Skip

Ghost signs | Fading Ads
September 29, 2005 4:50 PM   Subscribe

"Ghost signs" or "fading ads", are a window to an earlier time. "There may have even been successive ads painted on a particular wall -especially if it was in a prime location- so that the several layers of paint in their various states of decay now extend quite a mysterious message!" Toronto, Texas, Ogden. . . .Ogden? Meet one of the last of the "wall dogs". Browse a book. Somebody please buy me one of these. <Previously>
posted by spock (18 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
There was a beautiful example of one of these in the town I grew up (Burlingame, CA) of an old dairy ad. It showed up once they tore down the neighboring building.

Unfortunately the town in all it's wisdom decided to repaint it which took away it's charm
posted by bitdamaged at 4:54 PM on September 29, 2005


Ogden, the town where I grew up. It's one of those places that's nice to be from.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:55 PM on September 29, 2005


Bunches of old ads in New York here.
posted by Vidiot at 4:57 PM on September 29, 2005


These are cool, like opening a trunk in an attic and finding a copy of Life Magazine from 1937 or something.
posted by fenriq at 5:00 PM on September 29, 2005


I love this kind of stuff... Thanks for the links! It's a shame the books are seemingly out-of-print/rare.
posted by Robot Johnny at 5:01 PM on September 29, 2005


I've had a fascination with such ads since childhood and about a dozen photos. I also have the Amazon book - it's a great read.
posted by Qubit at 5:07 PM on September 29, 2005


Very cool. I remember seeing a lot of these in the area where I grew up; I wonder how many are still around.
posted by kyleg at 5:35 PM on September 29, 2005


Hey, Ogden a town I used to live in, and where I write for a magazine, Street Magazine to be exact. They left out the great reflection that always sets up, under the horizontal cowboy picture, from a huge perpetual mud puddle.

Ogden is an old railroad town and full of amazing history and intimations of the past. There are incredible chinese store fronts still, and mystery linking basements from the speak easy era. Old 25th Street still evokes a simpler past, and is loaded with pleasing venues. Though Ogden is in Utah, there is a tight knit artistic, and intellectual community and a lot of fun to be had, a lot of history to be remembered, from a small, long-standing cultural crossroads.
posted by Oyéah at 5:54 PM on September 29, 2005


[self-link to more photos of ghostly painted signs]

Nice links. I'm surprised at the proliferation of ghost sign sites. Either I'm not as much of an oddball as I thought, or there are more people with strange hobbies than I realized.
posted by afiler at 5:55 PM on September 29, 2005


I've always been kind of obsessed with them, too.
posted by Miko at 6:47 PM on September 29, 2005


People seem very pleased to have them around here -- there are a number of instances where the building has been painted but they've left a clear space all around a large ghost ad or two.

I wish people wouldn't "restore" them, or at least, not unless they have the skill and materials to do so. A badly restored ad is indistinguishable from an incompetent imitation and has no historic value or nostalgic appeal.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:59 PM on September 29, 2005


There was a faded WWII-era sign painted on a wall smack bang in the middle of the city that said "City of Perth Bomb Shelter" with an oldskool arrow pointing the way. But it was sort of in a dank alleyway and I think a lot of people would have missed it. I remember thinking this was a rather cool and cute link to our past.

Er, anyway, a decade or so later the City Council must have thought the same thing because they had the sign cleaned up or restored somehow.

(And if anyone knows how isolated Perth Australia is, and how we didn't come within cooee of seeing any action, then you would laff at our preparedness. Maybe if New Orleans had been as overly prepared…?)
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:20 PM on September 29, 2005


afiler: Those are wonderful. Thanks for sharing them.

I'm going to start a collection of my own. You don't have to go any farther than your nearest old downtown area to find them. Thank goodness for the endurance of white lead paint, eh?
posted by spock at 7:56 PM on September 29, 2005


Not entirely ghost signs, but a great site nonetheless: http://www.14to42.net.
posted by spock at 8:25 PM on September 29, 2005


Sorry... one more cool site that you could get lost in: signmuseum.org
posted by spock at 8:38 PM on September 29, 2005


Ogden, the town where I grew up. It's one of those places that's nice to be from.

You took the words right out of my mouth, mcd.

Though Ogden is in Utah, there is a tight knit artistic, and intellectual community and a lot of fun to be had, a lot of history to be remembered, from a small, long-standing cultural crossroads.

I think it's because Ogden's in Utah that the outsiders stick together so much.

Fun pictures, took me right back... but in a good way.
posted by gurple at 7:59 AM on September 30, 2005


A friend of mine has started a LiveJournal community about these signs:

http://www.livejournal.com/userinfo.bml?user=ghost_signs

Mostly in and around the northeast, but he's slowly getting some new folks from all over to post pictures.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:23 AM on September 30, 2005


Great posts, and the added comments make this thread a real resource. I should start a website for my own town, lots of them here.
posted by LarryC at 8:39 PM on October 2, 2005


« Older How would this work with the pron?   |   "love is blind" Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post