Day 11: Reno & Sparks

Reno is chock full of fun buildings, signs, and statues to shoot — and the sun was cooperative most of the day.  Let’s get to it:

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I’m guessing there was neon involved with the top panels of this sign originally — and maybe a name change:

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What a charming and amusing sign — from Sparks (Reno’s next door neighbor):

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More from Sparks — a former KFC.  There are still plenty of these repurposed cupola-roof buildings around the country which would have looked like this originally — complete with a weathervane sign of Colonel Sanders:
http://www.trachte.com/graphics/history/1968-3-l.jpg

I’m including this KFC in Sparks simply because the paint scheme of the building and sign match the blue sky & clouds — and it’s a nice clean building.  Most of these buildings look pretty skanky now:

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A couple more photos from Sparks:

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Moving on to Reno:

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The Restwell Court is long gone but this sign has been sitting here like this for years:

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The red and yellow on the left are an indicator of what this sign must have looked like originally before the porcelain panels were painted over with this dull green and black paint:

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More signs just east of downtown Reno on East 4th St.:

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Hard to read the shadowy neon — it’s the Hi Ho Motor Lodge:

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This was not here when I was in Reno last time.  Apparently, it was installed at the bus station in 2010.  The sculpture entitled “Jackson” features a remodeled 1962 bus.

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The Sundance Motel features delightfully original building details:

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The neon’s been removed but the sign doesn’t suffer from it by day.  I don’t know if those are the original colors — but they work!

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Some of the best signs in Reno have been removed or badly adapted since my last Reno trip in 2008.   Luckily, many of the signs have been scooped up by Will Durham who recently had a museum show displaying many of them:
http://ishootreno.com/2013/01/photos-the-light-circus-art-of-nevada-neon-signs-nevada-museum-of-art/

By the way, the much beloved Heart O’Town Motel sign is now in Will’s possession.  And he has dibs on a number of signs in town should they ever need to be removed.  God bless him.

There were still quite a number of signs to shoot at night.  The bulbs in the shield of the “R” on the upper left no longer work but the sign is still great by day or night:

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The 1935 steel welcome arch was moved to a less prominent location in 1963 and was replaced by ever more garish signs as time went on:
http://www.newtoreno.com/renoarch.htm

I’m happy to see that the old arch is still lit:

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I begged the manager at the Pony Express Lodge in Sparks to turn on the sign.  She said it hardly worked at all any more and wouldn’t get off the couch to flip the switch.  Bummer.  I begged even harder at the Sandman Motel in Reno and had better luck.  Even though only a few letters work, it meant a lot to me and I thanked the desk clerk profusely:

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Two more days & posts to go!

dj

 

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6 thoughts on “Day 11: Reno & Sparks

  1. Thank you for the photo of the Valentine in Sparks. I did not have it on my list. google streetview showed it as a Landrum’s. (About 10-15 yrs ago a customer at the restaurant I worked at was out in Reno and took a photo of the Valentine there and brought me back a Landrum’s mug.)

  2. Great trip! I even liked the grey days ones this time… They were interesting and colorful enough to stand up to the clouds and the grey gave a different feel to the signs . Thanks for posting!

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