If you look up the term “Ghost Sign” online, you’ll probably come up with a definition something like this:
A ghost sign is an old hand-painted advertising sign that has been preserved on a building for an extended period of time. The sign may be kept for its nostalgic appeal, or simply indifference by the owner.
Old advertising can almost seem like a work of art at times. Plus, it’s a nostalgic look back at history too. Capturing examples of ghost signs is a great way to preserve a very real historical look at a community or region.
When the remodeling work going on at the Les Schwab on Wenatchee Avenue in Wenatchee exposed an old AMC/Jeep sign, the idea to shine a light on some of the other historic ghost signs in town came alive.
Old advertising, especially on the local level, can give a great view of our history. We see the businesses that once were located in the community and region around us and we also get a look at signs of what life was like then. There are whole industries that operated in the past that no longer do anymore. Other parts of the advertising, like the font or any graphic imagery, can go a long way towards showing what different styles were in play and popular during the time the advertising or signage was current. Color schemes used decades ago also show what was once looked on as pleasant that may no longer be.
Old advertising and signage is also just pleasant to see for some of us. This preserved but slowly decaying history adds to an appreciation for what life was like in an earlier time.
Old advertising and signage can also be a history lesson about both significant and lesser known people, companies, or industries that played a huge role in the birth or development of a community.
Do you have any favorite old advertising, signage, or “ghost signs” in the North Central Washington region? Fire off a comment below or use the contact form and maybe we’ll venture out to photograph it for a next installment on the area’s “ghost signs”.