Thursday, April 11, 2013

Spokane Ghost Signs Update

Surely not *that* Henry George?
Today ended the second week of History 407: Research Methods in Local History. What a great day we had! The course met at the old Schade Brewery building in the West Central neighborhood, near Riverpoint campus. We explored the lobby and the historic photograhs there, then headed over to the Jensen Byrd. Students worked in teams of two, one with a clipboard and the other with a camera to record the signs the we found. Then the teams fanned out and explored the neighborhood.
Afterwards we had some beers at Ugly Betties and talked about what we had found and how to improve our data collection. Some of the observations:

  • An amazing number of legible signs still exist, and they are cool as hell
  • There are also many traces of signs that are no longer readable--we will look for historic photos to try and figure out what they said
  • Photographing the signs is tricky, some are up high and at angles where they are not visible directly below, other are obscured by power lines and the like
  • Signs for hotels and tobacco produces predominated with about five of each
  • Working in teams is definitely the right way to proceed, not only so one can take pictures and the other notes but also to help one another deciper faded lettering
  • We cannot wait to get into the archives and begine researching the stories behind the signs, which we will find in city directories, property record cards, register nominations, and more

Below is a slideshow of some pictures I took. The first half are from a few weeks ago when I was scouting for this class, today's photographs begin with the Schade brewery.



Clayton Hanson said...

Will you be having them look for lost signs near current ghost signs (ghost ghost signs) or for how and when they got frozen in time?

I know that that sort of signage sort of stopped but I there is a period of about 40 years or so when you might see how layered they are. Palimpsests and shit.

Sam Roberts said...

Great to see the project progressing well and looking forward to your discoveries in the archives. Keep it coming.

Larry Cebula said...

Thanks, Sam, your UK project is among our inspirations.

Sam Roberts said...

I'm now back home after my travels so expect blogging to resume in the very near future, including discoveries from Australia and New Zealand.