Tag: roadside

Mail Pouch Tobacco – Christ is Coming Soon Barn – McVeytown, Pennsylvania

Mail Pouch Tobacco – Christ is Coming Soon Barn – McVeytown, Pennsylvania

Mail Pouch Tobacco barns and ghost signs stay firmly in my top 10 must-see or favorite sights while I’m out bumming around.

Because part of their enduring appeal is directly correlated to familiarity and the use of the same imagery or logo, you might be inclined to think if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all. In the most simplified terms, there is truth in that sentiment.

However what I’ve found over time is that though I love the olde tyme advertising simply for what it is – big uniform block yellow and white letters – the ads have a way of transcending their simple existence. The barns and wall ads are a punctuation mark on the line of journey. In some ways my photos of them become a touchstone of a moment in time, a spotlight on their surroundings, or a phantom feeling made visible.

This barn has been hanging around as a star pinned to my Google Map for years. You can find it on US 522 in McVeytown, Pennsylvania. It carries an interesting mix of messages on it’s north and south ends.

Mail pouch tobacco barn - christ is coming soon are you ready barn - pennsylvania
South end:
Top: Christ is Coming Soon! are you ready?
Bottom: Mail Pouch Tobacco, severely fade and disintegrating.

Though I’m not a a religious person, I do find certain iconography, images, messaging, ideas and the beliefs of other fascinating. I admire spiritual faith and am not ashamed to say that It is a concept that continues to elude me.

Some of the last precious words my dad said to me before dying were, “say a prayer for me.” A decade now since his passing, they still haunt me. Facing the end of his road he believed he was going to meet his heavenly father. I have often found myself strangely envious of his unwavering faith. I hope he’s where he knew he’d be.

at the end of the road i will neet god barn - pennsylvania
North end:
At the end of the road I will meet God.
OG Slick in the Home of the Smiley Face – Worcester, Massachusetts

OG Slick in the Home of the Smiley Face – Worcester, Massachusetts

OG Slick Smiley Face Mural Worcester Massachusetts
Have a Rice Day 2018 – OG Slick

Worcester, Massachusetts is a city which has jumped in with both feet when it comes to public murals and art. Under the stewardship of the POW! WOW! Worcester program, dozens of murals grace the walls of the city.

This mural ‘Have a Rice Day’ was painted in 2018 by artist OG Slick and tips it’s hat to the city itself which boasts being the home of the smiley face since the early 1960’s. Created by Harvey Ball, the enduring smiley icon began it’s life in Worcester.

While the smiley face icon seems permanently etched into the collective consciousness, this mural may not have the same lifespan. Though they may hang around for years, POW! WOW! Worcester does not suggest that any of the art pieces are “permanent.” In other words – don’t put off seeing the cool stuff. Life, art, beauty… it’s all fleeting. Enjoy it now. Maybe grab yourself a hot dog at George’s Coney Island Lunch and go see the sights 🙂

Visit the OG Slick Smiley Face Mural

261 Main St.
Worcester MA 01608

You Might Also Like:

Smiley Notes

  • https://www.worcesterhistory.org/sidebar-exhibitions/smiley-face/
  • https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/who-really-invented-the-smiley-face-2058483/
Shell Oil Spectacular Vintage Sign – Cambridge, Massachusetts

Shell Oil Spectacular Vintage Sign – Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Shell Oil Spectacular Sign in Cambridge, Massachusetts is a Moderne vintage signage dream. Erected in 1933, this beloved sign has been blazing for a incredible 90 years! In 1994, the sign found its way onto the National Register of Historic Places.

Shell oil spectacular vintage sign - boston  cambridge Massachusetts
built in 1933 by Donnelly Electric Manufacturing Company

Shell Oil Spectacular Sign – Cambridge Historical Landmark

For those interested in the nuts and bolts of the sign, some interesting construction and historical facts can be found in documents from the Cambridge Historical Commission.

As someone who is not familiar with reading governmental documentation, the level of detail regarding the history, construction, and technology related to the sign included in the documents was surprising!

In 2009, the case for making the Shell Oil Spectacular sign a Cambridge historical landmark was resurrected and passed by the Cambridge Historical Commission.

Shell Oil Spectacular sign boston

Welcome to Hell!

As a humorous aside, according to Cambridge News, in 2019 the “S” became unlit, providing a decidedly different and hilarious view of the great sign:

My First Brush with Greatness

The day that we dropped our daughter off for her first year of college in Boston, we drove passed this aptly named Shell Spectacular sign for the first time. And this sign is exactly that – spectacular. From that day forward, each time I’ve been to Boston I’ve said to myself “I need to snap a picture of the sign this time!” It only took me 4 years to make good on that.

While visiting Boston a few weeks ago, we made a little detour during our Blue Bike ride and I was able to see this gorgeous baby up close, and while stationary. A real looker, huh?

Visit the Shell Oil Spectacular Sign

187 Magazine Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Sunday Afternoon in the Shadow of the Tunkhannock Viaduct

Sunday Afternoon in the Shadow of the Tunkhannock Viaduct

Exactly one year ago today, I set off from Long Island on Sunday morning with a bug in my ear to see a concrete railroad bridge in northeastern Pennsylvania. It’s called the Tunkhannock Viaduct or the Nicholson Bridge.

At the time it was built in the 19-teens it was the worlds largest concrete structure. Today, almost 100 years later it is still an impressive sight. I dare say it is arresting when you head north along US 11 and it comes in to view.

Why would I ride over 200 miles each way to stand in front of some concrete bridge? The answer is simple. I don’t know.

What is it that you get from being in the presence of something inanimate versus simply looking at pictures of it online or in a book? Again, I don’t know. But… there is something.

Sometimes it seems like my trips to things sprinkled around the country answer questions that I don’t realize that I’m asking. Standing in their shadow makes me feel something. I guess maybe that’s what I’m after – to feel something. To know something with the cells of my body before my mind has time to scramble it up.

It’s nice to see a place that is proud of the hallmarks of their community. Something about it gives me a lovesick envy.

And away we go.