USA


Peter Vogel runs the Nutmegger Workshop in Texas, and specialises in vintage and faux aged signs. Back in 2014 he sent me this collection of pictures of a genuine Coca-Cola ghostsign “trapped within a vestibule behind and between” the Witherspoon Building and its neighbour in […]

Hidden Coca-Cola Ghostsign in Portland’s Witherspoon Building



Dr Ken Jones has been doing an incredible job documenting the ghostsigns of America via his American Ghosts project. Not only does this involve detailed photographic documentation (see previous post on his process), but also pinning ghostsigns onto an ever-growing map. This now pinpoints thousands […]

Ken Jones’ Butte Palimpsests



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When did old painted signs on walls become known as ‘ghost’ signs, and who coined the phrase? These questions crop up often in my discussions with others, and on my tours, and I always have to hold my hand up and say I didn’t invent […]

Tracing the Origins of ‘Ghost’ Signs





Joe Thompson emailed me these fascinating photos of lettering on unusual objects, namely a dead whale (1919) and a shipwrecked oil tanker (1926). They are from San Francisco, recently donated to the Western Neighbourhoods Project. Read more about the photos and the project on SF […]

Writing on the Whale and Other Novelties





Painted sign on a wall advertising 'Hospital for Horses and Dogs'
Here is a new (to me at least) approach to respecting ghostsigns while undertaking building renovations/property development. The host wall of this sign in Washington DC has been painted, with a careful distance left around the surviving lettering for this veterinary hospital. It could well […]

Skirting the Edges of a Ghostsign in Washington DC


Cover of the book Fading Ads of St. Louis by Wm. Stage
This stunning photograph is from the cover of Wm. Stage‘s latest addition to the ghostsigns literature, ‘Fading Ads of St. Louis‘. Stage’s first book, ‘Ghost Signs‘, remains the definitive text on the topic and so it is no surprise to find his latest work full […]

Fading Ads of St. Louis by Wm. Stage


RE Ringer General Merchandise store front
In an effort to save this fading and rusting shop front, Beth and Tony Walls moved the entire building 150ft to allow for a highway widening project. Martin Garfinkel of Roadside Gallery has captured it beautifully in this fine art print, available to buy here. […]

Moving Walls to Save a Ghostsign



Clipping from Letterheads magazine showing Coca-Cola ghostsign in negative 2
Following the talk at St Bride, a chain of events led to Ash at Brilliant Signs, via Stewart at McLaren Signs, sending me a copy of Letterheads Magazine from 1998. I’d expressed an interest because of the big centre spread showing lots of ghostsigns. However, […]

Mirrored Ghostsign from Portland, Oregon


Fading painted advertisement on wall alongside piece of street art 6
Kasey Smith’s ‘Perception Filter‘ blog is well worth a follow for all ghostsigns enthusiasts. Her dispatches from San Francisco have been a big influence on me, as evidenced by the number of times I’ve decided to highlight her observations, insights, investigations and mapping efforts here on […]

Anarchy on the Walls: Ghostsigns, Street Art & Graffiti


Cover of Fading Ads of Birmingham book by Charles Buchanan and Jonathan Purvis 2
Birmingham, Alabama, is the location for this addition to the ghostsigns literature from resident advertising expert and artist Charles Buchanan. For a city founded as recently as 1871 there is a rich history found on its walls, one that Buchanan has diligently researched and which […]

Fading Ads of Birmingham by Charles Buchanan and Jonathan Purvis