UPDATE: The collection is featured in a 6-page color spread in the Sept/Oct 2010 issue of Maryland Life Magazine.
New to the collection:
Beltway Cleaners, Hendler's Ice Cream, Laurel Hardware, Coopers Camera Mart
Delighting thousands of motorist daily, the neon Beltway Cleaners sign was a true landmark for over half a century. At one time animated, The Harford Road business is located just inside the beltway. It was lovingly maintained by the owners. The end came in May 2008, when new sidewalks were being installed by the county. A sub-contractor in a front-end loader became wedged under the sign, compromising its integrity. After the emergency removal several hours later, It was deemed not salvagabe, however is safe to display in a museum setting. Still very much in operation, the Cleaners currently has no plans for a new sign. Only a steel pole stands. Designed, built, installed, maintained, and finally, removed by Triangle Signs.
UPDATE: Beltway Cleaners was out of business as of 2012.
Driving out North Point Road near Fort Howard, one would pass a long-closed general store on the left. Fort Howard Supply was once an Esso gas station, with the store selling the basic staples one in the then pre-695 residents of this still sleepy area may need. One of the best regarded Ice Creams' was locally made Hendler's. Sold at this store for until it disappeared in the late 1960's, the Hendler 'swinger' sign was left behind. This faded ghost was becoming a safety hazard by 2008. The very welcoming family allowed me to remove it, mast pole and all, in August 2008.
Operating for over half a century, Cook's Laurel Hardware was a fixture in Laurel. Located on Main Street, it closed on August 2, 1997. It was the great old store our grandfathers patronized or would shoot the bird with the owner. Wood floor, tin ceiling, great old fixtures. The old smell. The store lasted until August 2, 1997 when its contents were auctioned off. I was outbid on its classic neon sign, which swung over the sidewalk. The half-block long building (with a half-acre in the rear) was promptly demolished and re-developed as senior housing. Eleven years later, I was able to acquire the 400-pound sign from its owner, a coffee shop across the street, which had displayed it.
Located about a mile north on the same Harford Road, Coopers' Camera Mart operated for six decades. Located in downtown Hamilton, The original sign featured stylish channel letters incorporating red neon. The raceway mimmics an unwound section of film with exposed neon units, advertising Kodak. Coopers' was sold to another DC-based family camera operation, Penn Camera. The store re-opened as Penn, a few miles away, in Pikesville.
ALSO: PHOTOS ADDED OF MISC. BALTIMORE SIGNAGE ON PAGE 5 OF THIS SITE....
RECENT LOSS ...March 2010...My 88' long F.W. WOOLWORTH CO. neon sign lost to snowstorm...see page 8.
NEW TO COLLECTION...April 2010...Lighted swinger from 1922 "St. Casimers Building and Loan Ass'n." It is now my earliest example of a backlit sign...Incandescent lamps...plate glass faces...pics coming soon.