“Ghost signs” are old painted signs that stay up on old buildings long after the businesses they describe are gone — and reader Andrea Leksen thinks they’re pretty neat.
Andrea is a type designer and a design professor at Cornish College of the Arts who finds a lot of inspiration in the typefaces around our city. The first font she ever sold, in fact, was based on the inscription on an old building in SoDo.
Last month, Andrea took her typography class on a walk to check out interesting type around Capitol Hill. On the way, she pointed out a few ghost signs to her students.
“When you look up,” she said, “you start seeing a lot of history.”
Next time you’re out in Capitol Hill, keep your eyes peeled for these…
» The H.W. Baker Linen Co. sign (pictured above). It’s on the side of the 106-year-old Baker Linen Building at 1101 E. Pike St. and it’s one of Andrea’s favorites. “You can still make out a lot of detail,” she said. The linen company was there from 1953 to 1983.
» The Hartford Glass Company sign. It’s at 911 E. Pike St., on the side of a tall building that dates back to 1908.
» The backwards Oldsmobile logo sign. That’s the best way Andrea and her students could describe the mysterious ghost sign on 12th Avenue across from Pacific Supply Company. The area used to be full of auto showrooms in the 1920s.
» The J.W. Service Station sign. That might not be exactly what the sign on 11th Avenue near Pike Street says, but hey — faded signs are hard to read. This one’s also partly covered with street art.
Seen any other ghost signs around your city? Grab a pic and tag us with #theevergrey.