this section of my website for any changes, it’s a relief to report that just about nothing has changed with these buildings.

Some good news:  The Coca-Cola plant in Paducah, KY closed in 2005 and remained vacant until 2014 when the Dry Ground Brewing Company beer pub moved in.  I took this photo in 2010:


The interior staircase and terrazzo floor was preserved [Coke Plant Facebook page – photo by Phyllis Russell]:

The Pepsi plant in New Bern, NC was vacant when I took these photos in 2010:



Sadly, the Pepsi signs were removed by the end of last year.

The former Canada Dry bottling plant in Philadelphia got a new paint job around 2014.  Here’s one of my photos from 2010:

and here’s what it looks like today [from Google Street View]:

If you’d like to see more of these Streamline Moderne Canada Dry buildings, here’s a nice little page:

The Soda Plant section at my website is here:


Recent-ish Road News: Bus Stations

Here are some things that I discovered while updating the Bus Station section at my website this week.  I’ll also include some other recent noteworthy events which I knew about but maybe you didn’t.

The Salinas, CA station’s neon signs were removed within the last year or so.  Unlikely that they were saved:

In Evansville, IN, the station’s neon was relit in June.  A Bru Burger Bar will be opening in the building soon:

My photo from 2006 before the major restoration took place:

The Paducah, KY station closed in 2010 and I got this photo just before the sign was painted over:

The Paducah Beer Werks opened in the building in 2015 with an adapted sign [photo by Michael B. at Yelp]

The Billings, MT Greyhound station closed in 2014.  One of my photos from 2006:

Last year, the building was renovated and the sign was adapted for the new occupant:  the Pub Station.  [photo from Google Street View]

This gorgeous Union Bus Station building in Oklahoma City was demolished earlier this year — my photo from 2011:
ubusSupposedly some of the vitrolite glass tiles and the sign were saved and may reappear at some point.  Maybe.

The former Greyhound station in Dyersburg, TN got a new tenant last year.  Here’s one of my photos from 2007:

It housed a Domino’s Pizza for awhile after that.  And now it’s housing the Bus Stop restaurant [photo Google Street View]:

The former Tri-State Coach Bus Station in Big Stone Gap, VA got a paint job about a year or so ago.  Here’s how it looked in 2010:

Here’s how it looks now [Google Street View]:

And, lastly, not such recent news since the restoration was completed in 2010 — but I think it merits including.  This station in Blytheville, AR closed around 2001.  The restoration work was extensive — here’s one of my photos from 2007:blygrey

and here’s what the building looks like today as the tourist info center [credit Google Street View]:
If you’re hungry for more Bus Stations, here’s that section at my website:


Recent-ish Road News (part 1 of many)

It’s that time of the year again.  I’m going thru all 2500+ pages of my website and removing/replacing dead links to external websites and checking all those Google Street View maps in my descriptions to see what’s changed.  I’ve only just begun and found all kinds of interesting and heartbreaking things.  I might as well share the pain & news with you guys since my friends & family do not understand the importance of these things.  I expect to be busy all winter with this project so there will be multiple posts as I go.

But before I dive into that — some other recent roadside events on the front of my mind that might be of interest.  All photos taken by me unless credited otherwise.  The long-abandoned Pig Stand in Beaumont, TX was just demolished.  Here’s a photo from 2011:
More info about the place here:

The Fresno Motel sign in Fresno, CA was removed a few weeks ago — one of my photos from 2013:

The good news is that someone’s got it.  Someone got a photo of it tied securely down to a flatbed truck and being taken off to who-knows-where.

A former McDonald’s building and sign in Los Angeles were just demolished.  Okay, so, both had been remodeled quite a lot but still.  Here’s what the sign looked like in the end:

This sign would have looked like this originally:

That leaves the McDonald’s sign of its kind left in Pomona, CA:
The Peter Pan Motel sign in Santa Cruz, CA was recently demolished.  It crumbled and broken into a million pieces as it was being removed.  The Museum of Art in town was going to rescue it just before the tragedy occurred.

More sadness — the Moon Winx sign in Tuscaloosa, AL is up for sale:

But there is lots of good news out there.   Restored neon signs in Sacramento, CA are now on display: 

The Roto-Sphere in Memphis was taken down and thorough restored this summer (my photo from 2010):

The Roto-Sphere in Salt Lake City was also taken down and completely restored about a month ago (my photo from 2014):

And mixed-bag news — The Charcoal Oven in Oklahoma City closed but the gigantic sign was at least saved:

my photo from 2012:

I’ll be back tomorrow with another post — the first of many — with findings from my website updating.  If you care or dare to try to keep pace with me, I’ve updated these sections so far:  Soda Bottling Plants, Paul Bunyan Statues, and Greyhound Bus Stations.  All find-able at the Main Page:

Happy Trails (real or virtual),



Summer Trip – Day 10 – Northern California

This is the last post from this whirlwind Northwest trip.  It’s shorter than usual since I had to scurry back home to get back to work.

From Butte City — too early for sun but here it is anyway.  There’s evidence of yellow and green paint under the brown:

This one’s in Oroville:


In Carmichael – is that a rocket penetrating some clouds or what?


A couple of signs from Sacramento:


In Stockton:

And, lastly, since I was finally in Lodi on a weekday, I got to see the vintage signs inside the Vintage Reserve Garage.  Here are a couple of my favorites:



So, that’s it for this trip.  If you’re trying to figure out how to check out previous posts here, there seems to be two methods.  In the brown section at the bottom, there’s a toggle under “blog archives” where you can go to various months.  Or, if you’re at an individual post and you go just below the white section, you can advance to earlier or later posts via arrows next to titles.

Or a more convoluted method is via my Flickr stream just for blog photos where you can search through them via albums and keyword boxes.  Each photo there has a link directly back to the blog post where it appears:

As for non-blog photos — I’ve posted a sampling from each day of this trip at my other Flickr stream:

For the next few months, I’ll be quietly working on adding the approximately one thousand photos from this trip to my website.   Yes, if you didn’t realize it, my website is my REAL life’s work — well, the last 15 years worth of work anyway:

Happy trails!

dj & the dogs
happy to be chillin’ back home for awhile