Fading Ads (click thumbnails in lower right grid).
September 3, 2002 8:39 AM   Subscribe

Fading Ads (click thumbnails in lower right grid). If you look closely, you can probably find these all over the older parts of your town. Some border on the weird, most are nearly gone, while some are still going strong (about the project).
posted by mathowie (23 comments total)
Nice links. There's a huge one of these right by my train station downtown. I was just thinking the other day how cool it would be to take a picture of it. I've decided to wait until I have color film back in my camera, though.
posted by Ufez Jones at 8:52 AM on September 3, 2002

I prefer these painted ones to the huge fabric ones i saw last time i was in New York - they've got a little more character to them
posted by monkeyJuice at 8:56 AM on September 3, 2002

Lileks likes 'em, too.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:57 AM on September 3, 2002

Wow. That's really cool.
posted by ColdChef at 9:00 AM on September 3, 2002

monkeyjuice: agreed, there is one of these style ads directly outside my window (er, self-link I guess) here in the lower east side.
posted by malphigian at 9:00 AM on September 3, 2002

In the same vein as faded ads, back in July workers in Jamestown, N.Y., discovered a 124 year old billboard advertising a Buffalo Bill show, while removing a wall.
posted by jazon at 9:14 AM on September 3, 2002

Our own andrewraff photographed a long-hidden, recently uncovered ghost ad here in New York a while back. Lovely stuff.
posted by evanizer at 9:15 AM on September 3, 2002

There's a cool one at Fell's Point in Bawlmur that says, "End Prohibition."
posted by uftheory at 9:43 AM on September 3, 2002

The side of a building on 19th street (twixt 7th & 8th aves.) in Manhattan has a large, very faded ad for "SWEENEY'S...(illegible)...PIONEER BRAIDS" that always makes me happily perplexed. I hope Frank Jump snaps that one sometime.
posted by liam at 9:44 AM on September 3, 2002

There are some good political ghost ads in Chicago that you can see while walking north on State Street.

Forgotten New York has a similar page of old advertising in New York City. Lots of great stuff.
posted by SisterHavana at 9:48 AM on September 3, 2002

Montreal's got a ton of them as well. Funny--I just started working on a photo-essay about them ol'-timey ads.
posted by saltykmurks at 10:03 AM on September 3, 2002

Very nice stuff. Reminds me of some of them found in my home town of Saint John. I particularly like the ones with multiple ads fading into each other.

A similar, more modern phenomena that intrigues me is the peeling, neglected billboard effect usually seen in not-so wealthy parts of cities. I guess what happens is that the weather wears down the glue and degrades the paper so it comes off in strips and patches. Often there are a few layers of old ads under the most recent and these get exposed. The combined images can get pretty odd. A lot of them look pretty grotesque, but are almost always interesting to behold.
posted by picea at 10:06 AM on September 3, 2002

there's an old ad for amazon.com on the side of a grain silo in portland oregon, down by the river near the rose garden (?). it says something like "amazon.com wouldn't fit in here." given that one internet year equals about ten human years, it's probably about contemporaneous with some of the other ads on these web sites ...
posted by carter at 10:19 AM on September 3, 2002

GREAT POST! ...classic mefi.
posted by tomplus2 at 11:47 AM on September 3, 2002

The Grand Hotel in Big Timber, Montana has a great faded ad on the back of the building for "Rex Flour". Hopefully, it's still there. I haven't seen it since 1991 when I moved out of there. I know I have a picture of it in my photo album though.
posted by onhazier at 12:27 PM on September 3, 2002

The best of these in London, at least that I've seen, are along Commercial Road, to the east of Liverpool Street, and on the route of the Jack the Ripper tours. It's a strange combination of cultures, now that Spitalfields and Whitechapel have buzzing Muslim communities living in old, old terraces. But London doesn't really hold onto its lived, urban history too well, especially around the City, and to see the remnants of painted walls advertising Wills Gold Flake brings home the sense of a past that isn't kept for the consumption of tourists. I ought to take a camera next time I'm walking that way.
posted by riviera at 12:48 PM on September 3, 2002

We've got a number of them near where I work in Milwaukee's Third Ward, including a fairly well-preserved Sen-Sen ad. I keep meaning to get photos of them before they all get painted over or removed during all the construction and renovation going on here. Guess I'd better get moving on that.
posted by aine42 at 4:14 PM on September 3, 2002

There's a cool one at Fell's Point in Bawlmur that says, "End Prohibition."

Oh, where isthat? I left Balto. for London, but I have family in Fells Point--I know they'd love to see it.
posted by Tholian at 4:23 PM on September 3, 2002

Durham, NC has some great ones, too. I was walking around the downtown area last week, amazed at how much of the town's old character (tobacco warehouses, mainly) still shines through.
posted by mediareport at 4:27 PM on September 3, 2002

When I was in junior high, one of the high school art classes in our little town of about 4000 spent the year repainting an old Cheroots ad. It's still there, and it looks pretty cool. Those ads have so much character. Will we ever grow fond of the billboards of today?
posted by Mo Nickels at 5:19 PM on September 3, 2002

There are many of these in the Garment District in New York City. The sad thing is that photographing these signs are the only means of capturing and "restoring" these artifacts. They will be gone soon enough. Do they have these in Los Angeles?
posted by boardman at 7:07 PM on September 3, 2002

There is (or was) a building in Pasadena, CA with this old and enigmatic fragment painted on it:
"said T.E. Lawrence, picking up his fork."

Apparently it started with "My people are the people of the dessert", but that part of the building was damaged in an earthquake.
posted by xil at 7:14 PM on September 3, 2002

evanizer, thanks for pointing out my lost ad photos (that ad has since been partically covered up with a sign offering rather expensive apartments for sale).

Some more at lightningfield.com (from David Gallagher)
posted by andrewraff at 8:13 PM on September 3, 2002

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