L.A.-ish Quickie

I made a little trip down to the L.A. area on Saturday to grab some photos.  Some reshoots, some things that have been on my list for awhile, and some unexpected discoveries.

Here’s a nice ripple tin oldie from Echo Park (Los Angeles):

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Here’s a batch of stuff from Covina:

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I have no idea how old this one is.  Certainly, the text is new or if this place has always been Baskin-Robbins.  If it has always been a B-R, the text was updated as the company updated the logo.  It’s not often you see a B-R neon sign.  I’m assuming it’s lit at night and fantasizing that it’s pink and blue neon:

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I’d love to know what this big monster advertised for originally:

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A cutie-patootie from Glendora:

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Equally or more cute in Covina.  I’m assuming there was a different biz here originally with different letters — but I can live with this transformation:

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A close-up of Mr. Cinderblock (my name):

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Some signs from San Bernardino:

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I wonder how many layers of paint are there:

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One more from San Bernardino.  I believe this has always been backlit plastic (not neon) but I could be wrong.  The place opened in 1961 but, unfortunately, it closed last year:

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Moving on to some buildings — a repurposed Fotomat in Covina:

foto

This place in Covina blew me away — love the angled sign and the decapitated pyramid.  I’m guessing 1970s:

chek

How about this shredded brick corner?  Does anyone remember the BEST Product Showrooms?
http://www.archdaily.com/778003/the-intersection-of-art-and-architecture-the-best-products-showrooms-by-site-sculpture-in-the-environment

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It turns out, there are FIVE other locations similar to this.  You can bet, I’ll be shooting them all!
http://www.autochekcenters.com/locations–hours.html

 

Moving on to one of my obsessions:  Bear Alignment signs.  They’ll be the subject of my feature for the the Winter SCA Journal issue — what’s the SCA Journal?  If you’re not a member, and you like signs and buildings and Americana, you wanta become a member so you’re not missing out.  Or you can buy a few Journals just to get a taste here:

http://sca-roadside.org/sca-publications/

I’ve been adding to this little page for awhile which explains a bit about these signs and shows examples from around the country:
http://www.roadarch.com/signs/bear.html

This weekend, I bumped into this little funky sign in Covina with the happy Bear:

ace

One of the priorities of this trip was shooting this Bear Alignment shop Glendora, CA.  I believe this is the only wheel alignment shop in-the-round.  One of the things that makes Bear shops unique is the equipment and the pit.  Not having lifts makes servicing faster.  You pull forward, and the mechanics get right to work:

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Note that little bridge stairway in the photo above?  Upstairs, the owner shared with the this framed vintage aerial photo:

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and this one:

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The upstairs office is original (1960s)!

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The Bear sign in Corona was restored last year.  I shot it last year but had a shadow from that palm tree.  This time, the light was right!

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The shop is very proud of its Bear-ness.  Painted bears in the front window – and even the workers have embroidered bears on their shirts.  Here’s the manager, Paul, who told me he’s considering adding some animation or flashing to the sign.  I explained to him that the Vodie’s Bear shop in Garden Grove recently restored their giant bear sign and added back the original moving mouth.  Paul seemed enthusiastic about doing that.  I mentioned that most cities have strict laws about moving signs.  He seemed to think it wouldn’t be a problem since the city was very happy about the restoration of this sign.

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This former Helm’s Bakery building in San Bernardino was a surprise.  Yeah, it’s pretty junked up now but the Art Deco details are still nice:

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The incredible library is in Covina:

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One more sign for you.  Maybe not all that special but I’m very sentimental about it.  My apartment is on a hill and when I take the dogs out for their final pee break before bed, I always look down the street to see the top few letters of the sign lit up at the bottom of the hill.  Green’s my favorite color as well.   And since you never know when one of these neon signs will disappear, I treasure it nightly.   I know there’s supposed to be black-out tape between the letters but I like it better this way.  There’s another, nearly identical “LIQUOR” sign just up the block with red neon.  I’d better get off my butt and shoot that one soon.  So, here’s the Avenue Liquor Store in Ventura:

vliq

I’ll be back soon with more stuff soon since  I need to give Sparkle some stress tests before the 3-week June trip.

