Here’s some more vintage neon signs from Curtis Perry.
Motels seemed to have some of the best signs. I suppose they needed customers to see them from farther away.
And it looks like the Dar-Ron Motel has both vacancies and water beds. I don’t think I’ll be trying them.
Hot tubs at the Holiday Motel are definitely a HAZMAT situation.
Once the blower has been cleared of excrement, I’d like to recommend that all fans of neon signage come visit The Neon Museum. Some folks were wise enough to preserve and restore the signs that made Las Vegas famous. Or if you’re bored at home right now, there are plenty of videos on their website, although it’s just not the same as seeing it in person.
The “sign posts” got me thinking about a few long-running businesses that had fantastic neon signs as their anchoring focal points. Even though their heydays were long gone the businesses seemed to be chugging along okay, mostly on inertia.
Then in the ’80s-’90s when the first wave of sign “pickers” came through offering big money for nice signs, some sold.
It seemed to take the heart out of the businesses and in a few years they were gone.
Meanwhile, I can think of other places that resisted selling; today they still have their heritage signage and are still chugging on same as ever.
The best motel neon sign was in front of the Blue Moon Motel on Route 417 west of Endicott, New York still in the mid-’80’s.. At the top of a vertical sign were, in deep blue colored glass tube, was a crescent moon on top and the ‘Blue Moon”. Then vertically the ‘Motel’ in a rich royal blue. The ‘sorry no or vacancy’ neon was a rich cream color. Never got a good picture of it at night.
Some types of businesses are a natural fit for neon signs… bowling alleys, lounges, restaurants, motels, etc. But I’ve never seen a transmission repair shop advertising in neon.
For that reason, I’ll vote for the rather simple “Central Chain and Transmission Co.” sign as my favorite here.
I’m guessing that Central is an industrial power transmission supplier, but still, the fit, as you say.
In old Detroit there was (is?) a truck parts with a neon 5th wheel.
I suspect the Super Bingo was a former grocery store.
Or better yet, maybe a old Burger Chef 👨🍳
SuperBingo totally reminds me of the awesome Bob Peck Chevrolet dealership that used to grace Arlington, VA. It’s no longer there, but it was such a local landmark that…
If I remember correctly, the dealership opened in 1964. True story: A work colleague and I were shown the door by Bob Peck himself around 1984 when we were querying a salesman about Chevrolet safety features.
…the tall building that replaced it incorporated a replica of its signage and facade.
Maybe those wonderful Neons need only hold on for a few years and then can be restored with LED lights (which may be able to imitate neon light by then).
I realized an interesting thing last year when I was in Italy, namely that people return to chandeliers in their living rooms. Now with LED candles it is possible.
Why does every motel ever built still advertise they have a TV in the room? or air conditioning? Nowadays it’s left in place for nostalgic/historic reasons, but I’m surprised those callouts weren’t taken down by the 1980s by which time those features were ubiquitous, but the signs weren’t yet old enough to look charmingly retro like they do now.
I live near Laurel, MD which is a haven for old neon signs. Some, like this Arby’s sign, also have incandescent lights surrounding it.
There is a McDonalds in Muncie, Indiana that still rocks one of the old signs that dates back to 1958 when the place was first built.
There is a great place called roadsidearchitecture.com where the proprietress crisscrosses the country documenting old neon signs and other fast-disappearing bits of Americana.
That’s a great website — I think Jim Grey had posted a link that her site last year or so and I check it periodically now.
Plus: DIRECT DIAL PHONES!
Interesting piece on Bea Haverfield, who designed many of Seattle’s neon signs:
This sign on Pacific Coast Highway in Redondo Beach stood for years after the waterfront establishment was replaced by condos.
If you’ve been to Toronto in the past you may have seen this one.
I suddenly have a craving for some chicken and dumplings! 🙂
This car wash sign has stood for decades in Rancho Mirage, just a couple of miles down the highway from Palm Springs. I can remember seeing it there as a child in the 1950’s, my grandmother’s home was just around the corner from it. Still there today, one of my favorites, in fact, the business still operates under only its third owner. It is fondly referred to as “the Elephant Car Wash.”
Beautiful photos of a lost art form. Local favorite here in Howell NJ is the Moon Motel. Buildings torn down but the sign still stands. Hopefully it will be saved.
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