Ghost Signs

Ghost Signs

My fascination with these ‘ghost signs’ started with an old Mail Pouch chewing tobacco sign painted on a barn. A perfect example of an old art form.  Every time I drove to visit my parents I passed through Layton, New Jersey (water gap) and it was right there.

The sign was there so long years later they changed the name of the town, now Peters Valley, and it was still on the road.

Ghost Signs
Ghost Signs

Many ghost signs from the 1890s to 1960s are still visible, they were most commonly used in the decades before the Great Depression.

Ghost signs were originally painted with oil-based house paints. The painters of the signs were called “wall dogs”. Some signs remain because that old paint also had lead and it strongly adhered to the masonry surface.

Ghost Signs
Ghost Signs

These photographs were taken in and around Ashville, North Carolina. Philadelphia, PA , Detroit, MI, and Richmond, Virginia are places with known pockets of these signs.

Ghost Signs
Ghost Signs
Ghost Signs
Ghost Signs
Ghost Signs
Ghost Signs
Ghost Signs
Ghost Signs

8 thoughts on “Ghost Signs”

    1. Thanks. I do love some of the old signs. My true ‘first love’ was the Silvercup Bread sign by the 59th street bridge. I can smell the bread baking at night just by thinking of it 😂😂😂. My old neighborhood as a kid. I know they have redone the sign many times over, not the same I’m sure 😁😁😁.

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