It’s All About Fresno

Hello there — time for a little weekend getaway.  Today, it was all about Fresno — a treasure trove of neon signs and other stuff.  I left after work on Friday night and got the dogs a good run in at the doggie beach in Santa Barbara.  I managed to get some neon shots en route to Fresno.

[Quick tip or reminder — clicking on the photos gives you a larger view.]

I always wanted to see this one at night in Lompoc.  Unfortunately, the rice bowl sign on top is barely lit:

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But more unfortunately, there was not a soul in the place on a Friday night.  The owner said there’s a new Applebee’s nearby and everybody’s going there.   I felt compelled to get something just to throw a few dollars their way.  But I’m the only person I know that hates Chinese food.  So, if you’re in Lompoc or anywhere near — do what I didn’t do & give this place some business.  The restaurant opened in 1936… but for how much longer?  Check out the lovely interior:

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I’ve got a ton of photos ready for this blog — so I’ll keep the chitchat minimal.  It’s after midnight anyway & tomorrow will be another big sprint from sunup to sundown.  Work on Monday…

Today’s shooting began in Lemoore.  The former A&W Teen Burger at the Forty One Cafe has always had funky feet — but now he is really ominously listing to the side:

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From Hanford:

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From Caruthers:

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From Selma:

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And now, on to Fresno.  I have no idea how that arrow got crunched like that.  Low flying plane?

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Sorry about the chain-link.  A real head-scratcher.  Why would someone build their house or office in this shape?

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A couple from Fowler.  I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that this “Fowler-this-way” sign was restored recently.   That yellow arrow looks new but the blue porcelain enamel has enough dings that I’m convinced it’s old & must have been given a good scrubbing:

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A lovely rusty crusty:

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And back to Fresno.  Here’s a vintage postcard of the California Motel with this sign:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/29574002@N00/5901965454/

Now the place seems to be operating as some sort of correctional facility — with razor wire on top of the fence & guys playing basketball:

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A couple from the Ayres Motel:

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So much to love here:

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I saw two or three of these dancing sign-spinner guys today.  Mynah birds?  It must be unbelievably hot in that costume!

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The last time I was in Fresno in 2008, this sign looked like this:

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and today:  (ugh)

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A pretty one from the Tower District — the store is still open:

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Originally, the Leilani restaurant — a tiki place.  The building is still there but I’m sure no Polynesian flavor inside.  This palm tree sign had nice detail:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/51025643@N00/46256758/
Later, this sign was painted black:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7211280@N04/2394108157/

So, this is actually an improvement:

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In 2008, this 1940s building was sadly neglected and vacant.  I have read that it was originally the administration building for the shopping center in which it is located — and that it was a women’s clothing store.  I don’t know in which order or which, if either, uses is true:

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Anyway, I am glad to see it is now spruced up — and used as a storage facility office:

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Signs, signs, everywhere there are signs in Fresno.  Wonderfully, redundant arrows:

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Fun fonts:

 

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Multi-media:

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This one was in Clovis — but there’s a similar sign in Fresno:

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Fresno — still a beauty salon:

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And since I usually end these Saturday night posts with some neon — here are a couple of shots from Fresno.  The Tower Theatre (a close-up of the sputnik at night and in motion over at my Flickr stream tonight:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/10240523443/

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And the Tokyo Garden:

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I’ll be shooting lots of stuff tomorrow as I inch my way home.  I’ll try to get you the wrap-up blog post on Monday night or Tuesday.

 

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Don’t forget to check out the “good stuff” from today that’s over at Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

Most of the photos I post here at the blog are of rusty signs & funky buildings not “worthy” of my website — but stuff that deserves attention anyway.  What I post to the Flickr stream is the “fancier” highlights from the day.

 

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19 thoughts on “It’s All About Fresno

  1. Once again you’re making me want to get on the road again, and I just got home! Simply beautiful stuff here DJS – I’m gonna see if I can get some Retro Roadmap Readers to start to patronize the Rice Bowl, it looks too cool to let just die! Thanks for the heads up.

    • The people were sooo nice at the Rice Bowl, too. I would’ve ordered my dogs some chop suey — but I don’t think that would be a good idea. The old downtown is pretty much dead — with all the chains north of town. A real shame. And this is the only vintage neon lit in town.

    • I don’t really think of it as a “time gone by” since, fortunately, these things are still all with us today. What I post to my blog is just a sampling of what’s at my website. You might enjoy poking around there for more photos and info:
      RoadsideArchitecture.com

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