Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I'm Seeing Ghosts

Going hand-in-hand with the fascination with decay, I love old ghost signs, remnants of long-forgotten businesses. It's that feeling that something is creeping through from the past, that not everything was quite quashed when the old companies went under. And they were obviously intended to be permanent. Newer businesses have crappy transitory plastic signs -- when these old signs were created, they were made by someone who intended them to last forever.

I started photographing them some years back, motivated by the awesome Forgotten NY site (which has a recent gallery of old signs up here). I've never put many up on the blog, for whatever reason -- partly, perhaps, because I haven't found that many in Atlanta -- and by the time I started this thing, I'd photographed most that I've seen. But I've got a pretty big collection scattered around, so I'll be putting them up from time to time (and hopefully, finding more in the city).

These today are all from a trip back to Denver (and one from Boulder) several years ago -- I was cannibalizing my old Angelfire site (circa 2001-02) to make sure that I still had all the photos up on it, and grabbed all these. Don't remember many details, so they're mostly presented without comment.

The above shot is the lone Boulder photo in the bunch -- and the only one I know much of anything about. It's on the side of what used to be the La Estrellita restaurant (my favorite Mexican joint back in the day), and has since been a Bermuda Triangle of short-lived restaurants, clubs, and pubs. It looks like two signs -- the older one being the studios of "D.L. Yocom," who was apparently a Boulder-area photographer long, long ago (late 19th century?). Not much material is available on the guy.

Anyone who has any ideas on Atlanta signs -- drop me a note.


Brushback said...

Having lived in crumbling industrial towns for a good part of my life (mostly Waterbury, Ct.), I've taken note of the faded-out signs on the sides of buildings, also.

When you walk around towns like that, you can still see the evidence of grocery stores and drugstores that used to occupy the old brick buildings downtown. Every few blocks seemed to have their own localized markets and stuff.

When I was in school, I had some temp jobs cleaning out abandoned factories that were going to be remodeled into loft apartments or condos or whatever. It was always weird to see graffiti from the former employees on the walls and workbenches-- "Bill was here '53" or whatever-- and imagining what the place was like when the graffiti was still fresh.

gsdgsd13 said...

There's a similar neighborhood a little south of me, that has similar remnants of groceries and drug stores -- I've photographed it many times over the years and will probably pop some of those up next time. It's starting to really gentrify, and all the old husks of buildings are becoming lofts and coffeeshops.

The old graffiti sounds cool as hell.