This restored Mail Pouch Tobacco wall ad in Ford City, Pennsylvania sure is a looker. Clearly a lot of love and care went in to making it vibrant once again. There is so much detail on the packaging – it’s just lovely.
It warms my heart to see projects that commit to caring for such local landmarks, particularly in times and places where money is tight. Without a doubt there are many people who might counter and say that money could be better spent elsewhere. And maybe they’re right. I don’t know. Quality of life does have some variables beyond the survival basics.
My point of view is colored by being a stranger to these communities. But I suspect that there are generations of people for whom this type of image will be weaved throughout their memories even if unwittingly. In my opinion, it is this type of visual energy that adds a pinch of spice to the unique flavor of a neighborhood. They become a touchstone.
The place in which I live is the land of homogenization. And while it is very “nice” and keeps property values high, there is a grave boringness attached to it. One of the key missing ingredients is largely nostalgia. Strip mall, mcmansion, chain store, strip mall, mcmansion, chain store; repeat ad nauseum. We live in the prettiest ugly neighborhoods. And I bought into this ideal wholeheartedly.
My road trips largely center around seeing Americana such as this Mail Pouch sign. What doesn’t get captured in any of the photographs that document my stops, is a sense of longing that I don’t quite understand, which draws me to such places. I find it challenging to articulate what this search is. It is a strange marriage of melancholy and joy.
Visit the Mail Pouch Tobacco Sign in Ford City, Pennsylvania
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