Monday, January 26, 2009

West far and near

While I have covered the west side before, I had not yet gotten to a few neighborhoods surrounding those areas. W. Broad Street is undoubtdely the main drag of the west side of Columbus, and the main thoroughfare which leads one from the west side to Downtown (I-70 and I-670 for those in a hurry). When I did my original photo tours I did not really venture south of Broad nor west of about Philippi/Georgesville Rd. So I thought I would cover some of that. Believe it or not I still have some west side yet to cover, even after this small tour (Central Point/Harrisburg, etc..but I can cover those on their own or in combination with Grove City..oh and I can't forget those small tiny former towns like San Margherita near Hilliard and Upper Arlington..again, separate tours). I have to admit, I was slightly disappointed by the volume of neon far out on W. Broad. Overall W. Broad is one of the best stretches in Columbus for neon, but a lot of the roadside goodies are now gone in an area which switches almost immediately from high density urban to almost rural in an instant. Of course that area now is becoming "suburbanized" with generic chain businesses which use generic plastic signage. Anyway, one of the old crown jewels of the far west side was undoubtedly the Frisch's sign on W. Broad. The location had been there for decades but closed sometime in the last few years. One of it's hallmarks was it's large neon sign that abutted the road. The neon is gone of course. But out of the ashes may rise a Phoenix (or however you say it). One of those aforementioned chains, this time a pharmacy, has purchased the property, raised the old restaurant and built one of their almost prototype buildings on the property. The good news? They have decided to keep the original sign's structure and designed their own on the old! It was unlit when I drove by and did not take a picture, as it was quite dark. But I have to admit it looks good! It is definitely modern day neon, but with a very retro feel. This could become the Camden Yards of Columbus, Ohio neon signage! I am not sure when this location is due to open, but when it does I will definitely get a pic or two. If they light this sign and keep it on good working order maybe this chain will be in my good graces. I am not boycotting them or anything, I just of course have a general disdain for anything cool and old (meaning, what, anything over 15 years old these days?!?) being replaced by the cookiecutter model, and this chain has a history of doing this. Anyway, here is a small sample of some of the neon of W. Broad and Sullivant Avenues. All pics were taken the evening of Fri.1/23.

Some neon from one of the many strip centers located along W. Broad Street near Westland.

The New Rome Motel. New Rome was a town (that is a stretch..was a few houses and a few businesses along a stretch of W. Broad Street lasting about two blocks) which was soley created for the purpose of making money via a speed trap. The fact that 99.9% of their revenue was through traffic tickets, and that the reduced speed limit was later deemed illegal, and a lot of other things led to this "town" being disestablished by the state. Google "New Rome, Ohio" sometime. Absolutely amazing that they got away with this for so long!

Pretty cool addition to what is normally a generic and pedestrian neon sign. Found on a Burger King on W. Broad, in what used to be New Rome.

Western Lanes, near the corner of Georgesville and Sullivant Avenue. One of the few places in Columbus I have never bowled in. Nice sign, but definitely no Hillcrest!

Westgate Cocktail Lounge. The place and sign probably date to the 1950s or 60s. Very cool, even though the sign needs some work.

Just a Papa John's sign, across the street from the Westgate Lounge. What I like about Papa John's is that they at least invest in some neon, at the same time they realize the pizza business is competitive and need to be frugal. Of course an all neon sign would be MUCH better, but at least they have some.

The Columbus Coal and Lime building, very close to downtown at the end of Sullivant Avenue near Gift Street. This area is known as "the Bottoms". A large housing project building is very close to here.

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