Provo, Utah – September 2022 – Signs, Signs Everywhere There’s Signs

Like most cities Provo, Utah has a sign ordnance dictating the size and placements of advertising signs. Fortunately the Lakeside Storage Facility is either not in the city of Provo, or has an exemption as they have an amazing collection of petroliana (items relating to the gasoline industry).

We happened upon this place just after they opened their office for the day. The young lady in the office said that we could walk around all we like!

But it is not just signs they have….

There are multiple small airplanes on top of the storage units.

Most of the signs date from the 1940s through the 1970s, in various states of condition.

A few old cars and trucks are included in the collection.

They have another area across the road with more signs, but it was under construction and off limits. Still – who can resist Elvis and Marilyn on a flatbed truck outside the gate.

The Lakeside Storage and Sign Museum on the west side of Provo, Utah is one of those funky places that is a must for me!

Sonoita, Arizona – August 2022 – Empire Ranch

In the high grasslands of Southern Arizona lies the Empire Ranch. This ranch at it’s largest covered 180 square miles, larger than the city of Philadelphia. While there are still some cattle still on the land, it is mostly a nature preserve.

Located between the Whetstone Mountains and the Santa Rita Mountains, the land lies at 5000′ in elevation, providing enough rain for the grassy fields to support the cattle.

In addition the Cienega Creek runs through the ranch, providing nearly year round water.

It is not normally this green, Southern Arizona has had an active monsoon season, and everything now is very green.

The original homestead is maintained by a non profit group called the Empire Ranch Foundation. Among other things they maintain the house, and additional buildings.

The home, as well as most of the buildings, is built out of adobe and wood. Many have had a skim of stucco added later.

Inside the ranch house, and attached other buildings, there is a collection of items from when the ranch was active including a butter churn, cowboy spurs and other items.

This view shows evidence of the original adobe walls.

With the green grass, and the old outbuildings, it felt as though you were in the midwest, as long as you ignored the 7000′ to 9000′ mountains in the distance.

This structure is known as the saddle drying barn.

One final look at another of the old adobe buildings before we head off to the next adventure….

Tucson – August 2022 – Ignite Sign Art Museum

In a non descript building in a non descript light industrial area of Tucson you will find a collection that will light up your day, the Ignite Sign Art Museum.

The museum is owned by Jude and Monica Cook, who have had a local sign company for over 40 years. They have amassed a great collection of historic signs from Tucson and beyond.

Outside is a collection of larger signs.

Inside is where the collection really shines.

In the back of the museum they offer neon making demonstrations.

The Ignite Sign Art Museum is well worth the stop.

Boise, Idaho – May 2022 – Old Idaho State Penitentiary

A cold, wet Memorial Day in Boise with little to do lead us to one of the few things in town open that day – the Old Idaho State Penitentiary. I am not sure why, but we have visited a number of these type of places over the years.

This complex is quite small, likely due to the small population of the state over the years.

Some of the buildings didn’t even have roofs.

The facility housed men, women and youth in the same complex, but in different buildings. This is the youth section

Springfield, Illinois – April 2022 – A Brief Stop in Lincoln Town

A recent road trip to Chicago and back meant the need to have a few brief hour or two stops in various places. The first stop on the way west was Springfield, Illinois.

Springfield is the state capital, as well as the home of Abraham Lincoln (one of many towns in the country that make that claim).

Dayton, Ohio – April 2021 – Historic Buildings

The National Historic Registry shows more than 100 buildings in Dayton on their list. These include:

The Benjamin Kuhns Building. Opened in 1883, the Kuhns Building is in the Romanesque Revival style.

ATT Building – While not on the historic registry, the ATT building is in the classic Art Deco design.

Old Post Office and Federal Building – Construction on this building started in 1912, and it was still under construction during the great flood of 1913. It was finally opened in 1915.

It remained the main post office until 1969, and the Federal Court until 1975.

Dayton Daily News Building -(foreground) and Sacred Heart Church (rear) – Legend has it that the founder of the Dayton Daily News (James Cox) was turned down for a loan by a local banker, he told an architect to ‘build me a damn bank’, so the newspaper office was modeled after the Knickerbocker Trust building in New York City.

It was completed in 1910, expanded in 1920s, 1950s and 1970s, and abandoned in the 2007. The newer sections have been torn down, leaving only the 1910 portion.

The Commercial Building – Completed in 1908 next door to the Dayton Arcade, it was designed by Albert Pretzinger who is known as the greatest architect in Dayton history. It is being restored as apartments.

Dayton Arcade – Completed in 1902, the Dayton Arcade is an ornate complex of buildings topped by a glass domed rotunda 70′ high. It is said to be patterned after a guild hall in Amsterdam. It has been disused for a couple of decades, but new proposals are being put forth to restore it.

Below is a view of the interior and dome as it looked when it was first opened in 1902. The building consisted of two floors of commercial businesses, and two floors of apartments.

The Conover Building – A mish mash of styles and construction materials, the Conover was modified over the years, as evidence from the 1903 photo from Shorpy below.

American Building – One could argue that only the fa├žade of this building is on the registry, as it was moved from a historic building to this building after the other was demolished.

Engineers Club of Dayton – Dating from 1918, this building was dedicated in a ceremony that included the reclusive Orville Wright speaking.

Dayton Memorial Hall – This William Earl Russ designed hall was opened in 1910. It is constructed of a brick exterior, ceramic tile roof, and highlighted by terra cotta and stone.

Easily one of the oldest buildings in Ohio is the Victoria Theater, dating from 1866. It burned in 1871, and was rebuilt and re-opened in 1885.

Another building that is not on the registry but should be is the Miami Conservancy District. Named after the nearby Miami River, the conservancy was founded after the disastrous 1913 flood.

And with that our day in Dayton is done.

Urbana, Ohio – October 2020 – Random Views of Champaign County and beyond

Todays road trip through the country takes us to the town of Urbana, county seat of Champaign County. Full disclosure – some of the photos are likely from border counties as I was on country roads without county line markers.

Each little town seemed to have a commercial block of 100 year old buildings, this one with a restored clock tower.

Talk about a barn find for the Ohio countryside – an old Mercedes with late 1980s license plates!

An abandoned school in a crossroads town.

This stylish little building was in the small town of Mechanicsburg.

Normally ‘Quilt Barns’ are much larger than this, but the contrast of the farm implements added to the look of this one.

Not too many farms date from 1814 in Ohio.

Eventually I reached the town of Urbana. As with most county seats it seemed to have the best collection of buildings in the area. Some nicely restored, some not so much, it was worth the stop.

The Hotel Sowles dates from around 1800, it is said to have hosted every Ohio governor from the beginning of the state until 1900. A community effort resulted in this great old building being restored.

This former bank in an Art Deco look is now a law office.

The Perpetual Federal Savings and Loan has been located in Urbana for 140 years. The building is generally designed in a Roman Corinthian style, but with classical touches. A true midwest building it is built out of Minnesota granite and Indiana limestone situated in a small Ohio town.

Personally I think the Yellow Mini sets it off nicely.

This classic Gulf Gas Station from the 1970s is still in use as an auto repair shop.

The local airport is home to a small museum where they are restoring a B-17.

This small theater started life in 1904, However in the 1930s it was destroyed in a fire, and was rebuilt in 1941 – hence the Art Deco look.

It is currently undergoing restoration.

Urbana has a number of great ghost signs.

This vacant, decaying building once housed a company that provided galvanized iron for railroad use.

Just across the street is the former train station, now a coffee shop. This station served the Pennsylvania Railroad for many decades.

Our time in Urbana is over, time to move on.