Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Forbidden City Update

I caught the old Forbidden City sign between vinyl advertising overlays. It's much easier on the eyes than today's garish posters but still a tragic loss of a Chinatown icon.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Unknown 2

Building: 1904

I can't get up high enough to see what this sign says. It's on the west-facing side of one of the Everett Station Lofts buildings on NW Everett between Broadway and 6th. I had to back up to the park blocks on NW Flanders to see this much of it.



Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Neville Bag Company, 1905

Down at sidewalk level, look closely to see the remains of this sign. "Merchant" and "Train" appear to straddle a window; I believe the window was added sometime after the sign was painted. It's on the north side of the Three Lions Bakery shop at NW 5th and Davis in the Neville Bag Company building.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hotel Butte

Hotel Butte, 1912

The old Hotel Butte, above Sisters of the Road Cafe at NW 6th and Davis, at one time advertised on the west side of their building. The hotel now provides subsidised housing through Central City Concern. Check out this ghost sign at NW Broadway between Couch and Davis.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Seattle House

Building, 1984

Around the corner from the OBAK sign in my previous post, the east wall of the same building has layers of old advertising. "Seattle House..." something once graced the top. Below that, "Export" of some kind appears to cover another old OBAK sign. Hard to make out because of deterioration and difficult to see from the street, stand on SW 2nd and Couch to see what you can.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Building, 1894

American Tobacco Company's Obak Mouthpiece Cigarettes was an issuer of early 20th Century baseball cards, primarily from the West Coast minor league teams, i.e., Pacific Coast League. This sign was probably quite striking in its day. Note the small "Rooms" sign below.

This is visible from NW 3rd and Burnside.


Monday, January 7, 2008

20 Mule

Simon Building Facade, 1892

Very little is left of this 20 Mule Team Borax sign; besides the obvious destruction of most of it, fading over the years has left it almost unreadable. The building was destroyed by fire and the facade is the only remaining part of the building that once occupied this property. See what remains on NW 3rd between Couch and Davis.


Friday, January 4, 2008


Grove Hotel: 1907

The battered old Grove Hotel, owned by the Housing Authority of Portland, hosts this battered old "Philip" sign. Fading and just out of reach of the graffiti taggers, this sign can be seen from the corner of NW 4th and Couch.


Thursday, January 3, 2008


Building: 1910

Because of severe deterioration, we'll probably never know what this sign once advertised. On the corner of NW 5th and Burnside, you can see it from midway between Burnside and Couch.


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Michael Green

Michael Green's "mens womens & childrens wear" sign remains only because of a poorly executed coverup paint job. You can see it from the corner of NW 5th and Couch.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


While it's sad to lose an old ghost sign like this, I must say that the space looks better for its passing. Tucked into a mid-block parking lot on NW Couch between 5th and 6th, you might take advantage of its message this morning.