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.
Making a left off of Route 6 in Galeton, I followed PA 144 south to what the map says is the town of Clarence. That stretch yielded about 75 miles of backroad rambling on good tarmac.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record… I saw little to no traffic as I rode along. I’m sure it helped that I was riding in the middle of the week while everyone else was at work.
Even so, there was no shortage of “grass farmers” out tending to their yards everywhere I went. Lawn care seems like serious business in rural Pennsylvania.
Here on Long Island, most people I know (myself included) have someone cut their lawn for them. A truck pulls up, the mower rolls out of the trailer and an army of men swoop through cutting, edging and trimming for all of 5 minutes. Then they pack up their circus and drive away like they were never here. The whirrrrrr of the weedwacker, nothing more than a memory. It is a precision operation. Mo’ lawns, mo’ money.
The people I saw riding mowers appeared deep in thought, turtling along, cutting a path across their grass with deliberate care. Is there something to Zen and the art of Lawn Maintenance? Perhaps I’m missing out on something.
Whenever I pass through the town of Renovo, I’m struck by how it carries nostalgia in the very bricks that make up each building. It cuts the image of a town trapped by its own past.
On the surface, there isn’t much going on save for a main street of largely empty buildings. But I suspect there are all sorts of busybody, goings-on in the lives of its inhabitants – just like anyplace else.
Renovo reminds me of an ember, a faint glow of its former self. That’s what I love about it. If one day I were to pass through and it was polished like a diamond, I think it would lose its appeal to me.
And so it goes, I pressed on.
Other Posts from this Road Trip
- Road Tripping: The Coffee Pot - Bedford, Pa
- Well, Hello, Mr. Bedroom Eyes - Uniontown, Pa. Mufflerman
- Road Tripping: World's Largest Teapot - Chester, WV
- Road Tripping: A Fabulous Pennsylvania Roadside Animal Menagerie
- Roadside Snaps: Mail Pouch Tobacco Barns and Signs
- Roadside Stop: Madonna of the Trail, Beallsville, Pa.
- Bucket List Stop: The PennDot Road Sign Sculpture Garden
- Road Tripping: Roadside Goodies from Western New York
- Whispering Giants Grand Tour: Ong-Gwe-Ohn-Weh in Dunkirk, NY
- Road Tripping: The Self-Torture of More, More, More
- Road Tripping in Pennsylvania - Zippo Lighter Museum
- Road Tripping Though Pennsylvania - Random Snapshots
- Road Tripping in Pennsylvania - Visiting the Kinzua Viaduct
- Road Tripping Through Pennsylvania: Sights on Route 144
- Road Tripping in Pennsylvania - Winding Road Next 10 Miles
- SPOT Tracker Reporting Gaps
- Road Tripping in Pennsylvania - Wandering to Breakfast in Wellsboro
- Whispering Giants Grand Tour: Williamsport, Pa. Giant is Missing
- Sometimes Being In A Hurry Actually Slows You Down