Day 16: Birmingham and Beyond

I made a lot of progress today.  It really helped to hit Birmingham on a Saturday when there was basically no traffic whatsoever.  So now, just a bit more Northwest AL tomorrow and then on to MS.  Hopefully, I can bang through that state in three days as well.  We’re officially around the bend — just past the halfway point of this trip.  It feels like I’ve been at this a month already.  I think it’s all the rain and killer goals I’ve set up for myself each day.  Plus I’m still a little stressed about the key situation.

The weather was even more beautiful today than yesterday.  I didn’t get the dogs nearly as much exercise as they would’ve liked.  Will have to make it up to them tomorrow in some more rural-ish areas.  It’s also time for another oil change — passed the 6,000 mile mark for this trip today. 

Lots and lots of signs for you today so let’s get to it.  I already uploaded a bunch to Flickr but still have lots of “lesser” signs for the blog.  For those of you that are interested in such things, here’s the order of my nightly “homework”:
* check and answer emails; respond to Flickr comments
* crop & tweak photos for Flickr & blog
* upload photos to Flickr
* write the blog post

So that’s why I don’t get to bed til well after midnight and the blog posts will always be a rough draft.

Aha!  So that sign that I posted for you last night from Selma was not unique.  There must’ve been a chain that used these.  What chain though?  This one was in Sylacauga:

Sylacauga calls itself the “Marble City”.   According to their website, the city is constructed on a solid deposit of the hardest, whitest marble in the world.  Many famous buildings around the country have been faced with it, including this mid-century bank:

A massive sign from Talladega — still in business:

A colorful Masonic sign from Anniston:

The rusty crusty Van Thomas sign was looking extra nice in the sun:

This “Lounge” sign is in Pell City or just a hair north of it:

This painted wall sign in Birmingham appears to be authentic:

Another wall ad in Birmingham.  There are still uniform shops in the building:

Three “rusties” from Birmingham:

I really like this one a lot.  The delicate hand over the razor wire.   Is the hand holding a business card?  It would help to know the original use of the sign I suppose:

And lastly, I’m drawing a blank about this one which is west of downtown.  Was this a Jack’s restaurant?  Hopefully, Mr. Hollis or another Birmingham-er will identify this place:

13 thoughts on “Day 16: Birmingham and Beyond

  1. The South has the very best signs. Like you, I am drawn to the old motel signs and photograph them whenever possible.

    Yesterday, I thought of you as I sped by a sign for Sunken Gardens in St. Pete that has been rotting away on the 441 since the pre-Disney days!

    • It’s a great sign — and in great shape. Not “rotting away” at all. I have it at this page:
      http://www.agilitynut.com/signs/fl3.html

      What I post to Flickr & the blog are just a teensy sampling of what you’ll find at my website. There are lots of great signs in the South — but if you poke around, you’ll see there are plenty in all regions of the country as well.

  2. Did you get to Pete’s Famous Hot Dogs in downtown Birmingham? The light was so wrong when we were there last summer.

  3. Can’t believe I’ve missed this blog! I’m the webmaster of Birmingham Rewound, and I see that someone else has told you about Jack’s Hamburgers … but let me add a little side story: what you saw is the sole remaining example of the original Jack’s walk-up stand from the 1960s. This location (3rd Ave. N.) was VERY short-lived, and had closed long before the 1970s, when Jack’s modified/enlarged its locations to include dining rooms, and soon thereafter discarded the old five-post sign in favor of the “lollipop” style signs still in use today. So, while it’s been through a lot of uses (when I took pics for the website some years back, it was a glass shop, and the sign had a hideous green/brown color scheme), it’s a sweet reminder of what was.

    Oh, and to answer your question about the traffic light signs — those were part of a long-gone car wash chain called Stop ‘N’ Go. Many of their locations had those traffic lights … they rotated, and their colors flashed accordingly. Neat to watch. I haven’t seen one in action since the ’70s, though.

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