So at Innovations Branding House, we love all things marketing. This is especially true for the vintage painted ads (more commonly known as ghost signs) found fading on some of our historic downtown buildings. For some time, we at the office have talked about these signs, and it was one afternoon conversation that led to our digital ghost sign restoration project.
As we began posting our recreations to social media, people began to ask where these signs were, and if there were more. Since we had compiled a pretty good list, we decided to make a map so you can easily locate all of these great pieces of art.
Found a sign or want to drop us a line? E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Irvin Cobb Hotel
We’d be remiss if we didn’t take the opportunity to restore the ghost signs on our next door neighbor and Paducah icon, The Irvin Cobb Hotel. You probably know the rich history of the hotel, and its namesake, which first opened in 1929. What you might not know is that the architect, Walter W. Ahlschlager, was fairly renowned in his own right. Not only did he engineer the Irvin Cobb, but he was also the architect for the Medinah Athletic Club in Chicago and the Beacon Theatre in New York City!
The General Electric Logo
Along with Coca-Cola, this has to be one of the most recognizable logos in American History. GE‘s logo has gone mostly unchanged for over 100 years, making the recreation of this ghost sign all the more fun from a branding perspective.
You can check this sign out for yourself on the side of the Paducah Railroad Museum right on Marine Way (2nd St.) & Washington St.!
This excellent ghost sign also has a Paducah connection. “Podolax” was another E.E. Sutherland Medicine Co. product, along with the previously posted “Dr. Bell’s Pine Tar Honey.”
As referenced by the vintage ad pictured, Podolax would’ve been for basically any of your tummy troubles, and then some!
Cardui / Piano Store
This VERY recognizable building on the corner of 3rd & Kentucky Ave. was the backdrop for several different ghost signs in the past several decades and beyond. Patrick really had some fun with this one, even restoring the old L.E Girardey & Co. Piano business that once manufactured pianos right here in Paducah. As you can see, this building has quite a history. You can still make out these layers of ads if you look close enough!
If you didn’t already know, we’re all pretty big fans of old fashioned Coca-Cola here at the office. So we absolutely HAD to recreate this fantastic ghost sign located off of Broadway, tucked just behind the old Columbia Theater on 5th Street.
This ghost sign might not be as recognizable to some, as it isn’t located in a high traffic area. However, if you come from the river down Madison Street, you will be sure to notice this “Old Reliable” gem right before you cross St. Louis Ave!
Very Old Barton
Check out this “VERY OLD” ad on Jefferson Street! The ghost sign for the classic Kentucky Bourbon can be seen heading down Kentucky Avenue just before the 11th St. intersection.
Dr. Bell's Pine Tar Honey
Spread across the city of Paducah and somewhat hidden on these old building walls are some very cool ghost signs. We’ve been fangirling for some time about these historic advertisements and we have taken great joy in trying to recreate them as they would have once appeared.
Can you imagine Alben Barkley walking around at the time this was up?
Who among you knows the story of this building on Jefferson St.?
We came across this ghost sign just past 10th St. during one of our ghost hunting expeditions.
We assume is was previously a distribution center or warehouse for Budweiser stock, but we are unsure of when it might have operated. Do you know or remember? Drop us a line!
Rhodes-Burford's Exchange Company
If you’re heading downtown along MLK you might not have even noticed this faded sign on the corner of 4th and Jefferson. However, that could just be because it’s been there for over a hundred years.
The Rhodes-Burford Company was a furniture store that dates back to the turn of the 20th Century at this exact location. While the main store and inventory was located one block up on the corner of 4th and Broadway, this location at Jefferson was one of four busy branch stores that sold furniture widely known for its “excellence and quality.”
Their reputation allowed the business to grow, adding stores throughout Western Kentucky, Southern Illinois, and Western Tennessee. And according to Paducah Memories, it has many great local memories attached to it! What are some of yours?