Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ghost Signs on Cleveland Buildings

Nice article by Marcia Pledger in this morning's Plain Dealer about old signs on the sides of buildings, harking back to Cleveland's industrial heritage. They are called "ghost signs" and I see at least a couple in Cleveland Memory, such as this great one about Eliot Ness.

We'll have to consider this as a category to add to Cleveland Memory.

That said, there is an organization interested in such signs, called the Society for Commercial Archeology and there's also various Flickr groups about ghost signs.

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At 11:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where's the Elliot Ness sign? People have always asked about it, I've never been able to locate it in Cleveland...
Any ideas?

At 6:21 PM, Blogger Bill Barrow said...

Here's what I wrote on my Facebook page back in October, as part of a discussion going on there and on Christopher Busta-Peck's sites. I said at the time:

I see in Flickr that someone's asked that same question, but provided an image taken from a Sixties-era slide that shows the sign to have been in much better condition (, leading me to believe that this picture is more recent.

We have a black-and-white shot in Cleveland Memory that looks like the color Flickr shot, saying the sign was still up in 1979 (,99). But the color tone of this picture seems old, so it's hard to say.

I see a web site locating a Ness for Mayor ghost sign at E. 36th and Cedar in 1974, but there's no such building visible there now, using Bing Maps.

The Plain Dealer ran a scavenger hunt for 41 landmarks in 1983 and this was one, confirming the E. 36th and Cedar location, but I'm not finding any further word on its fate.

Speaking just now to one of the winners of that 1983 contest, he said it was on the south side of Cedar at 36th, so it's gone.


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