Category: Ghost Ad

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?

Hunting Ghosts: Uneeda Biscuit and Gold Medal Flour

Hunting Ghosts: Uneeda Biscuit and Gold Medal Flour

Troy, New York was once a bustling place that depended largely on the steel industry. When that moved away, the city began to decline. Such places are great for spotting ghost ads. I passed through town over the weekend and saw a few.

I’d pulled over to take a photo of this Uneeda Biscuit ghost on Williams and Ferry in Troy, NY. The man you see in the doorway was watching what I was doing with some interest. I imagine that when some astronaut pulls up on a motorcycle and starts taking pictures of your house it might be an invasion of your privacy. When I finished up and stowed my camera in my tankbag, I looked at him and smiled. He smiled back. Mark that down in the win column for a flip-up helmet!

The slogan from Gold Medal Flour says, “Eventually. Why not now?” What a fitting message for a mind like mine that sees signs in everything! This ghost was painted on the building at the corner of 1st & Tyler in Troy, NY.

There was another Uneeda Biscuit on the corner of Harrison and 4th. There wasn’t very much foot or car traffic, so I parked in the corner crosswalk while I quickly snapped a photo. While there, a man in a work truck pulled up behind me preparing to make a right. At first, I thought maybe I was blocking him from seeing to pull out but no, he was waiting for me to finish taking pictures 🙂

And finally the last Uneeda Biscuit of the bunch. This one from Northampton, Massachusetts on Bridge and Hawley. I’d seen this one a few weeks ago while my daughter and I were cruising around after lunch at Al’s Diner in Chicopee.

All signs seem to be pointing to me needing a biscuit!

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.

Ghost Ad in Chenoa, Illinois: Selz Royal Blue Shoes

Ghost Ad in Chenoa, Illinois: Selz Royal Blue Shoes

Pontiac, Ill – Illinois State Police motorcycle patrol exhibit

While riding Historic Route 66 in Illinois, I tried to take a turn through the towns that seemed to pop up like an oasis after a stretch of nothin’ much. Often my ride would be like road, road, road, TOWN, road, road road…

These places that punctuate the route seemed to hold the most lovely treasures, if you’re the Americana-lovin’ sort. This Selz Royal Blue Shoes ad is in the town of Chenoa, Illinois.

Before the trip, I’d never heard of Selz Royal Blue Shoes. But like so many other things, once my eyes were opened to it and I began looking for information I had myself another rabbit hole to fall down. There are many lovely Selz ads across the midwest.

Passing Through Lincoln, Illinois

Passing Through Lincoln, Illinois

During my ride through Illinois in the fall of 2015, I followed Route 66 north from Springfield and passed through the town of Lincoln, Illinois. Prior to leaving home, I did almost no research about the areas I might ride through. I was just sort of floating on the wind and letting the ride unfold on it’s own in between a few punctation marks. And so, as I passed through Lincoln I wasn’t really looking to see anything in particular.

My knowledge of Route 66 is pretty limited in the grand scheme of things. I think that worked in my favor. When you don’t know what to expect, everything is a surprise and quite often, exciting.

When I pulled in to Lincoln, it felt like the type of America you see on tv. That may sound funny to you if you’re from an area that looks like Lincoln. But to people who exist in the bland, homogenized suburbs of a major city like New York, places like these look special.

In the middle of town there’s a square with green grass and a grand courthouse. Also a firehouse with a telephone booth on the roof. Brick buildings line the streets that spider away from the square. The whole place felt like it was covered in lovely nostalgia dust.

Figuring I may never pass that way again, I took a turn around the town, riding up and down the side streets around the town square. Along Pulaski Street, I spied a lovely ghost ad.

“Smoke Greenback Tobacco – Purest and Best(?)”

The ad is for Greenback Smoking Tobacco, a brand I’d never heard of before. A quick Google turned up this article: ‘Ghost’ turns up in Lincoln alley from The Lincoln Courier discussing the mural. The article from 2009 mentions the hope of findinf out about its history but my Google searches haven’t turned up anything more posted since then.

Greenback Smoking Tobacco Ghost Ad
Side of 414 Pulaski Street
Lincoln, Illinois
Google Streetview

Before continuing on, I snapped a shot in front of the big penny mural. A perfect way to say goodbye to Lincoln.

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