More stuff from Saturday at my Flickr stream here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Two Mini Trips

I took two little back-to-back daytrips these past couple of weekends.  Both were to be full two-day trips but the weather went cloudy/rainy by Sunday mornings, forcing the dogs and I to turn back for home.  Last Saturday, we went down to L.A. and, yesterday, we were in Central California.  Most of the destinations were to shoot things which have changed since I shot them last.  But there were a few first-timers and unexpected things as well.

This guy at Victorio’s Ristorante in North Hollywood used to look like this (my photos from 2012):

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at night:

victorios1

But then, a few months ago, the neon signs were placed with backlit plastic.  The owner said that the neon signs will be moved to the back of the building and will be lit again.  But I’m skeptical.

victor
The Circus Liquor sign in North Hollywood was repainted around 2013.  It’s faded quite a bit already but it’s still one of the best signs in the Valley:

circus

This beauty is in Van Nuys:

checks

I went to see the Friendly Hills Bowl transformation in Whittier.  Here’s the sign and building from 2013:

2friendly

friendly

The bowling alley closed in 2015 — it’s now a small strip mall.  Here’s the new look:

bevmo

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I’ve heard that this former Van Nuys Savings Bank (in Van Nuys) might be on the chopping block:

carni

I’ve posted more photos from this L.A. trip over at Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

and posted others at my website.  But let’s move on to yesterday’s little trip.  Starting with these signs in Taft:

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This tire store is now an upholstery business but I’m glad the tire has survived.  That’s neon tread!

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Moving on to Bakersfield:

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In Avenal:

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In Kerman:

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Moving on to Fresno (thanks to Heather David who alerted me to this one).  It looks like this was originally a revolving sign:

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The Big Fresno Fair has a small collection of local, restored signs.  This one is from the Mars Drive-in restaurant, built in 1947.  Those car butts were not part of the original design:
https://www.fresnofair.com/blog-entry/throwback-thursday-1947-mars-drive-sign

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This one is also at the Big Fresno Fair.  I couldn’t find a thing about it but he’s awfully cute:

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A few signs from downtown Fresno — freestanding letters:

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the blade sign:

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and the Asla Hotel sign which hangs above the freestanding letters:

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A half-block away:

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From Oildale:

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If he looks familiar, yes, he’s the same character that appears on this sign at the former Johnie’s Broiler (now Bob’s Big Boy) in Downey, CA.  (I believe the Oildale location was a Johnie’s Jr.)
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From Porterville.  Surely, that neon skeleton on top must have pulsated at night:

faggart

 

Another dealership sign — the one in Fresno.  I don’t know what the original name was:

used

A close-up of the sputnik on top.  More examples of these at my site here:
http://www.roadarch.com/sca/roto3.html

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I thought I would have a better shot of this beauty in Sonora but just as I got into town, clouds blocked the sun.  Another time.  I hope it will be there the next time:

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If you’re curious, I’m still doing my winter website updating — religiously going through all the map links to see what’s changed or gone.  I have just 3 sections left:  Giant Things, Theatres, and Mid-Century Modern.  All the other sections are as updated as I can make them.

In other news, one of the reasons that I’ve been pretty quiet and stayed close to home for the past five months… I’ve been working on a book.  I never wanted to do one and turned a couple of publishers down.  I’ve always felt my website was a far better creation than a book could ever be.  But an English publisher caught me in a generous mood and I gave in.  The book should be out in October.  This won’t be a coffee table book.  More like 9 1/2 x 6 inches, paperback, at an affordable $20 or so.  There are about 177 photo (175 different signs) from all over the country.  All of them still on display at the moment.  I’ll post more details later.  This is a rough draft of what the bookjacket will look like:

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I’m turning in the photos & manuscript this week and will be back with some more roadtrips photos soon.  I’m also putting together plans for a 3-week June/July trip (Arizona, New Mexico & a wee bit of Texas).

More photos from these past two Saturdays over at Flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

For now, Happy Trails!

dj & the dogs

More Recent-ish Sign News – Part 2

Here’s Part 2 — brace yourself for more heartbreaking losses.  All the photos were taken by me unless it’s mentioned.  By the way, you can advance to earlier posts down at the bottom of the page, just above the brown box.  Or in the brown box, you can select posts by monthly chunks.

Ohio has lost some beauties recently.  The Carl Zipf Lock Shop sign in Columbus had been bent like this since at least 2007:
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Then, earlier this year, the sign was replaced with this smaller, modern sign — from Google Street View:
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The Maple  Leaf Tavern in Cleveland was a beauty:

mapleleaf

It was replaced within the last year and a half with a new sign for the All Stars Ultra Sports Lounge.  I’ll spare you with how ugly it looks.

This one in Lancaster, OH was gorgeous.  It was still there last year but it’s gone now.  In fact, the entire building has been demolished:

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A little ray of sun — the Karl Mouch sign in Cincinnati was removed this year.  But Tod at the American Sign Museum is working with the family that owned the business.  The sign will probably be restored and then will, most likely, be sold to a collector.  Let’s hope somehow Tod is able to sweet talk the sign into his collection instead.  These Elgin Watch signs were mass-produced and there are only a dozen or so of them still out there.  This is one of the rarer ones with the optional, blade sign attached:

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Some losses in New Jersey.  This one in Angeloni’s Cedar Gardens Liquor store in Hamilton was removed this year:
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This one in Pennsville — gone:
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In Jersey City — the business closed decades (?) ago — the sign is gone now:
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In Rutherford, NJ — there in 2013 but gone now:
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The Colgate Clock in Jersey City has a long history.  This sign was built in 1924 and was based on Colgate’s octagon-shaped soap.  The hour marks and hands were outlined with neon.  The outside of the clock was lit with bulbs.

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Then, in 2013, the clock was completely rebuilt (I assume they trashed the original) with LED.  Needless to say, I’m not pleased with the results.  Here’s a photo from Patrick Marella:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/pmarella/14845729998/

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For those of you who wonder what’s the big deal between neon and LED… Yes, LED is cheaper.  But it’s turning to be not as long-lasting as promised.   Most importantly, it’s crap as you can see here.  The first photo shows the sign when it had neon (glowing, warm, wonderful) and the second photo of what it looks like now (flat, lifeless, blah):

Photo from Steven Kelley:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/yukonblizzard/4482415211/

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Photo from J. Alberto Granados Sosa:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/wideopencode/15830916525/
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Moving on to a couple of losses in Illinois.  In Forest Park — the sign was still there in 2015 but gone now.  I’m hoping a collector got this one since it’s not overly big:
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This sign was in Tuscola, IL.  When the motel got a plastic box sign in 2012, the sign was saved and moved across the street and installed at a used car dealer.  We thought the sign had found some love and was safe.  But by 2015, it was gone:
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This sign in Kansas City, KS disappeared within the last year or two:
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Let’s end this post with one bit of good news fer Chrissakes.  The Sifting Sands Motel sign in Ocean City, NJ is being restored.  Or at least I think it is:
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This article says that the sign is being restored as closely as possible to the original colors and look:
http://ocnjdaily.com/sifting-sands-refurbishes-facilities/

I may have one more “Recent Sign News” post in few weeks.  It probably shrinks my “fan base” to write these but I think it’s important to share the bad news.  We need to get organized somehow folks to save what’s left.  There are plenty of wonderful signs still out there but we lose more and more every year, every month.  At this rate, 20 years from now, there will be practically none left.

Happy New Year!

Debra Jane

P.S.  some little roadtrips coming up soon.  There will also be a three-week trip this summer.  Most likely AZ, NM & a little TX.

 

More Recent-ish Sign News – Part 1

I’ve been continuing to update the Signs section at my website (RoadsideArchitecture.com).  So many signs have been removed in the past couple of years that I can’t begin to fit them into a post or two.

Let’s start off with this painful shocker.  Just this week, the towering Sunland Motel sign in Mesa, AZ was removed and replaced with a boring, little backlit plastic box sun (I’ll spare you the photo of that).  Here’s what was lost – my photos from 2012:

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Recent news from Stockton, CA.  The Lincoln Center sign is being redone.  Here’s the article:
http://www.recordnet.com/news/20161225/fitzs-stockton-sign-goes-to-l-and-back

Here’s the sign — the “L” composed of scintillating and flashing bulbs on one side, with neon on the other.  My photo from 2014:
lcenter

Here’s a quickie video that I shot which shows the revolving sign at night — and the flashing bulbs:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PANrHbhTjgg&list=UU-YkUPfbb5bC5rI7RsFH1Ng

And here’s the artist’s illustration of what the sign will look like later this week — with the backlit plastic “L” on both sides and the new digital message board below:

