Friday, August 24, 2012

Ghost Signs

A couple of weeks ago I posted this picture in conjunction with my report on an outing which included a visit to Peru.  I had spotted this sign and had to stop to snap the picture.  I keep my eye peeled for these as they are becoming quite rare with the passing of time, the razing of buildings, and the painting over that comes with "updating."  Jim whose blog is "Down the Road"  commented on the photo and referred to this as a "ghost sign," a term I did not know.
 
 
This sign is in downtown Tipton, right at the intersection  of the two principal streets.  But you'd have to know where to look if you hoped to find it.  I took a photo of this wall probably twenty-five years ago.  The colors were much more vivid then, as I recall.  A few more years and it may no longer be legible.

Five years ago we were in Cripple Creek where I shot these signs.  This Pittsburgh Saloon-Baxter's Cigar sign is my favorite.

It is evident that I did not take sufficient efforts to get a good picture of the Owl sign.  I should have found someone who would have admitted me to a second floor opposite where I might actually have seen the sign. I mean the rest of it.

Quite obviously, cigars were a big deal in Cripple Creek back in the day!  The five-cent variety must have been quite popular.  Or the most affordable.

Which reminds me of Indiana's own one-time governor and later vice-president, Thomas Marshall, who said, "What this country needs is a good five-cent cigar."  Apparently none of these would have passed muster with Mr. Marshall.*

As recently as my own earlier adulthood, one could buy Swisher Sweets for a nickel.  I worked with a guy who used them.  I think they should not have passed muster with anyone, but there was a clientele.
 
*The comment was not original with Mr. Marshall, nor did he claim it to be.  It appeared in print as early as 1875.  Marshall may have picked it up from reading Kin Hubbard, of whom he was a fan, according to Jeffrey Graf, Indiana University Library.

6 comments:

Jacquelineand.... said...

There's still a market for Swisher Sweets, my younger brother smokes them.

Remember the 'See Rock City' adverts on barn roofs and the Burma Shave signs?

Shelly said...

Enjoyed these grand old signs. I am glad you were able to get shots of them before they faded completely.

Jim said...

This is why it's important to photograph them! They do fade away eventually.

Secondary Roads said...

And now such signs are merely ghosts of days gone bye.

vanilla said...

Jacqueline, I do remember those signs. I can still quote some of the Burma Shave quips, the result of car trips across country with the family.

Shelly, old signs, like old people, tend to fade away. Well, no. I hope I don’t just fade from sight. However, on my bike ride just this morning I noted young people passing me by without a glance, and I was thinking that twenty-five years ago everyone in town knew who I was and would hail me in the streets.

Jim, everything earthly is transient. Pictures do extend the “life” of some objects.

Chuck, true; and they evoke memories of those by-gone days.

Sharkbytes said...

Perfect to copy and use on a transition era train layout.