Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Vintage Roadside pitches in to help save the Crown Motel sign

We here at Vintage Roadside have an undeniable passion for classic signs and their preservation - and an undeniable weakness for neon! We're continually impressed by the individual artistry, imagination, and talent that went into creating these singular works of art intended to catch the traveler's eye and imagination.

When we received word from our friends at the Mid-Century Modern League in Portland, Oregon that the Crown Motel, a classic 1959 motel located on Interstate Avenue, was going to be razed, our first question was, "What about the sign?"

The Crown Motel sign is a wonderful example of the golden age of sign making. Oftentimes, business owners didn't pick a sign ready-made out of a catalog, but had one created specifically to represent the business...and in some cases, the owner's very particular brand of whimsy.

The Crown Motel sign certainly ranks up there with the best, combining a giant sword lit with flashing bulbs, a crown outlined with green neon, and a 33' tower with backlit plastic letters.

Through the efforts of numerous groups and individuals, a solution was reached this March that enabled the Crown Motel's impressive sign to be preserved. The first phase (removal) has now been successfully completed and the sign is currently in the capable hands of Ramsey Signs - a local company that's been taking care of Portland's sign needs since 1911. The next step is to finalize a new location and begin restoration.

The Crown is safely lowered to the trailer. (Above)

A worker preps the large section for removal. (Above)

Three cranes were required to safely lift the central section of the sign. (Above)

The large section has now been removed from the lot. (Above)

Slowly lowering the sign. (Above)

Recently these classic signs have begun to receive the attention they deserve. However, like many of the landmarks of the American roadside, we are losing these wonderful icons on a daily basis. If you know of a sign in danger of being removed, destroyed, or that needs a new home in order to survive, let us know. We're always happy to offer thoughts and ideas!

No comments: