Category: Mail Pouch Tobacco

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.

Life is All Mail Pouch Barns and Rainbows

Life is All Mail Pouch Barns and Rainbows

While Kenny and I were in Millhall, Pennsylvania for the Seven Mountains Dualsport/Adventure Ride, on Saturday afternoon after we’d scampered through the forest, I decided to head back out to get a look at a Mail Pouch barn that was flagged in my GPS as being close by. Kenny figured he’d tag along.

Across the valley hung dark clouds and sheeting rain. It looked like it was over the next hill but with bluer skies on it’s heels. My hope was that we’d stay just along the tail of the storm and keep dry. Wasn’t to be. As you can see, we caught up to the rain and it was coming down in buckets.

A Mail Pouch barn on Mail Pouch Road! Super jackpot 🙂

I was hoping to take a nice picture of my bike with the barn, but with the crown of the road I couldn’t find a spot to park it and be able to get my foot solidly on the ground to either get off the bike or put my sidestand down. Sometimes I forget that I’m not a giant. So? This was it the best I could do without toppling over. ::shrug:: oh well. It’ll do.

While I was finishing up with barn pictures, the rain let up and a gorgeous rainbow stretched cross the valley. We ended up chasing it just about all the way back to camp. Rainbows are wiley. You think think you get one step closer but they take two steps back keeping them forever just out of reach.

“Rain, rain, go away…. Kenny is regretting his decision to tag along with his ding-a-ling wife…” Pretty sure that’s how the song goes.

He may have in fact been afraid to look in my general direction so as not to incinerate me on the spot with his death-glare. Not a fan of riding in the rain, this one. So, let’s just concentrate on how foxy his bike is, okay? 😉

2016 Rearview: A Few of My Favorite Things So Far

2016 Rearview: A Few of My Favorite Things So Far

With month number six of 2016 drawing to a close, I’ve seen some pretty terrific roadside-y things in my travels so far. Wanna take a peek?

Mighty Joe – Shamong, NJ

Super-terrific hot dog guy at the super-tiny diner Winsted Diner – Winsted, CT

Flyin’ Pig – Miller Place, NY

Patriotic tire-Minions with braces – Somewhere in CT

Hippie Bunyan Muffler Man on Yasgur’s Farm – Bethel, NY

Purple Dragon – Duncannon, PA

Nifty Shed – Somewhere in CT

Giant Mr. Potato Head – Hasbro – Pawtucket, RI

Just Love Everybody Peace House – Somewhere in CT

A great sign! 🙂

Roy Lichtenstein’s Tokyo Brushstroke I & II – Watermill, NY

Picasso Garage – Somewhere in CT

Hotdog Johnny’s – Buttzville, NJ

Alexander Calder’s Stegorsaurus – Hartford, CT

Pig Bus – Somwewhere in PA

Rainbow – Hartford, CT

Welcome to Hackettstown Mural – Hackettstown, NJ

Monkey Mural – Bridgeport, CT

Hope for Peace barn – Somewhere in CT

Mail Pouch Tobacco House – Lock Haven, PA

Big Bronze Crows – Kent, CT

Here’s to continued whimsy-spotting throughout the year ::cheers::

%d bloggers like this: