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.

1 comment:

Edward said...

it's looking just wonderful,.
Sign making Kentucky