Ghost Signs, Bygone Ads Painted on Buildings, Are Fading Away—Should We Let Them?

Celebrating the old timey advertising and the character it brings to cities before it disappears

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Take a walk through any city, and you’ll spot bygone advertising on buildings, walls and in alleys. Usually, you’ll come across it when a building’s outer wall sees sunlight for the first time in decades when a building next door gets torn down. It might be the name of the hardware store that used to be there, or hotel, or seafood restaurant, or restaurant near a hotel.

Courtesy of Nikki Villagomez

Before the giant billboards littering highways telling you to turn off at the next exit for a burger or ads wrapping around city buses informing you of the latest movie, old timey signs, formally called ghost signs, were once brightly painted, crisply lettered, illustrative advertisements for products, goods and services.



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