These Ghost Signs Are a Faded Reminder of Yesterday’s Main Streets

Remember when it was common to see advertisements painted skillfully on the sides of brick buildings? Many of the advertising signs that once appeared bright and lined our streets have faded away or been torn down. A few, however, remain legible, and some even retain their original colors. Everything from tobacco to soda to insurance could be advertised on the side of a building. These hand-painted relics took a lot of skill and remain like works of art, even in faded states. A whole culture has now sprung up of people who track and photograph these gems of early 20th century advertising. As old buildings are torn down, in some cases signs that were previously hidden are revealed, much to the delight of ghost sign hunters. Whether you love the typography or if you just enjoy remembering a time when these ads were freshly painted, take a peek at some of the most hauntingly appealing ghost signs from around the country.

Ghost Sign in Grants Pass OR

Grants Pass, OR. Submitted by Margot Foley

Ford City Ghost Sign

Ford City ghost sign. Via/ Flickr

Ghost sign in Butte, MT

Butte, MT, ghost sign. Via/ Flickr

Do you remember Uneeda Biscuits?

Lewiston, ME, ghost sign

Lewiston, ME, ghost sign. Via/ Flickr

Badin, NC, ghost sign

Badin, NC, ghost sign. Via/ Flickr

Ghost sign for Falstaff Beer

Falstaff Beer ghost sign. Via/ Flickr

“Ask Dad, he knows.” Such beautiful colors on this ad.

Butte, MT, ghost sign.

Butte, MT, ghost sign. Via/ Flickr

Occasionally, signs were painted on buildings to persuade voters or union workers.

Portland, OR, ghost sign

Portland, OR, ghost sign. Via/ Flickr

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Whizzco for LPE