Ghost Signs


 

 

Ghost Sign:  A ghost sign is an old hand-painted advertising sign that has been preserved on a building for an extended period of time.
The signs were originally painted with oil-based house paint.
The painters of the signs were called “wall dogs.”
~Wikipedia~

The above are some of the few (maybe all) of the ghost signs remaining in my immediate area.  They are quickly disappearing due to building “beautifications,” and urban renewal in general.  You will notice in the first photo, that the building has been given a new facade.  In this case, I am not sure if they have stopped at this point (just below the ghost sign) to preserve the sign, or if they will continue, in which case the ghost sign will no longer be.

Each time I find one of these, I actually feel quite sad.  To me, a ghost sign was a symbol of “staying power.”  For example, when Gold Medal Flour had the above sign painted, it was not because they thought that they may be out of business in a month or two.  They planned to stay and found a way to do so.  While I cannot speak for other areas, I do know that in this area, many, many times a business will be here and then gone, even before a formal “modern” sign is put up.

But for now, we have these, and I think that they are just beautiful.

Have a wonderful week!

Categories: Around Here, Summer, Weathered & WonderfulTags: , , , ,

41 comments

  1. You make a great point about staying power! Everything seems so temporary, now. Now I want to scout around my area to see if I can find any ghost signs – none come to mind.

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  2. A fascinating reminder of our history. Even here in Sydney, when buildings are knocked down to be replaced, occasional glimpses of old signs are to be had.

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  3. Belo registo,gosto muito desta serie amiga Lisa.Bom fim de semana !!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As the famous Yogi was quoted as saying “Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be!” These signs certainly have a way of evoking feelings from an era gone by. Reminder to self to keep a better eye out and capture some of them. You accomplished your purpose very nicely, Lisa.

    Nice to be back.

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  5. Spooktacular shots! Those signs are lovely.

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  6. I love them! I saw a lot of these in downtown Detroit. I do agree with you about the ‘feeling sad’ part. 😦

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  7. I love these old hand-painted advertisements, they have such charm and style to them. You’ve found lovely examples, Lisa.

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  8. Hi Lisa, I love your images! They really are beautiful and your compositions are great. It’s always a thrill to see ghost signs – few and far between now. (thanks for teaching me the term) Sad when an era is lost.

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  9. A great choice for Halloween week Lisa! These remind me of the “ghost signs” I saw all throughout Durham NC. There it seems they are purposely preserving the signs as tourist attractions, as well as some of their tobacco history. I posted a few at https://travelsandtrifles.wordpress.com/2016/08/27/durham-nc-a-tobacco-town-weekly-photo-challenge-frame/ . It would be fun if more towns would do the same. They’re so quaint, and interesting perspectives on times gone by. Enjoyed your post very much!

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  10. I find beauty in these signs as well. Perhaps that is why I also like old food tins that have vintage pictures and letterings. We have an old woollen mill across the street from us. The sign on the building isn’t painted, but it has the patina of age.

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  11. I love ghost signs; there are some in the neighboring city, but most are two stories high! I’m always excited to find these advertising “ghosts” …

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  12. They bring back fond memories of bygone years.

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  13. i love these, i love ghost signs ..

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  14. I LOVE these ‘ghost signs’. I hadn’t know there was a name for them. I have always been drawn to them too. In fact, where I grew up, there are oodles of these ghost signs. Some I’ve taken photos of and whenever I’m back there, I always look for them. Sadly, as you’re experiencing, they are beginning to be covered up. I love your thoughts on the staying power of these signs. I wonder if that subliminally is part of what I find appealing. Lovely images.

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  15. These are beautiful, Lisa! Unfortunately, Phoenix is known for tearing history down and we’re not that old of a town anyway. I have seen a couple of ghost signs around and was thinking about photographing them before they disappear. Thanks for the reminder! Your old buildings are gorgeous.

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  16. I love them too, and I enjoyed this post so much – the photos are great. Seattle has some ghost signs (I didn’t know they were called that) but there too, “progress” is creeping up fast. Too bad Gold Medal couldn’t buy rights to keep the wall as is!

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  17. I agree.
    Beautiful.
    Character and History! xx

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  18. This makes me want to look for ghost signs in my area. I’ve never paid particular attention before, though I do like them. They invoke a feeling of instant nostalgia.

