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

Summer Trip – Day 9 / Eastern Oregon & Northern California

Picking up in Klamath Falls, OR where we left off last night:


At the bottom of the pole:


This one in Klamath Falls is a mystery to me.  It’s on the roof of Basin Glass.  The fisherman and fish are made out of little bulbs and/or LED tubing.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t lit at night — I tried!


This one is in Lakeview, OR.  I’m a sucker for mortar & pestle signs:

There are loads of drive-thru coffee kiosks in Oregon & Washington.  You can’t drive a mile without seeing one.  And on this trip with 100+ temperatures nearly every day, I stopped at a lot of them for iced Cold Brews.  Yes, even the little one-of-kind places are keeping pace with Starbucks — you just have to ask because it’s usually not on their little menu boards.  Anyway.  The dogs LOVE these places because all of them give the dogs biscuits.  I can barely get my coffee ordered and safely back in the van with Gremmie and Nik-y hanging out the window drooling and watching the attendant’s every move.  Well, Nik (the black & white dog) isn’t watching since he can’t see but the second I roll down the window and start talking to somebody, he knows the deal:


They don’t want the change — they want more of those biscuits, please!


Crossing over into California now.  The Burney Bowl is, naturally, in Burney:


These two signs are also in Burney:




Susanville has a lot of great signs — here are just a few:

Obviously, there was neon here originally.  I think the bowling ball looks more like an Oreo:


These two signs are at the same place:



Here’s what the sign above looked like originally when it had that panel in place:

There are two of these pretty much identical bulb arrow add-on signs across the street from each other at different businesses:


This former A&W building and sign are also in Susanville.  This is the stubbier smaller pilgrim hat variety.  I like this re-use with the little pagoda-esque projections at the corners.  Lots more of these buildings all over the country — photos at my website starting at this page:



Moving on to Chester, CA:



Two separate signs for the restaurant & motel:



Last one for this post — the final stop for the night was in Red Bluff.  Only a few signs were lit.  Love the simulated wood letters:


One more post to go!


Summer Trip – Day 8 / Eastern & Central Oregon

The day started in Pendleton, OR — so, here are a couple of other signs from there:


This sign —


… would have advertised Elgin Watches for a jewelry store originally like this one that I shot in Fort Madison, Iowa.  The customer could buy just the bottom panels with the clock and diamond — or the whole shebang with the blade sign:



From Baker City — a nice plastic Elks Lodge sign.  These are rarer than the neon variety:


Some more signs from Baker City:


The bottom panels of this Coca-Cola sign are gone and those little plastic diamonds are starting to fall down inside:


A better example of those plastic diamonds — my photo from Livingston, Montana:



An Elks Lodge sign from John Day, OR:



The Central Hotel in Burns:


As you can see, the paint on the sunny side of the sign is nearly gone.  This side gives a better idea of the original Art Deco appearance:


A few more signs from Burns:



These arrow clocks were mass-produced in green and yellow.  Maybe there were other colors but I haven’t seen any others.  The examples that remain usually point downward rather than sideways like this one:


Sorry about that damned tree:



Running out of daylight in Chemult:



Hardly any sun left in nearby Beaver Marsh but I’ll include this anyway.


Cute little A-frame cabins behind that office building and chain link:



One more shot for this post  — the Ross Ragland Theatre in Klamath Falls which was the final stop for the day:


Two more posts to go from this trip — coming up in a few hours,


Summer Trip – Day 7 / Eastern Washington & Oregon

After a crazy week at work, I’m back to posting a sampling of photos to this blog and Flickr.  I should be able to get the remaining four posts up today.

Let’s pick up where I left off — in Spokane.  This great bulb arrow is actually in Spokane Valley:


In Spokane:

Moving on to Colfax:


In Pullman.  I don’t know if this sign ever had a back half and handle to simulate a paint can.  Here’s a Dutch Boy sign that I shot in Gastonia, NC to show you what I mean:


Moving on for a bit to nearby Idaho.  This sign is in Moscow:


From Lewiston, ID — a modern, mini version of the Downey, CA sign:


Here’s one of my photos of the vintage Downey sign.  I believe it was the only one built with this design:


A vintage sign in Lewiston — actually, there are two identical signs like this (one in the front and one in the back of the building):


Back in Washington — this rooftop sign is in Clarkston:


Another sign in Clarkston.  Cropped off in this photo is one of those giant bulb poles.  I assumed the bulbs flashed sequentially:


One more from Clarkston:


A couple signs in Pomeroy:


The neon on this sign was restored by David Webb who has about a dozen, restored vintage signs on display in Pomeroy (some photos of them posted over at my Flickr stream simultaneously with this post):


I believe Webb owns the former Greyhound station behind this great old moving van which must also be his:



Moving on to Northeast Oregon — this sign in Pendleton is at the former Pendleton Skate City:


A few other signs in Pendleton to finish off this post:




More photos from this day’s trip here:

Back soon with another blog post,