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More sign losses, if you can bear it.   The Corn Palace sign in Mitchell, SD was replaced about a year ago with a backlit plastic box sign.  One of the plastic onion domes (a reference to the Corn Palace building in town) had been taken out during a storm in 2012.  I guess the decision was made to just replace the whole darn thing with something cheaper/easier to maintain.  My photo from 2006:

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The Men’s Club sign in Chickasha, OK disappeared sometime after 2013.  I sure hope someone saved it.  The snooker balls were composed of light bulbs.  My photo from 2011:
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There have been a lot of recent losses in Pennsylvania.  The Donahue’s Hour Glass sign in Wilkes-Barre was removed about a year ago during a “remodeling”.  I’m pretty sure it’s gone for good.  My photo from 2010:
hourglass

The Pep Bar in Harrisburg is gone and so is the sign.  My photo from 2012:
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The Ed’s Steak House rooftop sign in Bedford, PA was removed in 2012 and scrapped.  My photo from 2010:
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This Philadelphia Electric Company bulb sign disappeared about a year ago.  My photo from 2010:
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From Las Vegas — this sign has been adapted.  My photo from 2014:

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It’s not as nice now but it’s better than being scrapped.  From Google Street View a few months ago:
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Another bit of Vegas news — the Strip 91 Motel sign was removed about a year ago.  It is now being stored by The Neon Museum in town.  So, it may reappear someday.  Restoring this big sign will be costly.  My photo from 2014 (Sparkle says “hi”):

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The Stimson Market sign in Ogden, UT from 1948 was still intact in 2008:
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By 2014, it had a weird paint job:
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Then, last year, the sign disappeared and, by earlier this year, there was a vacant lot where the market had been.

This one’s very upsetting to me.  In all my recent 32 years of living in NYC, I never did shoot the Lascoff Drugs sign.  I don’t know why.  In a town with so little neon, I just ignored things there I guess.  It was incredible with its beaded tin border, applied letters, caduceus, and repair ladders.  Photo from Google Street View in 2011:

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Then, after 113 years in business, the store closed in 2012.  The “Lascoff Drugs” letters were removed by the following year.  In 2014, it was adapted for a Warby Parker eyeglass store.  I’m trying to see the glass half full here — but that sign should NEVER have been touched.  [Google Street View:
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Another sign that should have been declared historic and never touched is this one in Henderson, KY.  My photo from 2010:

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Alas, the neon was removed and the sign was painted over by 2012 as revealed by the latest Google Street View photo:
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The best news I have at the moment and I have mixed feelings about it.  The House of Doors sign Brookfield, IL was replaced with a replica sign a year ago:
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From the House of Doors’ Facebook page — the new sign just before it was installed:

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Back later today with “Part 2”.

Debra Jane

Recent-ish Sign News

I’m about halfway through the map-check at the gas station section of my website (next blog post) but I thought I’d take a break to update some of the signs section.  I know most of my blog followers are sign enthusiasts.  So, here’s one for you!  There have been a lot of losses during the last year or so but every sign that survives is actually a miracle.  Let’s start with the bad news.

Let’s start with a few losses from Michigan.  This one breaks my heart — one of my favorite oldies from Detroit.  The building had been vacant for decades (?) but this sign held on.   Stripped of neon but lovely curlicues to the rusting metal. It was there in 2015 but gone earlier this year.  I sure hope someone has it.  My photo from 2011:

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This sign in Inkster, MI was removed around 2013.  The motel is now a Rodeway Inn with the typical plastic box sign.  I’m betting those bulbs flashed.  My photo from 2011:

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And then there was this tragedy in Grand Rapids, MI.  Konkle’s Bar opened in 1950 and this sign is probably from then.  My photo from 2011:

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The neon was well preserved as evidenced from this photo by Brandon Bartoszek:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/eridony/4491414575/
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Evidently, Konkle’s closed last year, and a new business (Steel Cat Bar) took over.  The backlit additions are beyond ugly [courtesy Google Street View]:

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Another shocking sign “transformation” is this one in Wichita, KS.  The simple yet beautiful Uptown Motel sign — my photo from 2010 (when the neon was fully functioning at night):

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Well, sometime last year or slightly before, the sign was defiled with backlit plastic letters:
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As if that wasn’t sad enough, I’ll give you one more sign “update” from Colorado Springs, CO.  The colorful and cute Lee’s Liquors sign — my photo from 2012:

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Note the sweet little neon arrows that wrapped around the sign.  Sure, it could have used a little paint.  But it never deserved THIS — adapted for the 64 Store medical marijuana store.  More backlit plastic add-ons:
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I dunno.  I’d rather see a sign removed and pray that it’s in someone’s private collection than have the sign mangled and mutilated like these have been.  Many neon sign purists and sentimental locals would rather have signs stay “in situ” (where they are) until they crumble to dust.  Some fortunate signs get moved to another spot in town where they can live out their last days or they get stashed in storage until a museum can display them properly.  But the trend of late, is this “compromise” of sign re-use.  Some of these horrendous adaptations are partly to blame on city sign preservation ordinances.  Removing the historic artifact is forbidden but turning it into an eyesore is just fine.

