A few months ago I posted a story on the fading wall signs I see on old buildings as I ride my bicycle across the city of Detroit. In that story I described the stylish art deco lettering, pastel colors, and intriguing graphics that were in favor at the time they were painted many years ago. I also pointed out how remarkable it was that they survived decades of foul weather and blistering sunlight. Although many are now faded, some to the point of being unreadable, others still survive and are remarkably clear and intact. Considering the harsh seasonal elements the outdoor art has been exposed to, it is incredible that so many of the vintage signs have endured over time.
This is a second in an ongoing series of occasional posts on fading wall signs in Detroit. As I wrote in the earlier post, most of the decorative faded advertising signs can be found on buildings constructed in the late 1800s through the early 1930s. They are usually painted on the upper level of a brick building two stories or taller. Many of the older ads have been hidden for years by adjoining structures that were constructed next to the buildings they were painted on. When the neighboring buildings were knocked down, the ornate vintage ads have come into full view.
Here are a few more faders I spotted on my rides throughout the city. I’m especially fond of those featuring illustrations such as the one with the boy. Sadly, as the city evolves and more and more of the older structures are town down, the classic hand-painted illustrations and unique lettered wall signs used in the early days of Detroit advertising will eventually be lost.
You can read other entries on Detroit’s fading signs by clicking on the headline below.