SF Historic Preservation Commission to Vote on Palace Hotel’s Neon Signs


‘The Palace’ sign on the roof of the Palace Hotel, before work began to replace the neon with LED lighting. (Al Barna/SF Neon)

From KQED: After arguing their case at the end of a marathon five-hour hearing on March 20, neon aficionados will have to wait until April 3 for San Francisco’s Historic Preservation Commission to vote on the future of the Palace Hotel’s iconic neon signs.

The hotel received approval in November 2023 to replace the glass tubes of its two “The Palace” signs with “simulated neon” LED lighting, as noted in January by San Francisco Chronicle urban design critic John Knight. But Randall Ann Homan and Al Barna of San Francisco Neon, a nonprofit that leads neon walking tours, questioned why the building’s owner had seemingly received an over-the-counter permit without a hearing.

They raised the point with Supervisor Aaron Peskin, and on March 20, the matter came before the Historic Preservation Commission, along with 211 letters from the public urging the city to prevent the removal of the sign’s neon elements. Barna and four others spoke at the hearing against the LED replacements.

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Key City Diner in Phillipsburg Set to Reopen with Modernized Look


Key City Diner expects to re-open late April, early May 2024. TAPinto Phillipsburg Staff Photo | Ryan Fucilli

From TAPintoPhillipsburg: PHILLIPSBURG, NJ – Finally! Key City Diner, located at 985 Route 22 in Lopatcong, plans on reopening to the public in the last week of April or the first week of May.

The new sign is up, and construction will be coming to an end soon, says owner Pete Theo.

A tragic fire caused by an electric short took place in September 2022, causing the 50s-style diner to undergo demolition and serious renovation.

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I Drove The World’s Smallest Four-Seat Car Across America And It Reminded Me Of How Cars Can Change Your Life


From The Autopian: If you haven’t noticed, the pace of world change in these last ten years or so has been particularly fast, and what constitutes everyday life continues to evolve rapidly. An infectious disease ripped its way around the globe, car technology leaps forward every year, and it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between an Onion headline and real life.Thankfully, there is soul-calming experience as therapeutic as it is thrilling that we can all appreciate in these ever-changing times: the great American road trip.

Leave your problems at home, point that car in any direction, and discover the wonders this country has to offer. That’s exactly what my wife and I did in November when we decided to drive her Scion iQ from our apartment in northern Illinois to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Taking the world’s smallest four-seat car down Route 66 was an unforgettable experience, and not just because things got really weird.

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DeSantis signs law easing demolitions of aging coastal buildings, creating “massive redevelopment implications”


Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis (Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal with Getty)

From The Real Deal: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a controversial bill that will make it easier to demolish aging coastal properties, another major win for developers from the Florida Legislature.

Senate Bill 1526 strips local municipalities of their authority to ban, restrict or prevent the demolition of “nonconforming” and unsafe structures. The exceptions are for buildings individually placed on the National Register of Historic Places, contributing structures within a historic district listed in the National Register before 2000, and single-family homes. Buildings in barrier island municipalities with a population of less than 10,000 and which have at least six city blocks that are not located in four specific flood zones (V, VE, AO or AE) are also exempt.

Buildings that only have municipal historic designation would not be saved from the wrecking ball.

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Large Collection of St. Louis Neon Signs and Memorabilia to be Sold at Auction


Greg Rhomberg (center) speaks to attendees at a private event.

From NextSTL: For over fifty years Greg Rhomberg, the former CEO of Nu Way Concrete Forms who passed away last year, collected and restored neon signs and other St. Louis memorabilia. Half a century later the collection has become an extensive private museum in a nondescript building called Antique Warehouse in Lemay, just south of St. Louis city.

The 10,000 square foot facility includes all types of signage advertising St. Louis companies, coin operated machines, antique cash registers, amusement rides, pinball machines, cars, trucks, tractors and antique recreational vehicles as well as a collection of “keys to the city of St. Louis” given out by various mayoral administrations.

The collection includes the original 1954 tram from Grant’s Farm as well as numerous fire engines from the 1920’s, through the 1950’s that have undergone meticulous frame-off restorations, including a 1932 General Monarch Pumper model built in St. Louis for the city of Kirkwood.

The neon collection is said to be the second largest collection of neon signs in the Midwest, behind the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, OH. One of the unique things about the signs at Antique Warehouse is that they’re almost exclusively from St. Louis.

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‘Keep it Loopy’: Retro neon sign reflects community, culture on Kamloops’ North Shore


A new sign at Red Beard Cafe on Kamloops’ North Shore has a vintage look. Red Beard Cafe

Form Infotel: A popular cafe on Kamloops’ North Shore has a new retro neon sign that reads “Keep it Loopy” in blue, gold and pink.

The glowing sign at Red Beard Cafe is part of an initiative by Tourism Kamloops and the City of Kamloops that began last fall to illuminate the streets with a total of seven lit up installations.

Each installation has a unique design ranging from artistic murals to interactive light and audio experiences.

The neon sign at Red Beard is the first installation with a retro-style design.

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