Welcome to Route 20: America’s longest road stretches from Boston to Oregon


A sign in Boston’s Kenmore Square tells visitors they can follow Route 20 west for 3,365 miles, all the way to Newport, Oregon. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

From WBUR: Some of Boston’s most significant landmarks flash their lights around Kenmore Square. There’s the conspicuous double-walled Citgo sign, its thousands of LEDs gleaming across a 60-by-60-foot surface. About 1,200 feet away, the Red Sox ply their trade under massive light stanchions. Nearby bars serving Sam Adams and vendors hawking hot dogs make America’s oldest ballpark and its noisy corridors impossible to miss.

But a smaller landmark often gets overlooked by herds of tourists and even many locals milling through one of Boston’s busiest intersections. To some, it appears to be just another traffic sign, but to others, it’s a historical marker — or perhaps a dare to pick up and hit the open road.

It’s a green sign that tells onlookers that, from where they stand, it’s 3,365 miles from Boston to Newport, Oregon.

Read More

Preserving the iconic: Restoration work wrapping on Rochester’s glowing beauty of a hotel sign


From REjournals: Iconic. That’s how Matt Williams, vice president of finance with Red Pine Capital Management, describes the historic neon sign that has so long lit up the nighttime sky from atop the Kahler Grand Hotel in Rochester, Minnesota.

And why not? The sign stands 11 stories above the ground and spells out the name “Kahler Hotel” in towering neon letters. It’s long been a beacon shining in downtown Rochester.

Unfortunately, the sign, built and installed around 1971, had reached the end of its life, sometimes failing to light at all. Age had taken its toll.

Read More

Joe’s Liquor & Bar partners with Rock Springs URA to preserve historic neon signage


Photo by Wyo4News Staff

From Wyo4News: ROCK SPRINGS, WYOMING — The “Let’s Get Lit” Campaign is a local fundraiser working to save and preserve the iconic historical signs that are neon for businesses in Downtown Rock Springs. The campaign was first launched when Joe’s Liquor & Bar partnered with The Rock Springs Urban Renewal Agency in June 2023.

With the surge of LED lights, there has been a drastic decline in neon signage across the country. With this, many groups of individuals are working together to save and preserve these bright urban signs we all know and love, which have been such a beautiful part of our history. Joe’s Liquor & Bar and the Rock Springs Urban Renewal Agency (URA) have been working tirelessly on the “Let’s Get Lit” Campaign to help restore neon signage to many local businesses.

Read More

Fading fast: Ghost signs chronicle history of Minneapolis and St. Paul


Downtown Minneapolis is filled with signs of all shapes and sizes. Some are new and hard to miss, while others exist on the edges of our collective consciousness.

Jay Grammond is haunted by ghost signs, the faded advertisements that were hand-painted on the sides of mostly brick buildings during another era.

“There’s so much to discover down here because there’s so many old buildings and so many new buildings all mixed together,” said Grammond.

Read More

‘Hollywood Signs’ shines a light on L.A.’s forgotten visual landmarks


The iconic Grauman’s Chinese Theatre marquee signs in Hollywood are featured in the new book “Hollywood Signs.” (Kurt Wahlner)

From The San Diego Union-Tribune: You might know that Los Angeles’ most famous sign once read “Hollywoodland.”

But did you know that it wasn’t the first, nor only, sign designed to attract Angelenos to the Hollywood Hills?

In “Hollywood Signs: The Golden Age, Glittering Graphics and Glowing Neon,” author and designer Kathy Kikkert pays tribute to the other Hollywood signs, which also rose from the hillside, large and high enough to be seen from Wilshire Boulevard. While the sign for Whitley Heights came first — it was a newsworthy event when it was lit up in 1920 — there were others for Outpost Estates, Vinecrest, Brynn Mawr and Tryon Ridge.

Read More

The “Motormat” Was a Drive-In in Los Angeles, Where the Food Tray Was Sent Out on Rails Right to Your Car


From Vintage Everyday: Los Angeles’ car culture was in full bloom after the war, and the innovations that came along with an auto-centric lifestyle were also booming. No other region is more associated with drive-thru, drive-in restaurants and drive-in theaters than Southern California. And while the drive-thru restaurant has endured through the decades, the rest feel like novelties at this point. The “Motormat” is no exception.

In 1948, a drive-in located in Los Angeles implemented a unique system using conveyer belts to deliver food. This innovative idea, patented by Kenneth C. Purdy as the Motormat, aimed to eliminate the need for carhops by relying on a conveyor belt system for order taking and food delivery. The Track restaurant in Southern California embraced this technology, with 20 stalls arranged like spokes around the central building.

Read More