Ghost Sign Harvest #12 – Legend Rock, Wyoming

Now for something completely different. Not really. Petroglyphs, drawn by early peoples around the world, are just a much earlier form of ghost signs.  These are some from the amazing location north of Thermopolis, Wyoming, called Legend Rock.  The petroglyphs are visible along a short trail from a parking area.

I am using the same methods I used for ghost signs – mosaicking multiple images together to increase resolution. The result will be very large wall panels that are as clear as the original.

I am also using my enhancement techniques to bring out hidden layers.  There are also some modern letters  that defaced the graphics, visible at lower right.

I found almost identical graphics on a piece of pottery in the archaeology museum in El Salvador, so some of these “legends” were carried a great distance.  They appear to represent various deities, possibly a creation story.  Unfortunately, are are some modern “additions” to the drawings, plus some defacing.

I think the “alien” in the upper right was an add on, as was the letter “B” at the left.

Ghost Sign Harvest #11 – Indiana to Nebraska

I had to truncate my route, eliminating a plan for Wisconsin, since I spent more time in Indiana and Illinois due to the road closures from flooding.

This sign in Vincennes, Indiana, has appeared since I was last there in 2010.

If you see these stars on a building, they are called “Star Anchors”.  They are a decorative way to cover the end of a threaded rod that braces the brick wall to the internal structure.  Apparently, these are taken down by people who sell them in antique stores, leaving the buildings vulnerable to collapse.

General Arthur Cigar in Plattsburg, Missouri

Terre Haute Beer in Linton, Indiana

When I first photographed this sign in Indianapolis in 2010, the building was supposed to be demolished.  However, here it is!  Jung’s Red Heart Beer’s Sustains Life [sic]. 

This great sign for Greenback Tobacco in Terre Haute, Indiana, was difficult to photograph. The tree branches touch the best part of the sign – an emblem of a happy frog.  I used a rope to pull branches back from the building, but still needed to photograph from many different positions and slanted angles. Note to self – carry a tree trimmer stick.

I drove through the beautiful Sand Hills in Nebraska on my way to some of the ghost signs in the West.

I “invented” my pole stick to specifically get this sign in Columbus, Nebraska, but hadn’t been back until this trip. It is a very nicely preserved Cremo Cigar ad.

Detail of the Cigar – part of the higher resolution imaging used for stitching.

I revisited Alliance, Nebraska to rephotograph this sign I first photographed in 2010.  This time, I used my pole to get the camera into a good position. However, it was also easier because a foreground tree had been removed. The town is undergoing a major makeover because it is one of many cities directly under the central path of this year’s Total Solar Eclipse.

It Came from Outer Space – 3 Dimensions, from the 1953 release.

Alliance makeover is in progress for the Solar Eclipse.  East Wyoming and Western Nebraska have the highest probability for clear skies on the eclipse date.  I thought it appropriate that one of the signs that is there is It Came From Outer Space.

Ghost Sign Harvest #10 – West Frankfort, Illinois

I have many more ghost signs to post, but I thought I would concentrate on this sign I found yesterday in West Frankfort, Illinois. It was revealed in the last two weeks by the collapse of a brick protective wall.  I had been to West Frankfort before, I was going to photograph another sign across the street from this one that I had missed, but – WOW – here it was!

While I was photographing this sign, I spoke to a woman going into the back door of an office in the alley.  It turns out it is the town Newspaper – the West Frankfort Gazette.  Here is a link to their article about the sign that has more history –

It is in beautiful shape. The building itself is apparently in need of demolition.  Hopefully, they will be able to save this remarkable sign.

Ghost Sign Harvest #9 – Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Indiana

The Traveling Saleman Problem – finding the shortest route among multiple locations – leads on some fairly strange twists and turns in one’s route.  I went back and forth several times where the state of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky meet

I thought I had posted enough barn photos, but this unusual ad for Old Loyalty tobacco changed my mind. It is located north of Madison, Indiana.

A combination of Selz Shoes and Coca Cola was painted over with white paint sometime in the past.  It has now been exposed and is next to a memorial park which seems to feature this sign in Wilmington, Ohio.

The difference between the modern white paint – easily flaked off – and the underlying sign paint is pretty obvious here.  The white paint may have, in fact, protected the sign.

I made some new friends in Seymour, Indiana.  I went there to locate a Dr Pepper sign painted on wood, but had no idea of the location. When I stopped to photograph this Gold Medal Flour sign, these two gentlemen – Tim Decker on the left, and Jim Noelker on the right – came over and we started talking.   Jim has a sign company, Westwind Signs in Seymour, so he knows his signs. He also knew where the elusive Dr. Pepper sign was located.  Thanks to both!

Thanks to Jim for taking the rare photo of me.

The entire side of the building was originally covered with graphics, but when the building owner repainted, he nicely left the main Dr. Pepper untouched.

And, as frequently happens, the “best” sign in Seymour, Indiana, was unknown to me before I arrived.  This one contains, among other things, an ad for Cremo Cigars.

I have visited many towns more than once, looking for signs I may have missed. This one, in North Vernon, Indiana, is painted at an angle to match the slanted roof line instead of the line of the bricks. I don’t recall hearing the term Foot Fitter before.

I also returned to Maysville, KY, to see if I could have better access to a Coca Cola sign with multiple layers. I spoke with the building owner, but there really wasn’t any access short of getting a high lift.  However, I was able to rephotograph this sign for Poyntz Bros. Whiskey.  The trees had been trimmed which made parts of the sign more visible. However, it still took some moving the camera around to get complete coverage shooting between the tree and the buildings. 

Although not as old, this interesting sign explained some of the jet engine noises I heard in the distance.

I had this sign in Albany, Indiana, on my must-visit list since 2009.  I had no idea whether it was still there, but there it was, looking unchanged from the 2009 photo posted online.

Madison, Indiana, is a beautiful tourist town (in the best sense) along the Ohio River.  For those of you unfamiliar with US History, the Ohio River played a most important role in the history of our country from the mid-1700’s onwards.  If you are ever interested in the truly beautiful drive, follow the river from it’s beginnings in Pennsylvania until it meets the Mississippi at Cairo, Illinois.

Madison had two signs I had missed on a previous visit. The Pillsbury’s Best Flour I had totally missed back in 2009.

I knew this second sign existed, but couldn’t find it before. With more internet resources including city directories and company histories, I was able to locate it this trip.  “See Hen & Ben The Shoe Men”

One last photo,  a historic bumper sticker on a historic truck which also had a historic license plate.

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