Wallsigns: Washington, Missouri

On 20 January 2014, I had business in the picturesque town of Washington, on the banks of the Missouri, turgid as it was. It was a beautiful morning and, with business completed, I decided to take a walking tour of the town with an eye cast out for wallsigns of interest. This is what I found.

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Metered Hausgas West Front at Olive Street 2014

Ad reads in full: Metered Hausgas / The Magic Blue Flame / Refrigeration-Cooking-Heating. Building was likely a sales point for gas appliances; this particular morning it was being swarmed by workmen in the process of rehabbing.

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Missouri Meerschaum Factory- West Front at Cedar Street 2014

The Missouri Meerschaum Company has been making corncob pipes for more than 140 years. A plaque on the face of the building reads: “Dutch immigrant Henry Tibbe and his son, Anton, began production of corncob pipes in 1869. The first portion of the factory was completed in 1883. The corncob pipe made Washington [MO] famous around the world.” In 2014, the factory is still in operation. This type of wall sign is called a factory strip.

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Detail, Missouri Meerschaum Factory 2014

Name of company founder seen at eye-level just to left of front entrance. Sign appears to have been painted recently, possibly a touch-up on an older version.

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Hardware & Machinery 219 West Main 2014

Fading ad seen from street level in Washington’s downtown area.

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Vocational Agricultural Shop 2nd Street at Market 2014

Looking like an old one-room schoolhouse found in the countryside, this south-facing building was once used as a classroom for the local public high school. It is just to the east of the downtown area and the Missouri River may be seen in the background to the right. The plain Helvetica lettering identifying its erstwhile purpose is becoming quite faded; a few more decades and it’s gone. The white vinyl door is an unfortunate anachronism to the otherwise vintage appeal of the structure.

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Co-Operative Association No.2

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