Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Hats, Shoes and Overalls

Hats and shoes have always been staples of the St. Louis economy. Indeed, the old expression about the St. Louis Browns was, “First in shoes, first in booze, and last in the American League.” What is now The Washington Avenue Historic District, commonly called “the Loft District”—an area bounded by Delmar Avenue to the north, […]

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Weisert Tobacco Co.

There was a time when Tobacco Road ran through St. Louis. Toward the end of the 19th century, St. Louis was the largest processor of pipe and chewing tobacco in the United States. According to an industry periodical, Connorton’s Tobacco Brand Directory of the United States, St. Louis was number one in tobacco-producing cities for […]

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Lonnie Tettaton Walldog

Lonnie Tettaton is the maestro of wall signs in St. Louis, whether that sign is done from scratch, using either client’s or his own design, or it is one to be carefully “touched up”such as the historic Bull Durham Tobacco sign in downtown Collinsville, Illinois. Every journeyman signpainter has a helper, and Lonnie started his […]

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Walldogs

“They were extremely fast with these big walls, but then many did nothing but walls. They had tricks the younger people hadn’t picked up.” —Gus Holthaus, signpainter, Cincinnati They were a rugged, resourceful lot with a dedication to the craft bordering on monomania  They painted signs on walls, great and small, and they worked like […]

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Then and Now

Fletcher’s Castoria  Midtown St. Louis 1987 Suddenly exposed through demolition of an adjoining building, this old sign appeared on the side of the old Grand-Olive Market. Here is a classic example of a commercial double-exposure or palimpsest, Fletcher’s Castoria painted over an earlier ad for Quaker Oats. The slogan “The Kind You Have Always Bought” […]

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Some Thoughts On Ghost Signs

SOME PEOPLE REFER TO ALMOST ANY AGING WALL SIGN AS A “GHOST.” IN MY WORLD THERE ARE WALL SIGNS AND THEN THERE ARE GHOST SIGNS. GHOST SIGNS ARE SHROUDED WITH INTRIGUE. FADED TO THE POINT OF ILLEGIBILITY, THEY LINGER ON OLD BUILDINGS, ECHOING THE ROBUST COMMERCE OF TIMES PAST. GHOST SIGNS MAY BECOME HIGHLIGHTED UNDER […]

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Coffee and Tea

Blanke’s Faust Blend Coffee Dr. M. L. King Avenue – Wellston 1981 A long-discontinued local brand, Blanke’s is one of my favorite signs, partly because of the literary reference to Goethe’s famous work, Faust, a tragic play in two parts. The storyline has Mephistopheles, a devil, tempting Dr. Faust with 24 additional years of life […]

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Sunny Brook Whiskey

There are prominent Sunny Brook Whiskey signs on either side of the river at St. Louis, both of them quite dated and both painted on the sides of large red, brick buildings. The Old Sunny Brook Distillery Company, based in Louisville, Kentucky, produced Kentucky Straight Bourbon and Kentucky Blended Whiskey. On the Missouri side is […]

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Notorious Wall Sign In St. Louis

As a political protest, it has gotten more attention than a park full of Occupy protesters. It amuses. It polarizes. It sparks debate. It is an embarrassment to some and an indictment to others. It has made the front page of both the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and The St. Louis Daily Record. It has pitted […]

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North Grand Circle

Grand Avenue is one of the longest streets in St. Louis, a north-south thoroughfare with a median near Saint Louis University where the numbers start in the single digits and begin to climb in either direction. North Grand Circle, close to its terminus at Interstate 70, is a roundabout with a large, white Corinthian column […]

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