Here are some signs that have recently gone missing.  In Hot Springs, AR a fire in the Majestic Hotel set the stage for a building demolition.  Grady’s Grill was one of the building’s tenants. This sign disappeared around 2014 pre- or during the demo.  My photo from 2010:
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In Wheat Ridge, CO the Applejack Liquors sign was removed earlier this year when it became “unstable”.  The good news is that it’s sitting in a sign shop and might reappear one day.  My photos from 2012:
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ajack

Lots of bad news from Fresno, CA.  Several signs along “Motel Row” disappeared in the past couple of years.  Some might blame the High Speed Rail Project but, if not for that, their years were probably numbered.

This one was taken down in 2014 — put up on eBay so, hopefully, it’s in someone’s “man cave”:
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Earlier this year, the gas station lot was bulldozed and most likely this sign went away with the rubble:
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This Fresno sign also disappeared earlier this year.  My photos of it from 2013:
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It was in perfect shape so I hope it’s somewhere safe:
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And then — many people’s favorite sign in town was also removed a few months ago.  The diving lady panels were spotted on a flatbed truck so they are somewhere.  But, apparently, the rest of the sign was not so lucky.  Plastic shards found piled on the ground.  My photo from 2013:
fresnomot

 

The gigantic General Electric sign in Fort Wayne is gone now, too.  All bulbs – from the 1920s.  Here’s my photo from 2009 of the sign being restored:
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And in 2010 after the work was all done:
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But then… the plant closed in 2015.  And then earlier this year, there were reports of idiot teenagers on the vacant building’s roof, climbing on the scaffolding and trying to remove letters.  So, to avert any tragedies, the City removed the letters and put them in storage.  Maybe one day, however unlikely, the sign may be reassembled.


But let’s end with some good news!!

I was mighty sad to see that this sign in Lake City, FL had disappeared from Google Street View in 2014:

cgmobile

But then I got some reassuring news that the sign had been moved to the company’s headquarters — where it is lit at night (well, mostly).  Photo from dusty_73:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/cv_dusty/8546008812/
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Evidently, this was a chain or there were at least two locations.  There was another sign of the same design repurposed for a used car dealership in Tallahassee, FL which I shot in 2010.  Unfortunately, the sign was gone by 2013:

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This sign in Denver has been through a lot in the last couple of years.  My photo from 2012:

mozart

But then, by 2014, the sign had been adapted for the Aqua Lounge and the neon was removed.  Not a good look:

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And, then, miracle of miracles, this year, the sign is now being restored back to its original look with functioning neon and all!  Thank you Seth Totten at Acme Neon!!  The panels being removed:

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The work still in progress:

inprogress
And, lastly, how about one more bit of good news from Denver.  The 715 Club which had been closed for nearly 30 years reopened this year.  Here’s my photo of what the sign looked like in 2016 — busted neon, missing bulbs, semi-crude hand-painting:

715

Well, the news owner sprung for a complete restoration.  This photo from Lindsey Bartlett in this article about the Grand Reopening in September:
http://www.westword.com/restaurants/first-look-the-715-club-opens-tomorrow-in-five-points-8271077

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This sign was restored by Glen Weseloh of Morry’s Neon.  A nice article (with great photos!) about Denver neon shops & sign preservation here:
http://www.denverite.com/denvers-neon-signs-danger-vanishing-theres-still-hope-preservation-23520/amp/

That’s a wrap.  Another post soon.  If you’re hungry for more vintage signs, thousands of others at my website here:
http://www.roadarch.com/signs/1.html

Happy trails,

Debra Jane & the dogs

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.

