Category Archives: Pennsylvania

Ghost Sign Harvest #8 – Pennsylvania & Ohio, plus a Barn Tour

One of the great joys of photographing ghost signs and ghost barns is meeting people.  As I was photographing this Mail Pouch Tobacco barn in Ohio, the owner came over and we talked. The first thing I did was thank him for not having the barn “restored”.  It is the only Mail Pouch Barn I have seen that has a depiction of the package.

Mr. Gardner, who has owned the barn for 35 years, invited me inside to see how it is built.  How cool is that!!!!  These are pretty amazing timbers.  What is even more amazing is that about 100 years ago, the barn was moved to this location from a field across where the present highway is located.

This view shows the inside of the painted part of the barn.

And how about this flooring?

Mr. Gardner maintains the barn, including climbing on to the roof when it leaks, and uses it for storage.  I think the continual usage is one reason it is in such great condition.


When I am planning my route, I always look for possible towns along my route to see if any other towns might have a sign. i found this beauty in Cadiz, Ohio, just this morning before starting my drive.

I returned to Carnegie, PA (it was just off the road I was on anyway) to rephotograph this Mail Pouch sign.  During my prior visit, I had to shoot around several parked cars, plus there it was sunny.  This is a nice shadow setup.

Another Ivory Soap ghost sign, this one in Washington, PA.

I returned to Lisbon. Ohio, to photograph this sign which required my using the pole rig to see over the edge of the building. I always shoot a wide angle panorama, like the one below, before using the longer focal length, to see what other objects are on the room that might block the view.

Mail Pouch Tobacco Barns seem to be everywhere in the Ohio River Valley.

I returned to New Kensington, PA, to continue my series of the revealing and deterioration of this Pillsbury’s Best Flour sign.  I photographed it in 2011, 2012, and 2014.  Now, the entire top of the sign is revealed, but the bottom half is mostly gone.  I’ll create a single composite image when i get home that contains as much of the original sign as possible.

2011, 2012, and 2014

Ghost Sign Harvest #7 – Pennsylvania, more Barns, and an Owl

This very nice Mail Pouch Tobacco barn is just south of Halifax, PA, and was unknown to me before I spotted it.

I went into the barnyard, through and open gate, and photographed the entire sign in lots of detail.  The letters always look like they are melting.  The farmer’ cows had a great deal to say – very moosical.

A very faded Mail Pouch barn, but I photographed it straight on as well and it can be enhanced.

I’m not sure this barn was ever originally painted as a Mail Pouch ad. I think it was just done for fun.

I found this sign in Alverda, PA, posted online and went to photograph it. Signs about now gone Flour brands are very popular.

A different kind of barn.  I asked permission of a very nice couple who let me go up their driveway to photograph the barn.  It belongs to their sister.  Thanks to all.

The GPS took me on this small back road to Johnstown, PA.  It was twisty, bumpy, potholey – in summary, wonderful.

I had been to Johnstown before, but this sign was exposed in the last two years.  It may be the best Owl Logo I have seen.  No tuckpointing or cleaning.  It may have been painted by the same sign painter who did the Owl Cigar signs in New Kensington that were revealed a few years ago.

When I arrived, it was sunny which produced bad tree shadows across the graphics. I waited about an hour for a storm front to arrive with a nice overcast sky.  I spoke to a couple about living in Johnstown.  They were around my age.  They had grown up here, moved to the DC area, and then returned for family reasons.  What struck them on returning is that everything is expensive in Johnstown.  Utilities are triple in the DC area.  I found that gas is the same as Los Angeles.  The city is slowly dying because it is not connected to the world by any major highway.  The young people are leaving because there are no jobs. Its past industries were Bethlehem Steel and coal.  Needless to say, I saw many Trump posters.

Once it became overcast, i used my pole rig to photograph the entire sign over the fence.

Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.  I’m looking forward to stitching all of the photos together when I get home.

Ghost Sign Harvest #6 – New York & Pennsylvania

I’m filling in gaps in my ghost sign collection – which means that I am visiting the places that were too out of the way for previous trips.  I photographed a couple of signs in Narrowsburg, NY.  The town is located on the upper parts of the Delaware River.  The leaves on the trees are very late this year – just a few buds and flowers.

Narrowsburg, NY

RR bridge in Narrowsburg for the Erie RR.

I photographed this nice un-repainted barn for Kentucky Club Pipe Tobacco in Brodheadsville, PA.  Another barn, for Mail Pouch Tobacco, near New Tripoli, PA, has apparently been demolished (or sold to Barn Wood Builders?).

I had visited Pottsville, PA, before and photographed this great revealed sign for Mail Pouch Tobacco.  It is still there as of yesterday.

However, as usual, there were more signs, a couple of which I “discovered” while photographing signs I knew about.  This mystery sign will require some work to reveal its contents.

Another sign is for the Packard-Hudson dealer.

Also., this great sign for Yuengling Beer was coverted by trees.  I had to shoot from all sorts of angles to try to get complete coverage. I’ll post the results later. Although Yuengling sounds like some sort of Asian imported beer, it is actually the oldest brewery in the United States, family owned, and started in 1829.

Pottsville is the home of Yuengling’s.  They have factory tours.