Category: Mail Pouch Tobacco

2017 in Review: Photos of Great Ghost Ads Seen in My Travels

2017 in Review: Photos of Great Ghost Ads Seen in My Travels

My love for the ghost ads of yesteryear is strong. While out and about in 2017, I saw some excellent examples: 

Mail Pouch Tobacco – Point Pleasant, West Virginia

Mail Pouch Tobacco – Point Pleasant, West Virginia

Mail Pouch Tobacco – Layton, New Jersey

Mail Pouch Tobacco – Grafton, West Virginia

Mail Pouch Tobacco – Beacon, New York

Battle Ax Plug Tobacco – Pomeroy, Ohio

Cubanola – Radford, Virginia

Bloch Brothers Tobacco | Rohrbaugh & Co. Furniture & Undertaking – Buckhannon, West Virginia

Mail Pouch Tobacco  | Golden Rule Department Store – Belington, West Virginia

Bull Durham – Buena Vista, Virginia

Uneeda Biscuit – Poughkeepsie, New York

Sloan’s Linament for Rheumatism – Grafton, West Virginia

Uneeda Biscuit | Gold Medal Flour – Troy, New York

Coca-Cola – Orange, Virginia

Wine of Cardui & Cubanola – Radford, Virginia

Mail Pouch Tobacco | Coca Cola – Renovo, Pennsylvania

Mail Pouch Tobacco – Mill Hall, Pennsylvania


2017 in Review Round-Ups

The Mail Pouch Tobacco Ad of Grafton, West Virginia

The Mail Pouch Tobacco Ad of Grafton, West Virginia

One of my favorite Mail Pouch Tobacco wall ads is in downtown Grafton, West Virginia. There is so much going on, it is a feast for the eyes.

Is it just me or is that gentle gradient on the Pianos & Organs part especially lovely? The whole thing feels like a time capsule.

Hunting Ghosts: Mail Pouch, Uneeda Biscuit and the Circle Dot

Hunting Ghosts: Mail Pouch, Uneeda Biscuit and the Circle Dot

On Sunday I stopped by to take a peek at the Mail Pouch Tobacco ghost ad on East Main in Beacon, NY.

Though I’d been to Beacon before, I never saw the sign. It has a serious fade going. As best as I can tell the slogan call outs are “Sweet Chew” (I think) and “Cool Sweet Smoke.” Cool sweet smoke sounds… well, cool. Except for that whole, I actually think smoking is disgusting thing.

Beacon is a lovely, walkable little town. There are art pieces peppered about which I love. But with the summer heat burning away, I didn’t linger to walk around in my riding gear. I couldn’t resist the hammer figure when I saw it, though.

Executive Action – Edward Benavente

Kenny says that’s a lady butt. I think it’s a dude butt. What say you?

Horseshoes – Peter Schlemowitz

Not far north of Beacon, I pulled in to a gas station to fill up and grab a drink. When I walked outside, I saw a former Phillips 66 batwing station across the street. I’d seen one last year while I was in Vinita, Oklahoma but I can’t say I’ve seen any others in my travels here in the northeast. It could just be that my internal antenna hasn’t been tuned in.

Just around the corner from Vassar College stood a building with a multilayered ghost ad.

Biggest & Best, Clean & Good
On Land or Sea You’ll All Agree

Liberty Tobacco

Package ??

Long cut ??

Uneeda Biscuit Package 5¢

Moments like this make me wish I had a tiny drone 🙂

I’ve passed this ghost of the Circle Dot Drivein dozens of times while zipping down the road to catch the Bridgeport ferry back home. Each time I say “I should stop,” but until yesterday I haven’t had enough time to futz around taking pictures without missing the boat.

A quick look around the web points to the Circle Dot being a beloved community fixture for many years.

Roessler’s was a hot dog brand. One people were pretty excited about, I guess since the name made it to the sign above the building. If you look closely you can see the outline of the hot dog painted around the neon.

Time marches on. I wonder what people will one day document from our time?

Mail Pouch Tobacco: Looking For Ghosts

Mail Pouch Tobacco: Looking For Ghosts

This morning I was trying to recall when and where I was first exposed to a Mail Pouch Tobacco barn or ad. I’ve come up with nothing concrete. My first blog post related to Mail Pouch was from 2009. I’d stopped to take a picture of a barn while we were riding in Kentucky. Could that have really been the spark that lit the fire?

A Mail Pouch Tabacco ghost in Mill Hall, Pa.

Prior to 2009, I’d done some riding in West Virginia, the home of Bloch Brothers and Mail Pouch Tobacco. I’d traveled up and down roads that I’ve subsequently come to know have Mail Pouch barns on them. Maybe it is all just one big recognition puzzle. You start gathering pieces and shapes and then one day everything begins to interlock and you start to see an image.

Many layers to the Mail Pouch onion in Mill Hall, Pa.

Honestly, I’m not even sure what it is about the signs that interest me so. I find smoking and chew/pinch tobacco disgusting. So you can rule out nostalgia for the product itself. Maybe I connect the locations where you’d see barns and ads – places like lonely backroads and old rail towns – with good times? And the aesthetic can’t be discounted either, I suppose. Maybe I see them as art. Or time capsules to a less modernized life which I tend to romanticize.

Re-painted Mail Pouch barn on the Corner of 6 & 146 in Mt. Jewett, Pa.

For me, ghost ads or barn ads have no slickness. And I say that as a compliment. Instead, they carry a humanity to them. They weren’t made with mechanized sprayers or stretched vinyl. They were made by the hands of a person. A person standing, sweating, wiping their brow, stretching, correcting, pulling paint along a surface. I appreciate the humanity of the process.

Fading Away – Renovo, Pennsylvania Ghost Ads

Fading Away – Renovo, Pennsylvania Ghost Ads

I’ve passed through Renovo a few times over the last couple years. Each time I’ve stopped to snap a photo of the Mail Pouch Tobacco ad on the corner of Huron and 11th. The fade progression is clear in the pictures.

Considering the weather and the blazing sun that batters these buildings year in year out, the paint hangs on for a long time. It seems like it must reach a critical turning point where the colors and sharpness start to go very quickly.

On my first pass through town in February 2009, I snapped the Mail Pouch ad on the corner of 11th & Huron:

In June of 2014, I drove through Renovo and stopped for a quick picture of the Mail Pouch ad. There was definitely some fade compared to 2009.

Passing through town in June 2017, I stopped for the ad once again. Fading away…

The corner of Erie & 5th has a Mail Pouch and a Coca-Cola ghost two-fer. The first time I saw both, they were already quite faded. The change in their condition is less obvious to me. The photos are from June 2014 and June 2017 respectively for these two.

Coca-Cola is hangin’ on by a thread.

This Mail Pouch on the upper part of the building at 5th and Erie already had significant fade in 2014. Below it to the left also hung a nifty plastic RC Cola sign. Another throwback.

By the time I stopped again in June 2017, not much has changed in the fading but the plastic RC Cola sign is now gone. I like to think it is happily hanging in a room where someone loves it versus laying broken in a dump.

The wishful part of me wants these nostalgic gems to last forever. But I know that won’t happen. I guess I’ll just have to keep riding around, taking photos and making memories.

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