FIRST THE SAD NEWS

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

therm5

There are still a couple dozen or so A&W Burger Family statues still out there:
http://www.roadarch.com/giants/aw.html

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:

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

cowboyclean
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:

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

wedding

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:
http://westvalleyview.com/articles/2016/10/05/buckeye%E2%80%99s-hobo-joe-statue-hiding

One of my photos from 2012:

ghobo

NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS!

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:

carpeteria

And now this photo from the Nevada Public Radio blog post:
http://knpr.org/desert-companion/2016-01/open-topic-hey-look

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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):

seurat1

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:
https://thepurpledogpaintingblog.com/2012/08/15/seurat-sundays-and-top-hats/

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:

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He’s nearly done as you can see in this photo from Kim Canada at the Tex Randall Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/The-Tex-Randall-Project-122697051112305/

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

bigi2

Here’s an article about the restoration:
http://patch.com/illinois/oaklawn/southwest-highways-big-chief-ready-his-makeover
And a photo from 2015 by Rick Drew:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/rickthephotoguy/20880200700/
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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:

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And the work in progress at the new location from the Last Chance Joe Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/LastChanceJoe/

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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:

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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?:
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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:

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And while he was being restored — photo from this article:
http://wkdq.com/santa-will-soon-be-standing-back-up/

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And in Evansville at his new location — waving to passersby one again [photo & story from:
http://wiky.com/news/articles/2016/sep/26/santa-statue-returns-to-highway-41/

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If you’d like to see lots & lots of surviving people statues  (other sections for animals & things), my section is here:
http://www.roadarch.com/giants/main.html

Back soon with news on other subjects,

dj

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:

okress

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

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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:

ohdq

 
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:

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

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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]:

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

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

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

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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:

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

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

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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):

chevy

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:

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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:

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More about the restorations, great photos & history of the “lucky six” here:
http://www.centerforsacramentohistory.org/exhibits/current-exhibits/neon-signs

Lots more surviving car dealerships at my website here:
http://www.roadarch.com/showrooms/main.html

And the Dairy Queen section starts here (seven very full pages):
http://www.roadarch.com/eateries/dq.html

Back with more news & photos on other topics soon,

dj

 

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:

kkreme

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:

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Here’s a closeup at Flickr [credit to Rick]:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/26731037@N07/23000853665/

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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:

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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:

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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:

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The Shipley Donuts in Tupelo, MS location became Scarlet’s Donuts in 2015.  My photo from 2010:
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The adapted sign from Google Street View:

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There are still loads of surviving donut signs.  I’ve got six pages of them at my website here:
http://www.roadarch.com/sca/donuts.html

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

rosemont

ogshep

Miraculously, still a good number of these signs from the 1920s/1930s out there still:
http://www.roadarch.com/sca/opal.html

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:

pancake

But the good news is — there’s still lots of other pancake signs out there:
http://www.roadarch.com/sca/pancakes.html

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:

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More plumbing signs here:
http://www.roadarch.com/sca/plumbing.html

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:

joesm21

My page about these signs here:
http://www.roadarch.com/sca/roto.html

Back very soon with another post.

dj

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:

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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:
http://www.wptv.com/news/state/umatilla-giant-orange-landmark-of-florida-citrus-industry-restored

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http://sunsationalcitrus.com/comersus7F/store/aboutorange.asp

If you’re interested in more giant oranges, my page about them is here:
http://www.roadarch.com/food/oranges.html

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]

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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:

nectars

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:

thecup

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:

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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:

ritas
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:

sdbarber

I’m happy to say that it got a $1.6 million restoration last year and now has a cheery paint job:
http://www.kpbs.org/news/2016/feb/17/silverado-ballroom-in-city-heights-reopens/
It reopened earlier this year  [from Google Street View]:
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This one broke my heart.  I loved this little Art Deco building in New Haven, CT.  I took these photos in 2007:

nhdeco

It had these nice relief panels with an aviation theme:

nhdeco3

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]
https://www.flickr.com/photos/90791790@N00/5785466/

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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:

swifoto

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:

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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.

dj

 

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:

tpele

 

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:

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

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Google Street View from this year:

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

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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:

bluebuff

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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:

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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:

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A close-up of his lovely concrete face:

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

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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:

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

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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:

sterlingoct

For more photos & info about these Octopus Car Wash statues, see my page here:
http://www.roadarch.com/critters/octo.html#Oct3

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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:
http://www.roadarch.com/critters/1.html

 

Back soon with “news” from other sections.

dj