Written by Nicole Possert and Amy Inouye
Old signs are so hot right now. At least on one 10 block stretch of Figueroa Street – part of Historic Route 66 - in Los Angeles’ historic Highland Park neighborhood, where two great old signs (one neon, one bulb-lit) have been restored and re-lit in the last year.
Manning's Coffee Store and Highland Theatre signs, fully restored. (Photos: Martha Benedict)
It all started with a simple idea: start a Historic Route 66 signage district by restoring and relighting two awesome old rooftop signs badly in need of repair. Manning’s Coffee Store sign was renovated and relit last month following the relighting success of the Highland Theatre sign in the spring of last year. These two signs now add to some existing neon signs and the ever-popular “Chicken Boy” attraction to help bring Route 66 back to the heart of Los Angeles.
Chicken Boy. (Photo: Buz Carter on Flickr)
These no-longer-shiny commercial signs were overlooked “ghost” resources located in the largest historic district in the City of Los Angeles. Seeing as Figueroa Street served as U.S. Route 66 from 1931-34 and 66A from 1936-1960, this signage district project was a perfect way to re-introduce Route 66 to the City of LA, re-use and preserve these historic resources, and begin to create an authentic attraction for all of the aficionados, who have been by-passing this important part of the Mother Road.
Nicole Possert, Stu Rapeport, Amy Inouye, Tony Castillo, and North Figueroa Clean Team member celebrating the Manning's lighting last month. (Photo: Martha Benedict)
The restoration projects were a perfect storm of collaboration: a community passionate about place and willing to push the boundaries of historic preservation; a business district’s desire to create a more attractive, distinctive destination to generate retail interest; and advocates for Route 66, neon, and awesome old signs. The project symbolizes and brings together many interests and passions all in one bright shiny package called the Historic Route 66 signage district. This neighborhood effort shows a different way that historic preservation - on a large or small scale – can be a vital community revitalization strategy.
Click through to read more about the history and restorations of Manning's Coffee Store and the Highland Theatre.... Read More →
The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.
Although we're always on the lookout for blog content, we encourage readers to submit story ideas or let us know if you've seen something that might be interesting and engaging for a national audience. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.