Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Whaddya think?

Clearly there is an M and a W.  But why?  What's up with this?
All the other discoloration suggests there was a wall there before Scotti's.  But then, Scotti's has been there for more than 100 years.  Did they have a taller building, but shrink it down?  The cinderblock front seem out of character with neighboring structures. 
And if the MW were part of a sign, where's the rest of it?  Why do only those two letters remain?

So many questions.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Bad Angles

There's a lot going on here, and pictures don't really do the signs justice.

I'd recommend seeing them in person.
The 2600 block of Colerain Avenue.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Sun

The first time I saw this was in 2011, while I was running in the Redlegs 5K.  I went back last summer, having forgotten where exactly it was, and missed it each time I passed by.
And I think sometimes some signs disappear unless the sun is hitting them just right.
Update 4-27-13:
I had a dream last night where I ran a 5K, the first in about a year.  And I was doing fine, except when I stopped to take pictures of ghost signs.
I think I have a problem.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Next to Below Zero, and Maybe Above.

Below Zero.

Next to Below Zero.

Above it?  Hard to say.  The picture isn't the best, and in person it's unclear too.
Not enough ghost signage for you?  There's a great collection from around the web over at this Pinterest site.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Go Your Own Way

People stop me all the time and ask "what's the best way to find a ghost sign?".  Then they usually follow up by asking if I have spare change.
1.  Look up.  There are very few ghost signs painted on the ground.
2.  Go where you don't usually go. 
3.  Go when you don't usually go.
This big, obvious Powell Valves sign on Colerain in Camp Washington was invisible to me for a long time, because it faces north, and I'm usually looking at things from the south.  And there were trees making it more difficult to see from the street.
4.  No.  None of my change is spare.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mt. Auburn

As you drive north on Vine, toward Uptown, you may see this beauty, partially hidden, halfway up the hill, on the right side of the street.
I see it as an ad for Globe Furniture and Carpet.
A little history lesson on a previous entry from our friends at Digging Cincinnati History.
(D.C.H. is also where I got tipped about a ghost sign a couple of weeks ago.  See "Apologies"  April 17th, 2013.)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Previously Unnoticed

Probably because it was overshadowed by this, which was also overshadowed.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Closer Look

Long time hunters may recognize the Apex sign.  It's just off of McMicken, between Race and Elm.  It made an appearance here last year.  But, after reading Tamia Stinson's feature on ghost signs in City Beat, I thought I'd take a closer look.
That's when I found this:

On the backside of the Volunteers of America center on McMicken. 
And take note of the Gus Holthaus "signature" on the bottom of the Apex.
And take note of the Colway's Furniture under, and beneath the Apex.

A running theme here is "noticing the bloody obvious", something obviously difficult for me. 
Because not only did I miss all these details before, but I also missed a second mention in City Beat.  And, so when Visualingual mentioned our blogs getting press two weeks in a row, I had no idea what she was talking about.

I'm an idiot.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


I saw these signs on someone else's blog a couple of weeks ago, and made a note to visit them myself.  But, I've since forgotten who's blog it was, so, I can't give them props.  Sorry.

On Ludlow, across from the District Police HQ, there's a little road, Streng, which dumps into a little enclave of industrial buildings, and a couple of abandoned houses.  I kind of knew something was back there because of the Worthmore chimney, but didn't explore on my own until seeing this blog, which I've forgotten.
While you may think it's Clifton, my mapbook and the County say it's Camp Washington.

Monday, April 15, 2013

What's the Secret to Comedy?

The same secret to photography: Timing.
This was probably not the best of time day to revisit this moving and storage sign on Riverside Drive, with the placement of the sun, but it was better than waiting until this weekend.

The tree has bloomed.

The Spotlight Fades

Judging by the hit count, the media spotlight has faded, the fad is over, the bandwagoneers have moved on.  So, now we can stop pandering to the masses, and return to delivering the best faded ad art and ghost signs to the hardcore fanbase.