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  19. I love seeing these signs, just a reminder of the fleeting nature of life.

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  20. I’ve never heard of this term before, thanks for the explanation!

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  21. huh! Thats cool, I never new what the term ghost sign meant up until now.

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  22. I too love these remnants of a city’s past and structure…! 🔮🙏

    http://www.patientexplorers.com

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  23. Aren’t these just fabulous pieces of art and history, Lisa? I didn’t know they were named “ghost signs” though. Two years ago we visited a small southern IN town, and I had hubby stop the car so I could take photos of the old brick building, and White Lily Flour painted on the building. Now I’ll enjoy those photos even more, knowing what they are. Yours are really wonderful, and what a treasure to have Gold Medal flour sign painted on the brick. Thanks for the “history” lesson, my friend! xx

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  24. A different time and method of advertising/signage that is disappearing from the landscape. I was not aware of the terminology used for these works of art. I’m pretty confident that if you asked your followers to share examples of ‘Ghost Signs’ in their area, you would amass an interesting collection.

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  25. I love these wonderful visual reminders of history by I did not know they were called ghost signs! There are some remaining in our city. I do hope they stay.

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  26. very cool signs…and a big part of our advertising history, i like the way you put it into words!! i have only ever seen a few and more often than not, here on blogs!! our advertising today, billboards and signs, are not quite as pretty!!

    nice captures lisa!!

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  27. Wonderful photos, thanks for posting. It’s definitely from a by-gone era. However, in the small town I live in a few of these signs have been “freshened up” with a new coat of paint. I don’t know if these restorations where initiated by the building owners, the town, or a civic group but I’m glad to see that someone has taken the time to recognize their beauty and historic value.

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  28. I have to admit, I wasn’t sure where you were going by the title of your post! But it became obvious with your first photo. I, too, think these are poignant reminder of a bygone era. When I see them, it makes me smile in a nostalgic way….but nothing is permanent so I’m happy you’ve documented some of these ghost signs before they are all gone. Hope your week is going well, my friend. xoxoxo

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  29. I’m sad as well, it reminds me of my youth 🙂 However, I’ve been in various cities where graffiti artists have been hired to do murals that are breathtakingly beautiful! That is awesome to see in a tired area of a city.

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  30. Great captures, Lisa! It is sad that some of th

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  31. Love these old faded signs, there’s not so many left in London but it’s nice to discover them occasionally.

    Something I’m quite disappointed about is that Reims in France is just a few hours drive from me, there’s an old grandstand and pits on the road which used to form part of a race circuit. I missed my chance to visit with the old signage :o(

    Several years ago (2005 as far as I can tell) they started painting over the whole stands and fading advertising hoardings with white paint.

    I’m not sure if it was planned to repaint the signs or if they gave into public outrage but they’ve got the adverts back – it’s better than nothing but there is a definite charm missing from the original faded and flaking paint that can’t be replicated or restored.

    https://goo.gl/maps/dKBqv7t227L2 in case you wanted a look at how it is now.

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  32. Wow! Fantastic photos of these vintage ghost signs! I love the subtle tones in the wall and the text I really hope that they will not be paintet over! So much history!
    Have a nice day, my friend 🙂

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  33. Beautiful ghost signs. They have so much character. I wish that they would not paint over them. It makes me sad that these signs and works of art are disappearing.

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  34. I love these old painted vintage signs Lisa – they’re so full of character and history, remnants of a bygone era….

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  35. I actually really like these signs. We were in Omaha, Nebraska a few summers ago passing through on our way to South Dakota for a vacation, and there were ghost signs all over the downtown “hipster” area. There are a few to be found around here, but they are pretty hard to find. I love these pictures, Lisa!

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  36. Beautiful ghost signs, it is tremendous, I love them.

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  37. We have a few left in Toronto, but not many.

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  38. I love ghost signs. The Gold Medal is classic. I hope they work around it in their move to modernize. Great photos Lisa.

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  39. It makes me so sad that they might cover up that Gold Medal sign. Great point about the staying power of things in that era, definitely no fly-by-night companies. In the digital age, everything is easily and quickly erased.

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