Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Most Unusual Ghost Sign

Most ghost signs I've seen have big block letters, making them easy to read at a distance.

But this one, in downtown Furniture City, for a furniture company, has a stylized font.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Surplus Office Furniture,
Downtown Grand Rapids

We said earlier that we found enough ghost signs here to fill up the month of July.
Truth be told, the GR feature will likely continue well into August.
It's really a fantastic place for ghost sign hunting.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Rubbers & Toys

Yes, we do believe that says "Rubbers", which is more interesting the more you look at the other sides of this building.

But first...

Experience has taught us to look at different sides of a structure.  
If there's one ghost sign, there may be others.

Wait a sec.  Zoom in.  On the side, the building advertises rubbers, but on the back...

Yes, toys.
Oh, Grand Rapids.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Our assistant in Grand Rapids, Miss A. Birky was particularly enamored with this one, blocked by the solid wall of a parking garage.

And if you look closely, there's a couple more signs farther back.

At least they're protected from the elements, and when that parking garage comes down, they'll still be there.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New Over Old

As mentioned yesterday, there are a lot of new buildings in downtown Grand Rapids, and some of the ghost signs suffer for it.

Another example tomorrow.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Downtown Furniture City

For the rest of the month of July, our ghost signs will be from Downtown Grand Rapids.

We were amazed at how many signs we found, especially considering how many new buildings are there.  But, the City has kept many of the old structures in place, and in shape.
Quite frankly, it was also one of the cleanest downtowns we'd ever seen, but that should hardly be surprising.
As clean and new as everything looked, it also seemed nigh deserted.  Over the lunch hour, as we conducted our survey, there was hardly anyone out on the streets.  One might almost call this haven of ghost signs, a ghost town.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Foreground and Background

In the foreground, you see the Imperial Metal Products sign.  They are still in business, so technically, this does not qualify as a ghost sign.
In the background, there is downtown Grand Rapids.
Next week, our little tour moves into the heart of the city, and ooh boy, have we got some good ones for you.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

She's Got Eyes

While we were looking up for ghost signs on a walking tour of Grand Rapids, our niece, Miss A. Birky, found this at street level.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Little Italian

In Grand Rapids, again.  We think it's safe to assume the rest of July will feature photos from GR.

And what a facade.  The Bono Building is also home to a karate studio.  You might be able to see the signs in the top floor windows.

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Fresh Pair of Eyes

While on holiday in Michigan, we took our niece into Grand Rapids to join the hunt, as she has shown an interest in ghost signs in the past.  Not only did Ms. A. Birky seem to enjoy the search, but she also spotted several signs first, including this one.

Friday, July 11, 2014

A Maybe, and a No

The discolorization around this billboard makes us thing there's probably a ghost sign beneath it.  

Possibly even still legible.

The Kuzzins Lounge appears to be shuttered, but what caught our eye was the rest of the building.  It likely used to be an old theater.  Hard to see, but there are commedia dell'arte-style masks above the main entrance.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Still in Biz

PF Supply Services, in Grand Rapids, is still in business, although they have a new building nearby, and it doesn't look like they use this much.

However, on the front, we see more of the history of the building, with Kozak Studios.
We had no idea Grand Rapids' nickname was Furniture City, until now.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

West Leonard

There's a neighborhood in Grand Rapids, Michigan, called West Leonard.
It has a few classics like this.

And several tattoo parlors.
De Groot sounds very Dutch, many of whom settled in the region.

Monday, July 7, 2014


Back from vacation, with a treasure trove of ghost signs from Michigan.

Our first offering comes from Hastings*, Michigan.  The only surviving ghost sign, Fellows Hardware, in a downtown that likely had more than a few.  But, urban renewal has led to lots of painting, likely covering up other examples.

*We have several other ghost signs from another Hastings, in Nebraska.  We've lumped this one in under the same tag, just to confuse you.