Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Whitehall (E. Broad, Yearling Rd.) tour

1. Kroger supermarket, E. Broad/Maplewood
2. US Hair, E. Broad/Maplewood
3. Ange's Pizza, Yearling Rd., Whitehall

4. Duke/Duchess, E. 5th Ave and Yearling Rd. They will card you. Even if you are using a walker, driving a 1957 Caddy and remember World War I.
5. Firestone tire center, E. Broad and Robinwood. Seems all these old places are caled "restone" or "Firest. All three neon signs on this location have some letters out cold.
6. Tattoo parlor, E. Broad and Robinwood, behind Jolly Pirate, which no longer has a neon sign.
7. Quality Stitch. E. Broad in Town and Country shopping center, the oldest surviving strip mall in the USA.
8. Jewelry/Pawn shop, in Town and Country next to US Hair.

Whitehall is admittedly, not the most interesting place in the world as far as neon goes, nor as far as much else goes. Most of the best neon in Whitehall is on E. Main Street (see my previous posts about that area). E. Broad St. , where Town and Country shopping center chugs along after nearly sixty years, has considerably less neon than a decade ago (Where Lowe's now is there was an old fashioned dirty crowded K-Mart complete with large red and blue neon sign). All the pics here were taken the evening of 11/27/07, which was clear and cold..almost perfect for neon photography (anytime of year is nice,but a foggy December night makes neon look extra garish and beautiful at the same time). I hope to get some time in for neon pics between shopping and drinking eggnog over the next month. I am looking forward to the "High Street corridor". Basically from the brewery district (just south of downtown Columbus) up to Worthington is the largest concentration of neon in the city. Starting with the brewery district, through downtown, leading to the Short North which gradually evolves (or devolves, depending how you feel about it) into the OSU campus area which itself is pretty strictly divided into two distinct the more classy and adult oriented Beechwold and old money, to Worthington which is a true suburb, in which, you may mistake it for being somewhere in New England (MAY mistake it). Anyway, enjoy what Whitehall has to offer for now.

Monday, November 26, 2007

North End: Northland, Sharon Woods, Forest Park, etc. tour

1. A mattress/bedding store, Morse Rd. near Sunbury Rd.
2. Transmission repair center, Westerville Rd. near Cleveland Avenue. Did not catch the name. Small garage in densely populated area of inner city Columbus.
3. ABC Liquor, Rt. 161 and Karl Rd. Good selection of liquors, spirits, mixers, and of course, beer. Will be busy with the upcoming holiday season.
4. Boomerangs Bar, 161 and Karl Rd.
5. Same location as photo #1, the mattress/bedding store. Neon makes matresses and box springs quite interesting!
6. Sizzle Marine boating and RV center, Westerville Rd. (3 C Highway) just south of Morse. The sign actually 'sizzles". Video to come soon.
7. Roosters, Rt. 161 and Cleveland Avenue. "A fun, casual joint". Pretty good wings. Try the Super Killers!
8. National Check Cashers, Kathy Run Lane (near Rooster's from above photo). I think if we collected all the neon signs from cash advance stores in Columbus, it would be brighter than Vegas. If you need a quadruple digit interest rate loan, come here. Pay it back in two weeks. Repeat process the next day. I have been trapped by these places, but sometimes, what are you going to do when a car breaks down and the bills still need to be paid and the kids still need food?
9. Debnet beauty supply, Beechcroft Center. Caters to the local African community.
10. Tan Allover, tanning salon in same strip center as beauty supply. Does not cater to African community I believe.
11. Mi Bandera, un mercado mexicano. In same strip center again.
All photos were taken with the digital camcorder still function the night of Sat. 11/24/07. Work was slow so I was able to grab a few photos while working. Bad me.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A little more E. Main/other eastside

A few pics left from Tuesday night and a few more I noticed driving through Bexley again on Main on Wednesday night, 11/21/07. White's Pharmacy and Resch's are in an older strip center on Livingston Avenue at Yearling Road. Old fashioned bakery. Old fashioned pharmacy, with lots of regular customers. I can attest that Resch's is good! Anthony's Pizza and Subs is just south of Main at Pleasant Ridge in Bexley. Good pizza at a decent price. Al's Barber Shop, Yearling Rd. just south of Main. He charges $7 per haircut after being $6 for several years. I wonder what he did with the "haircuts $6" sign and if he still has it..hmmm?.. Bexley Optical near Main and Drexel. Cute and well made bright sign. The sugary words on the next sign belong to Anthony Thomas choolates. Several locations around Columbus including a factory/DC on the west side which has special tours and tastings, especially around Christmas and Easter, which are sugary candy coated holidays. Next we have the camel of Camel cigarettes on display at a smoke/tobacco shop at the Town and Country shopping center on E. Broad Street. And a couple stores down is a shoe repair shop, which I highly doubt could repair my two year old worn out black sneakers. Which I wear on rainy days like this one was.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

