this age of vinyl banners and computer-cut lettering, classic hand-painted
metal signs are rusting away and their neon tubes are shattering. Endangered
Architecture uses technology to re-create yesterday's signs. Signs
of Tucson refrigerator magnets are computer-illustrated, laser-cut
sign miniatures. You can see and buy them in the online
store, at Bohemia on Broadway near Country Club, at Old Town Artisans downtown, or visit the gift shops at the
of Art or the Los Angeles Museum of Neon Art.
Signs joined the Endangered Architecture repertoire quite unexpectedly.
In the summer of 2002, I took several photos of the Tucson Warehouse
and Transfer Company building as a reference for the first Endangered
Architecture model facade. Atop the building
is a prime example of the sort of neon sign they just don't make
any more... except maybe in Vegas. Its size, neon, chaser lights,
and a well-rendered Mayflower moving truck make this sign a Tucson
Several days later, in a windy monsoon, the top half of the truck
vanished. I suppose it's on the roof now. Looking back at my photos,
you can clearly see the rusty seam that failed.
July 6, 2002
July 24, 2002
resolve to capture the building and its sign in model form was cemented
that day, and I got to thinking about other classic signs of Tucson,
such as the one for Vince's Italian Restaurant. One day several
years ago it was felled like a tree. Someone rescued it, and Vince
stood for a while in a lot on North Main Avenue, serving up
pizza on one side, and spaghetti on the other.
sign lies in its parking lot along Speedway in this photo, circa
March 1998. This is the pizza side. Those are my feet sticking
out on the left; I crawled under the corner for the wicked witch
effect. The next day the sign was gone.
reappeared shortly thereafter on North Main. This photo of the
spaghetti side was taken on July 24, 2002.
Vince flopped over in late 2004.
The sign was moved to parts unknown in 2006.