Signs of the Times - July 2016 - (Page 72)
RETURNS TO GLORY
A pair of sign-restoration case studies
By Steve Aust
ime marches on, progress must
progress, change is inevitable, et
cetera, et cetera. Our memory
banks are filled with clichés that
affirm the belief that our world
constantly evolves, and we must
However, I'd also retort, "If you
don't know where you've been,
you don't know where you're
going." Any city, state or other
organization that bulldozes its
entire history risks leaving its
residents or employees without
a sense of place that provides a
deeper appreciation and understanding.
This is why I'm always heartened
to read about historic-sign restorations. If you surveyed the general
population (sadly, most decisionmakers don't), most would probably wish to see a historically
significant site - and its signage
- returned to their former state of
grace, even if the sign(s) must be
transported from its original home
With this in mind, I'm happy to
present a pair of such sign restorations. Oklahoma City-based GS
Sign Services refurbished the former neon sign that identified that
town's Taft Stadium, and Sanford,
FL-based AMPRO produced the
sign program for Sanford's Wayne
Densch Performing Arts Center,
which was built in 1923 as the
Milane Theater, as part of a massive renovation.
You can't change the past, but
it can inform and enrich your
present and future if you're willing
to listen. Take note of the stories
these signs tell.
72 SIGNS OF THE TIMES July 2016
Reliving the roar
Built in 1934 as a Works Progress
Administration project under
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal, Oklahoma City's
Taft Stadium served as the host
venue to countless high-school
football games and stock-car races.
Whether they were passionate
cheers of football fans clad in
school colors or the high-octane
engines of the cars that competed
there, roars were the defining
sounds emanating from the arena.
A double-sided, neon-lit sign identified the facility and conveyed
upcoming events. And, because its
location at 23rd St. and May Ave.
abuts Route 66, the sign enhances the
Mother Road's historic distinction.
As decades passed, Taft Stadium
showed its age. During a late '90s
renovation, the iconic sign was
taken down. Leon Wilson, a local
sign enthusiast, heard about the
sign's dismantling, and rushed to
save it. One side of the sign was
beyond repair, but he arranged to
save the other half and transported
it to his property.
Wilson eventually sold the sign a
few years later, and its current owner
(who wishes to remain anonymous)
contacted Jim Gleason, president
of GS Sign Services and vice
president of the Billboard Museum
Assn., about restoring the sign.
Gleason agreed to split the restoration costs with the sign's owner.
"The sign's paint was peeling,
all the marquee letters needed
repainting, the body was rusty
and most neon tubing was gone,"
Gleason said. "Thankfully, there
was just enough exterior neon left
to create patterns, and the interior
neon tubing was still inside."
Even transporting the sign
from Wilson's warehouse to GS'
building proved challenging. The
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - July 2016
Signs of the Times - July 2016
Columns & Departments
Integrating High-End Effects in Your Design
Technology Review - Computerized Cutters’ Accu-Form
Technology Review - Cyrious software
Signs that Invite
Horseshoe-Shaped Window Graphics
State of the Industry
Returns to Glory
Enter ST’s Vehicle Graphics Contest
Signs of the Times - July 2016