Incomplete paint job is both awkward and incomplete. Above are before-and-after shots of two piano company adverts on the side of 1020 Market Street. Built in 1908, the building recently underwent it’s third graffiti/ghost sign abatement paint job, completely obscuring the C.G. Horn Pianos sign. However, this most recent (and most opaque) paint job frames the Pianos for Rent sign in a really lovely way. If you’re going to paint a third of a building in garish brick orange you might as well kern it to the ghost sign.
Also, I’m very curious about those triangular windows – they don’t exactly match the time period and/or architecture of this building.
As shot from Minna
While I hate to see old buildings go, part of me loves the jack-o-lantern smile of blocks in transition; especially when they lead to new ghost sign reveals. For instance, shown above is a picture I took in November 2011 of the Albain Hotel at 948 Mission Street.
The building dates from 1907 and has two clearly visible signs, one for a small rooming hotel and the other for a safe manufacturer.
Furnished Rooms ___ ____ $2.00 Up
After a spur of the moment trip to Burning Man I’ve restarted my photographic explorations of the city. Seems my prophesy in Temporary Ghost Advertising Zone was correct – they did replace the billboard and cover up the old Coca Cola sign underneath. See you again in five to seven years old friend.
1018 Mission Street
1018 Mission Street at Sixth Street; a five story SRO dating to 1911 and currently operating under the name Kean Hotel. Clear Channel recently removed a vandalized, weathered, and unused billboard from the building’s western wall temporarily revealing the long-hidden Coca Cola sign underneath. Will this sign remain visible for long? I’m guessing not. The billboard re/deinstallers never removed their scaffolding/platforms so I assume they intend to return and finish the job – and by “finish” I mean install a bigger and better billboard. Either that or they really, really wants someone to climb onto it and tag over the ghost sign.
This is actually one of two Coca Cola ghost signs on 1018 Mission Street. The other sign can be seen on the eastern wall facing towards 6th street. Both appear to be of a similar vintage. And what is that vintage? Well, they both feature the iconic “contour bottle” which was adopted in 1916 so they’re definitely no older than that (remember, the building is from 1911). However, it seems that until the mid-30′s a significant portion of Coca Cola’s advertising involved their soda served in a glass with the contour bottle gaining visual dominance somewhere in the late 30′s to late 40′s. So, if I had to make a vague, grasping, quasi-educated guess, I would put these ghost signs at the late 30′s through the late 40′s. Any Coca Cola experts care to further pinpoint the date?
1018 Mission before removal of the billboards. Photo circa December 2011.
View Ads of San Francisco in a larger map
I’m currently working on two slight variations of the Ghost Sign Mapping Project. The main map contains all the ghost signs in eastern San Francisco. The second map, pictured above, contains only the product/brand advertising signs. Created in March as a blog post for my day job (I work in advertising), it has been updated to reflect the last four months worth of sign research. Enjoy!
Finally someone left the gate unlocked! As seen in this blog post, there’s a very intriguing Owl Cigar sign overlooking this alley. Wrapping around two sides of 921 Post Street, I’ve had trouble pinpointing where this sign was originally meant to be viewed from. The back side of the sign isn’t visible from Post, isn’t visible from Geary, and is only vaguely visible from Hyde. So where was it meant to be viewed from?
Peekabo, I sorta see you. As shot from Hyde
*WARNING. This post contains pretentious words and/or phrases*
I always think of McDonald’s as having tight brand control. After all, they essentially pioneered the concept of food production and service as a standardized, assembly line affair. Why would you serve a million identical hamburgers every year and not apply that same model to the rest of your business? What’s good for the menu is surely good for the general aesthetic, corporate culture, and bottom line, right?
They’re a truly exceptional example of American unexceptionalism. With franchises strung like identically nondescript pearls along the highway of the collective American consciousness, you can walk into any McDonald’s and lose yourself in a branded environment divorced from all concept of location or place. Are we in California? Are we in New Jersey? Who knows! And there’s something powerful, and profitable, about that dedication to meeting and managing comfortable expectations. Continue reading
Key Klub 856 Bush Street between Mason and Taylor. This thing is spectacular! The peeling paint, the broken tubing, the real estate ad armature, the clever use of the letter “K”, the inexplicable “Crossroads of the World” tagline. The building dates from 1922; I’m unsure of the sign’s vintage but it’s definitely old.
Eagle Apartments – this is a horrible sign. It looks like someone painted it using a paint roller and a bucket of discount white primer. True, some of that inelegance could be from decay and ineffective restoration. However, the font is still awkwardly blocky and the letters badly scaled to one another. Continue reading
921 Post as seen from Post
A partially obscured sign for Owl Cigars. Both 921 Post and it’s neighbor were built in 1919/1920 which means originally there was a clean line of site to this sign. I blame the silly clown striped facade for the current bad view. Bad stripes! No nicotine for you! Currently vacant; perhaps when 927 Post is rehabilitated/reopened/renovated the metal siding will come down and the full sign will be visible once more? Continue reading