It's too bad the poseurs didn't stick around, because they would have seen these examples on the outside that most hipster of hipster bars, Mayday, in Northside.
Entrance in rear, indeed!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

I'm Sorry

I don't remember where I took this one.  No clue.  I thought it was from Beekman or State Street, on the west side of the Mill Valley, but I can't find confirmation on Google Earth.  It could be Camp Washington, or Queensgate, for all I remember. 
This is the problem with my stockpiling/filing system.  I offer my most sincere and humble apologies.
 (Originally posted 2-22-13)
Since I know you've been lying awake at night, wondering where in the world this is, I couldn't wait to share the good news.  It's in Camp Washington, on Colerain, just off of Alfred.  Exciting, huh?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Theme Week Continues: Marquee Style

On Main, between Central and 12th.  The old Davis Furniture

Difficult, if not impossible to see in these shots, and only slightly more visible in person, the message, I believe, touts their store credit policy.  Probably along the lines of buy here, pay here.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Happening Now...

According to Building Cincinnati, someone has plans for this building, just north of McMicken, on Mohawk. 
(The view from Carew.)

The sign says Metal Blast, but, it was the Jackson Brewery.  Why the disconnect?  What went on there after prohibition killed the brewing industry in Cincinnati?  Anyone?
And more importantly, can they be persuaded to keep the sign in place?

Marquee Style--Day Two

There's a lot going on here.  There's the sign running across the front.
There's the "Pool Room", in the lower left corner.  And just a snippet of Globe Furniture on the right.
On Elm, across from Findlay Market.
Interesting to note, in 2008, when southwest Ohio was hit by the winds of what had been Hurricane Ike, a transformer on the corner exploded, igniting the top floors of this building.  The wind spread the flames across the street to the Globe Furniture structure, and then across Elm, to the apartments overlooking the market.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Sprechen sie Deutsche?

13th and Walnut.
The edifice was recently given the touch up of plywood sheets, brightly painted to resemble doors and windows and window floor pots.
BUT, compare this photo with the Google Earth shot, and you'll soon realize when they did the makeover, they also uncovered the Germanic lettering across the top. 
We've lost a couple of signs to urban renewal lately, (see also, and also this), so it's nice to see this. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sit On It

I stockpiled photos for the winter, like a squirrel with nuts.  Knowing I wouldn't be as likely to go hunting when the weather was cold.  Most of the stockpile was used, but there were a few like this one above, of which I wanted a better picture.

Spring is here.  The hunt has resumed.  No more sitting, no more hoarding, or gathering. 
And here's the better shot.
Along Central Parkway, west of Linn.
Note the graffiti bleeding through.
(Last time I mention it, but have you picked up your copy of City Beat this week?)

Friday, April 5, 2013

UPDATED: The Cost of Fame

This was bound to happen.  I feared that with our mention in CityBeat, ghost signs would become all the rage.  And the poseurs are coming out of the woodwork.  Everyone's suddenly interested in ghost signs.  Like Mr. J. Carr, vice president of the award-winning OTR Pipe Club, shown here, posing along Liberty, between Main and Walnut. 
Yup.  The artform is about to be watered down, and those of us who truly love ghost signs will find ourselves... well, I don't know.  Ideally, looked upon as senior experts, as wise elders.  But, more likely dismayed, not unlike original fans of Star Wars were when a new generation of "fans" embraced the three "prequels". 
But, that aside, according to the Internet, Don's is closed.  Or not.  It's not quite clear.  However, on the front of the building, there used to be more advertising.  (I say "used to", because Google Streetview clearly shows the camshaft art, but I can't recall seeing them.  Investigating this afternoon.  Watch for updates.)
And, the red building on the left has a ghost too.

Albeit one I am hoping to get a better shot of, someday.

It is with mixed feelings I say this is all that is left of Don's signage.  Mixed because it's too bad we lost those beautiful camshafts, and it's good that I'm not so oblivious that I never noticed them before.

And as promised, a better angle on the neighbor.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Downside of Urban Renewal

This one is really easy to miss, because it's been carved out, for patios. 
On 13th, between Vine and Race

And did I mention we were mentioned in City Beat?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Sycamore, between 8th and 9th. 

Dunno about you, but I see "SHOE".
This is also the sign referred to as "How I missed it, I don't know!" in this article by CityBeat.