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.
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.
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.