Ghost signs and more going bye-bye

ARCHITECTURE AND PRESERVATION NEWS for the Los Angeles Conservancy Modern Committee (ModCom) and other Mid Century Modern, Googie, International, Art Deco, 20th Century design

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Nathan
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Ghost signs and more going bye-bye

Postby Nathan » Fri Dec 10, 2004 11:01 am

This isn't exactly mod, or swanky, or MCM, but I thought I'd throw it out there for anyone who might be interested.

On the south side of Sunset, west of Chinatown, between Grand and Fig at the corner of Bunker Hill Avenue, there's a couple of teens/20s commercial structures about to come down. There's a two-story "Mission" style and a single-story brick & tile with three great old ghosts: "Lumber," "Auto Repairing," and "Mouldings."

Again, these ain't Lautners getting jackhammered, but I've always liked these little holdouts of old Bunker Hill-vicinity LA (and dig the stairs to nowhwere on that block). I always knew they were gonna come down for Palmer's (of Giese House-destroyin' fame) Orsini expansion and since the scaffolding has just gone up, it looks like it'll be sooner rather than later.

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Ghost Signs

Postby SDR » Fri Dec 10, 2004 3:05 pm

Is that what old, fading signs painted on the sides of (brick) buildings are called? I love seeing those -- there are a couple in my neighborhood -- one, on the top of an apartment building (from the teens?) says "Modern Studios -- Electric Refrigerators."

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Postby Nathan » Sat Dec 11, 2004 10:25 am


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Postby nichols » Mon Dec 13, 2004 11:33 am


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Postby johnnyapollo » Mon Dec 13, 2004 11:45 am


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Postby Nathan » Mon Dec 13, 2004 1:15 pm

http://www.lottaliving.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=1500

...a link to another of Mr. Nichols' posts.

This town is lousy wit 'em. Pico-Union could warrant a book right there. Imagine what a whole tome devoted to this burg would look like. That and the book about backlit plastic.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Ghost signs! Air-cooled apartments! Modern! Was always fond of the Hotel Lafayette, as pictured in the LA Neon book, p. 98. After that photo was taken they managed to haphazardly paint over half of that sign...why?

A book awaits! As long as there are no filthy neon books!

In the meantime, posting here. That is the future.

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I just noticed some

Postby modfan » Mon Dec 13, 2004 1:23 pm

Maybe these are pseudo-ghost signs-painted to 'look old'-adverts painted on the sides of various structures in that new mall Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga. It's supposedly that 'new urbanism' like the Grove or Valencia Town Center. I dunno if these are 'original' captured from the original structures or disneyfied reproductions....

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Postby nichols » Mon Dec 13, 2004 8:44 pm

Six months ago Victoria Gardens was a parched grape vineyard - abandoned for many years... Nothing there is old. They have imported a collection of vintage neon that I don't recognize, but the schlocky paintings of barber shops, etc. are brand new. Maybe I misinterpreted that last post...

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Postby TwinJim » Tue Dec 14, 2004 5:22 pm

Have yet to get up close but Nichols is dead right, the ghost signs are ringers. The signs can be seen from the 15 FWY south of the 210 FWY. Like much of Knotts Ghost Town I thought it might have been brought in from some original source, but doubt it. Indeed it's a page from (or a street) Disney's California Adventure Park, an outdoor museum of assorted architectural knock-offs.

Oh let 'em have a little fun with these stage productions, we shall seek out the genuine remains of California. So this joint is call Victoria's Secret Garden, eh? Now I know.

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Postby Lynxwiler » Wed Jul 26, 2006 8:17 pm

Here's a ghost sign mystery for ya'. Is this faded Los Angeles sign on the side of the Belasco Theater for real? Could this really be a ghost sign advertising "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" on the side of the Belasco Theater off 11th Street? Or is it a leftover movie prop from some unnamed film?

Mystery!
Image
Image

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Postby Nathan » Mon Jul 31, 2006 6:36 pm


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Postby Lynxwiler » Mon Jul 31, 2006 10:17 pm

Holy crap, Nathan, that's quite amazing! I though a 1953 sign was impressive, but the fact that this sign has survived from a stage play in '26, incredible!

I'd guess that "Gentlemen" was painted over years ago, but that top layer of paint has finally started to fade revealing the '26 layer beneath. The many layers of the "Belasco" logos above it are slowly starting to reveal themselves, all at once, as well.

Fantastic work Nathan!

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Postby Nathan » Tue Aug 01, 2006 10:03 am

Well thank you, Special Secret Modern Agent Lynxwiler. This information was recently brought to our attention via our agents in the East. I lost two good men on this one.

I like to think that the Historic Cultural Monument status of the Morgan, Walls & Clements Belasco extends to these ghosts. Hate to drive by one day and see them painted over in the same putty color that's slathered over our murals lately!

I've never been inside the Belasco -- "It is rich and replete with an old-gold luxuriance, individual in its almost church-like decorative jade windows above the balcony."

Image
Image
Image

Oh, wait. This is a thead about ghost signs. So, here's a ghost sign.

Image

I don't remember where I shot this. Somewhere 'round Koreatown? Aldridon?


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