SCA WEEKLY NEWS REVIEW: SEPTEMBER 26, 2021

Henssler-Ghost-Sign-and-Repaint

SCA WEEKLY NEWS REVIEW: SEPTEMBER 26, 2021

Years after getting back their cherished neon sign, VFW Post 1 still hasn’t been able to hang it

Denver VFW Neon Sign

VFW photo

From 9News: DENVER — VFW Post 1, in Denver, was the first Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in the country. That’s part of the reason why some of its oldest members revere the post’s nostalgic neon sign as a piece of Colorado history.

The sign first went up at the VFW location on Bannock Street in the 1940s. When they moved to the Santa Fe Arts District in 2014, the sign went into storage and got lost when a new owner took over the storage company. Call it destiny or good luck, but a local restorer of neon signs found it in the trash. He fixed and returned the sign to the VFW when he heard what happened through mutual connections.

Years later, the sign remains grounded, lying on its side in VFW Post 1. The VFW intended to hang it soon after its homecoming but the 100-year-old building intended to anchor the sign did not have the strength. Denver inspectors determined the sign could not be hung in accordance with city code because of the building’s condition.

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Rezoning Proposal for Neptune Diner Site Gets Thumbs Down from Astoria Community Board

Nepture Diner Astoria

An 11-story building is proposed to go up where the Neptune Diner in Astoria is located (GMaps)

From Sunnyside Post: A developer’s application to upzone a section of 31st Street in Astoria—in order to construct three large residential buildings—was rejected by Community Board 1 Tuesday night.

MDM Development, an Astoria-based real estate company, has filed an application with the city to upzone the east side of 31stStreet between Astoria Boulevard North and 24th Avenue in order to develop three residential buildings—two being 11 stories and another, 12 stories.

The buildings would go up where the Neptune Diner, Staples and a nearby vacant lot are currently located. The popular diner and Staples would be bulldozed.

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At 100 years old, Penn Station awaits an upcoming rebirth

Inside Old Penn Station Baltimore

Details from the second level railroad control room, which has been dismantled at Baltimore’s Pennsylvania Station. (Karl Merton Ferron/The Baltimore Sun)

From The Baltimore Sun: Directly above the ticket purchasing counter at Baltimore’s 1911 Pennsylvania Station is a vast, unseen second floor room. It’s glass door, marked 222, carries a “high voltage” warning and remains off limits.

This amazing chamber contains an industrial artifact of the 1930s, a sprawling train control board that were it operating, would reveal the railroad’s movements from Perryville in Cecil County to the Virginia Avenue tunnel near the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

There are indicator lights for long vanished stations such as Biddle Street in East Baltimore. Ancient, flickering florescent lights reveal neighborhood names, Orangeville and Gwynn, on the giant board. There is a listing for old Union Tunnel, meaning the much used rail tube under Hoffman Street adjacent to Green Mount Cemetery.

This room is but one of the numerous station spaces that have not been used for decades. Despite the dust, they are amazingly well preserved above the busy first floor where passengers arrive and depart.

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Cousin of lost Orlando icon thrives near Kentucky caves

Wigwam Village Orlando

A photographer for Florida’s Department of Commerce captured a view of Orlando’s Wigwam Village Motel in 1956. It was demolished in 1973. (State Archives of Florida)

From The Orlando Sentinel: Many folks itch for “bucket list” travel to exotic world-famous sites. Others, including some in the Dickinson family, hear the call of more quirky destinations with links to America’s roadside past — links even to a lost Orlando icon: the Wigwam Village Motel that once reigned on South Orange Blossom Trail.

Torn down in 1973, it was one of seven similar “tourist courts” across the country, three of which still exist — in Holbrook, Arizona (on the famous U.S. Route 66), San Bernardino, California, and Cave City, Kentucky. They’re all on the National Register of Historic Places.

Late this summer, my brother, Bill, and I visited the oldest survivor, Historic Wigwam Village No. 2, in Cave City. Built in 1937, it’s being lovingly restored by new owners Keith Stone and Megan Smith, who bring to the project a background in architecture (Stone) and an interest in historic preservation (Smith). From the original hickory furniture to the restored neon sign, it was a roadside-history fan’s idea of heaven.

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Stonehenge replica in Washington added to National Register of Historic Places

Stonehenge Replica Maryhill

Stonehenge Memorial at Maryhill was dedicated in 1918, brought to fruition by Sam Hill. Hill wanted a memorial to the soldiers of Klickitaty County killed in World War I. It is a replica of the pre-historic Stonehenge in England. Stephanie Yao Long/The Oregonian

From The Oregonian: There’s no need to cross the globe to visit Stonehenge – just drive up the Columbia River.

The Stonehenge replica at Maryhill, a small community on the Washington side of the river, has long been a beloved roadside attraction, astronomical viewpoint and Pagan gathering spot – and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Maryhill Museum of Art announced Tuesday.

Constructed between 1918 and 1929 as a memorial to Klickitat County soldiers and sailors who died during World War I, the Stonehenge replica is perched on a bluff overlooking the river just east of the Columbia River Gorge.

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Not Fade Away? The Aesthetic Debate Behind Preserving Ghost Signs

Henssler-Ghost-Sign-and-Repaint

Left: Henssler Expert Locksmith in 2011 prior to restoration. Right: The Henssler sign as seen today after restoration. Photos: Google Street View and Jordan Keiffer

From Hidden City Philadelphia: There is a big debate among ghost sign enthusiasts, “Walldog” sign painters, business owners, and real estate redevelopers: repaint or let them die.

Ghost signs are faded advertisements or business logos that can be found in every corner of Philadelphia, often strategically painted on highly visible brick walls or along a busy railroad. Most are relics of the industrial boom of the 20th century–layers of painted, and sometimes repainted, history that are full of character. Enthusiasts might stare at a sign a dozen times, waiting for the right lighting or vegetation to clear before the sign reveals itself. The thrill of uncovering the history of a ghost sign can evoke a sense of community pride, revealing the stories of those who lived and worked here before us.

But what can we do when a ghost sign is faded beyond recognition, like most of the S.S. White Dental Manufacturing sign at 211 S. 12th Street? What responsibility should new property owners and historic building redevelopers bear when acquiring a structure with a ghost sign? Should we repaint or recreate them, like paintings in a museum, or should we just let them fade with time?

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