The Sands sign is gone. Not by atomic blast, at least, but it's gone.

How do I know? I get mailings from the Society for Commercial Archeology, a marvelous group devoted to saving, or at least remembering, the signs, storefronts, cafes, motels, and other such remainders of the 20th century. There’s a Sign News feature which tells you what’s been restored, removed, or demolished.

“Eldon, MS. Randles Court sign demolished by a tornado.”

Well, let’s have a look.

Not the greatest loss, but a loss nonetheless.

Look next door:

That was then. Now:

The twister took it.

I'll bet the town feels the loss quite deeply,


Elsewhere: the newsletter said Claxton GA was losing the Mrs. Rogers restaurant sign. I called it up on Google and tried to find it. It would be easy to punch in the address, but I wanted to stumble across it.

As soon as I entered town, I founn a sad old motel - at least it was a motel, once.

Piece of cake to find out the details.
But the picture I had on screen was from a year or two ago. The Google cars make constant passes now. Current view:
And so no more.

The search for local motels turned up this:

The Miami! Let’s find it. Let’s pretend we didn’t have a map, and just cruise around until it presents itself.

Found the restaurant easily enough.

The thrill is gone, let's just say.

As for the hotel:

From above:
The signage speaks to a distinct decline in roadside advertising.

I don’t know why these things - old motels - give me such a bittersweet pang. It’s the old memories of childhood trips, as well as my prowl though the south looking for a good cheap place on the edge of town. It’s the stories of the owners, perhaps, staking it all, building something, putting in a pool, feeling pride as well as constant overwork. Mostly, though, it’s for an era that had a quality I’ve probably invented or exaggerated. I love the modernism of the era, the cheerfulness of the American vernacular, the optimism, and yes the BREAK WITH EVERYTHING idea - because here, it worked, it fit, and it was fun.

The 30s modernism was more radical, and less individualistic. I still love it, but it was too much Things to Come, too regimented and perfect with a whiff of The Masses, Enlightened by Experts. The 50s and 60s modernism was more Stuff to Have and Do and Eat.

I found Mrs. Rogers:

Something everyone in town knew, something most of them grew up seeing, something the oldest might have recalled going up. Then it closed, and then the sign was gone.

Is it necessary to remember? No. Is it important to remember? Depends. Is it wise and good to remember? I think so.

More signs at this marvelous blog, which links to other marvelous blogs.