I’ve always been fascinated by so-called “ghost signs” and try to take pictures of them whenever I can. And here’s a pretty nice one.
If you don’t know what I mean, “ghost signs” are those left behind long after the businesses they were promoting have vanished. Sometimes these signs are revealed during the restoration of a building; perhaps wallpaper is removed, and an old advertisement comes to light. Sometimes they show up when an old building is demolished, revealing a sign painted long ago on an adjacent (and older) building. And sometimes — like the one shown here, still visible on the concrete walls of the Nettleton Avenue railroad overpass close to the river — they somehow manage to survive even though they’ve been exposed to the elements for decades. (Perhaps this one has been repainted over the years, just for the heck of it — I can’t say for certain.)
This particular sign reminded customers of the Wm. R. Moore dry-goods emporium that was one of our city’s most successful commercial ventures. In addition to being an extremely successful merchant, Moore was a great benefactor, leaving his fortune to build the trade school that still carries his name, the Wm. R. Moore School of Technology — though perhaps it’s better known today as Moore Tech.
This sign is especially intriguing — to me, anyway — because it’s painted in a place — off to the side of the main underpass — where you wouldn’t think many people could see it. And the company itself was quite a few blocks from Nettleton. What were they thinking?
I tell the whole story of William R. Moore here. It would do you good to read it to the children before you go to bed. What else do you have to do?