E. Main Stree/US 40/National Road, Pt. II

The stretch from about Whitehall to Bexley along East Main street has some of the best examples of old suviving neon as well as newer displays. Sadly the older stuff is disappearing constantly and some of the generic "shoppes" (fancy word for strip mall) are incorporating typical dull early 21st century advertising and display technology. The neighborhood shifts from lower-middle class semi-suburbia in Whitehall, seedy and somewhat gritty (though by no means the true inner city ghetto) with drug dealing, petty crime, prostitution, pay by the hour hotels, porn shops, and strip clubs in the James Rd/Eastmoor area, and then, with the blink of an eye, once you hit Bexley around Main and Chelsea the scene shifts to a rerun of "It's a Wonderful Life". All have great examples of old and new neon are some examples:

All of the above pictures were taken 11/20 between Yearling Rd. in Whitehall and College Avenue in Bexley. Some of the signs are obvious as to what message they convey. Most are relatively new, but the motel signs as well as the Mirage sign are remnants of neon's heyday on the US 40 strip, dating to the early 1960s most likely. The signs, as well as the businesses themselves and the neighborhood as a whole, have seen better days, and those better days were MANY days ago. Still glad to see the neon signs hanging around..only a few areas around Columbus can one find such pieces. Party People and the psychic share a building just west of the Bexley/Columbus city line. Rubino's is an older Bexley institution..a small brick building which still bags rather than boxes it's pizzas, and being there is like being transported via time machine to circa 1962. And I have yet to eat their pizza. The note and martini signs are from the Top Steakhouse..those caught my eye. The Panini Grill is next to the Drexel Theater, another old Bexley institution..there are currently two Drexels..the other is in Grandview and also has a cool sign. Greaters..yumm..neat sign. The building was once an old pharmacy until the local chain converted it to a place to give headaches sometime in the 80s I am old. The "ice cream" sign is not Graeters but Cup O Joe, a regional coffeehouse chain location. Interestingly, there is no sign advertising coffee. The next to last (or penultimate, for those who prefer big words) photo is from Swan cleaners.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

E. Main Street/US 40/National Road

While I will be taking any neon that captures my eye and interest, I will be focusing on the US 40/E. Main Street corridor of the east side of Columbus, from Whitehall to Bexley. U.S. Route 40, also known in early days as the National Road, is the closest the eastern part of the country has to a route 66 (along with the N-S Route 1 on the east coast). Not as romanticized and probably not quite as interesting as far as architecture and lore, it was still a prime example of the pre-interstate cross country road which made it's way through cities and towns from Maryland to Utah (originally, in the early 1800s, the road ended in Illinois..US 40 is the "new" National Road"). For most of it's length, I-70 has taken it's place since the late 1950s and the road declined. Going through Columbus, it followed E. Main street through Reynoldsburg and then what is now Whitehall (which earlier in the century were considered far suburbs or even rural towns). Once E. Main street hits around Cassady Avenue in Bexley, it routes up to Broad Street and continues westward through downtown Columbus on East and West Broad Street. Now that E. Main is basically innercity Columbus, few remnants remain of what was once part of that National Road, but if we look, we can see a few examples of the past, especially the area between about Barnett Rd. and Capital University in Bexley. Of course new businesses have sprung up over the decades and along with it, their neon signs. While the heyday of neon ended years ago with the advent of cheap plastic and more recently LED's, it is still a huge part of the American landscape and does not appear it will be vanishing soon. Here are a few examples of neon in Whitehall on US40/E. Main street. The more interesting, historical stuff to come over the next few photo shoots. All pics were taken on 11/16/07 with my digital camcorder still function.
1. Massey's Pizza. A small regional pizza chain started in Ohio. They have an all you can eat pizza buffet daily from 11am-2pm, which also includes pasta and salad.
2. Massey's. Salads.
3. Holiday Motel. Not much neon at some of these motels unfortunately now, but their "vacancy" sign lights up in cool red neon. Later we will see a few motels which do use more neon.
4. Tattoo shop, Main and Ross Rd. in a stripcenter. The red neon outlines the whole window.
5. Players Billiards. An older style of Miller Lite signage, probably dating from the early-mid 1990s. Most Miller signs now, as do the graphics on their products, feature the word 'Lite" slanting upward toward the right. Nice eagle on this sign too, which isn't seen on most modern ML signs.
6. NAPA Auto parts. This sign is actually inside the store hanging from the rafters. The store was closed and dark when I took this picture from outside the store.