The brick wall was – and still is – the ideal location for a business owner to tell the world his name and trade. Throughout the City of St. Louis, one may still see evidence of this most basic and succinct form of advertising.
Undertaker – Embalmer
Manchester Ave. So. St. Louis ca. 1980
Partly obscured sign on second story of building in what is now called The Grove. Who was the undertaker? Only his customers know, and that secret has gone to the grave with them. Photoshop enhanced by Robert “Ferd” Frank in 2011.
J. Sellmann – Tailor
Potomac Ave. at Grace So. St. Louis 1979
Many small businesses such as this tailor shop had their names painted on the sides of their buildings, the merchant simply wanting to proclaim his existence. Think of them as large-scale, three-dimensional business cards.
Schacht & Cook Horseshoers
2127 Cass Ave. No. St. Louis 1980
The building long gone in 2013, not much is known about this particular farrier on the near north side.
G. Morman – Merchant Tailor & Draper
Martin Luther King at Jefferson St. Louis 1980
“Draper” is an antiquated term for a wholesaler or retailer of cloth, mainly for clothing. A draper may also operate as a haberdasher. Drapers were a once-prominent trade guild. Rather arbitrarily, I am dating this sign ca. 1912.
Dry Goods Hosiery
Bates Ave, at I-55 So. St Louis 1980
This unidentified former store seems to have been a mercantile that offered sewing services. Signs such as this cause one to ponder times past when people actually went to a shop to have their buttons covered.
Steve Gilmore – Plumber
Jefferson at Pestalozzi So. St. Louis 2013
Leaky faucets, stopped-up drains, broken spigots – Gilmore the Plumber at your service.