Saturday, January 26, 2008

Vintage Roadside rediscovers the Kupie Cone sign

Fans of Southeast Portland's neon signs and neighborhood mom and pop restaurants were sad to see the Kupie Cone restaurant lost to development a couple of years back. While many of us still miss the great neighborhood drive in hamburgers and soft serve ice cream, what many more of us miss is the classic neon sign standing at the corner of SE 39th and Holgate. There was initial thought that the sign would remain when the new building went up, but as development began the sign simply disappeared. Then there was the hope that perhaps the sign had been taken down for preservation reasons and when the construction was finished the sign would be reinstalled. Unfortunately this was not to be the case. For the past few years we've had many conversations with people who fondly remember the Kupie Cone and its wonderful sign. The conversation usually ends with the question of "What happened to the sign?"

We also wondered what happened to the sign and still looked for it every time we drove by - hoping it had somehow magically reappeared. When we heard a vague rumor the sign may still be out there we decided to track it down. We were thrilled to discover the sign still exists and has been partially restored. As you can see in the photo above the neon on one side has been restored and the sign still looks great! Details of why the sign was not placed back at 39th and Holgate along with how the sign came to be where it is now are somewhat murky. We'd prefer to just enjoy the fact that someone who cared about the sign made the effort to save it. From all of us who love this sign - Thanks!

As for the former location, we're left with the words "Kupie Corner" in backlit plastic letters. Being fans of classic neon signs we'd sure prefer to have seen the old sign lighting up the corner for another 40 years or so.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Pixieland t-shirt at Vintage Roadside

We wanted to say thanks to everyone who came by the Vintage Roadside booth this weekend to say hello (and add to their Vintage Roadside t-shirt collection:-). It was great seeing friends and meeting new (to us) fans of the American roadside and all things Mom and Pop. We had a blast!

We had loads of people stop by to talk about our Pixieland t-shirt and to share memories of all things Pixieland. We again wanted to say thanks to all who stopped by for a visit. If you'd like to check out our Pixieland shirt and read the history we've put together, the link below will take you to the Pixieland page at the Vintage Roadside Gift Shop. We also have an image of the Darigold Cheese Cave along with a scan of an official Pixieland souvenir patch (still in the original packaging). We're always looking to add to our histories, so if you have any memories or snapshots of Pixieland we'd love to hear from you.

Pixieland at Vintage Roadside

We'll be up in Puyallup February 1st - 3rd. If you're near the Seattle area, and plan on attending the Antique & Collectible Show, stop by the booth and say hello.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Come see Vintage Roadside this weekend!

We wanted to invite our Vintage Roadside friends in the Portland and Vancouver area to come out to the Clark County Antique and Collectible show this weekend. We'll be there with all your favorite Vintage Roadside T-shirts along with a brand new Route 66 Motor Court design. We'll also be debuting our line of hand printed photos created from vintage, original negatives. The show runs Friday through Sunday with Friday being early admission day. These shows are always a great chance to pick up something cool - old & new!


"World's Largest Antique & Collectible Show"
480 booths, 3 exhibit halls


Friday 10 am - 6 pm
Saturday 9 am - 6 pm
Sunday 10 am - 5 pm


Clark County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall
I-5 Exit 9
West on 179th Street to parking area

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Vintage Roadside spends the day with a few giants of the American roadside

We recently had an opportunity to get to see two icons of roadside advertising up close - the wonderful, orange Union 76 Ball and the lighted, rotating Kentucky Fried Chicken Bucket. It was a great chance to see these two wonders that are usually 20 feet above your head.

The Union 76 Balls are being replaced by either flat panel signs, or in a select few cases, a new red ball. Unocal is now owned by parent company Conoco and in an effort to re-brand their gas stations they have been removing the signs that many remember fondly. It was interesting to discover just how fragile these signs are. There is a pole running up the middle of each ball which houses the lights and rotating motor however the outer "shell" is so flexible that if the ball is tipped or pushed the sign crumples. The balls are roughly 8 feet in diameter. The two pictured below were located in a secure area and were being disposed of as per Conoco's directions.

The KFC Bucket below was also quite interesting to see up close. We had no idea how complex the sign would be nor how heavy! For starters the bucket weighs in at roughly 800 pounds. The sign also has a fairly intricate series of braces, lighting, wiring, and a very heavy electric motor that enabled the bucket to rotate atop the pole. The sign is also almost 8 feet across at the top and 6 feet across the bottom. As you can see by the pickup in the photo the bucket is huge!

We hope you enjoyed seeing a couple different views of these wonderful signs and that the next time you walk or drive underneath one you have a little better idea of just what's going on up there.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Zippy the Pinhead visits the Vintage Roadside Burger Family

We were honored to play host to Zippy the Pinhead today as he visited with the Vintage Roadside A&W Burger Family. Everyone got along wonderfully and we wish Zippy all the best as he roams across the country looking for the next great roadside wonder. Come back again anytime!

More great Zippy roadside themed strips can be found at the internet home of Zippy by clicking here.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New goodies soon at Vintage Roadside!

We're working overtime here at Vintage Roadside to launch a new section in our gift shop - our Historic Photograph department! Our first three images will include two early 1940s Tourist Courts formerly located in Texas and a 1950 image of a California drive in theatre marquee taken shortly after construction. Each hand produced print comes from the Vintage Roadside negative collection.

Striving to retain the feel and artistry of these wonderful images we have commissioned a local photographer with over 50 years experience to produce these prints. Rather than create digital prints, we felt it was appropriate that photographs of this era be reproduced using traditional dark room techniques. Each hand made silver/gelatin photograph is produced from the original negative, using the same printing (enlarging) techniques and processes used by the original photographers. The prints are mounted on high quality, acid-free mounting board and mats, and are designed to fit any standard 8"x 10" frame.

We are thrilled with the results and look forward to sharing these works of photographic art with those who not only appreciate American roadside history but also fine photography. It's wonderful to see these images again for the first time in 50+ years!

Look for this department to be open at the Vintage Roadside Gift Shop in the next 7 days.