I have heard that many signs in Albuquerque, including the aforementioned, (in DCF discussion "The Huge Arrow at Whole Foods on Carlisle: What's the story?"), Arrow at Indian School and Carlisle, are protected now by some City ordinance. I have been searching for more info on the city's website, but only found a history of signs in Burque and nothing about the ordinance or the signs that are protected.

I must assume this is true though, for why else would there be the Arrow as mentioned before, a bowling pin for a Staples sign at Menaul and San Pedro, or a guy that looks like one of the Three Musketeers on the east side of 4th St, north of Griegos who used to promote a motel called The Cavalier, but now makes me wonder if the school has a pool. What I heard about this ordinance was that structurally the signs can not be changed, but they may be painted differently, like the old Leo's Liquor sign at 12th and Candelaria, (pictured), that has become the sign for the new Medicine Chest. The sign had to stay...the same - but different.

Another of my searches of old signs in Albuquerque landed more historic nostalgia and some of our other suspect signs, like the bowling pin and the Aztec Motel on Central. There is even a picture of the old El Vado motel sign on Central not too far from the river and Old Town, and "The Westward Ho" (which begs me to wonder if they are westward). There are many of these signs all over town.

Does anyone know about this ordinance? Don't you wish someone would repaint that Musketeer?

Views: 146

Tags: albuquerque, historic

Comment by Tamra Hays on February 28, 2009 at 11:55pm
I don't know about the ordinance, but family lore has it that my uncle, Eugene Zwoyer, helped engineer the arrow so that it won't fall over. Uncle Eugene was chair of Civil Engineering at UNM in the 60s. He also worked on the long span over The Pit and the domed roof of the old Civic Auditorium near the old St. Joseph's Hospital.
Comment by The DitchRider on March 1, 2009 at 2:42am
There is no protection for most old signs. There has been an effort to have a "garden" of these old signs on the Central Ave. median somewhere.

You brought up a couple of my favorites. The Cavalier Motel sign sure deserves restoration. But there are many ghosts of old neon signage dotting ABQ's streets. Some along 66 have been recently restored.

I heard that many of the neon signs were taken out of service because of conflicts with Ladybird Johnson's "Beautify America" law which banned things like motion, flashing, and other visual distractions.
Comment by jeff on March 1, 2009 at 6:59am
yeah, no protective ordinance that i know of. the current sign ordinance makes most of those signs legal but non-conforming, for usually exceeding allowable height or signage area. they become valuable because of that, in addition to having a kitsch value. i worked on a project with an existing non-conforming sign and the demolition contractor scraped the site and accidentally removed the sign post. once it was gone, no replacing. had the owner sprung for hiring the architect to do construction observation, that wouldn't have happened. how's that for a sunday morning parable?
Comment by killbox on March 1, 2009 at 9:27am
Ive wondered too, even fairly plain signs, like the American Inn,

Get left behind, some great treasures liek the Zia Motel, too, and my favorite random left behind sign,

The royal fork.
Comment by cathyray on March 1, 2009 at 12:29pm
I know I am showing my age but I love, love, love old signs & neon. Always have! If there was anyway to get one in my yard, I would. I think they are national treasures. When I saw the staples bowling ball I was thrilled. My next thought was that staples most likely didn't give a dang about cool. It was about the money. Leaving the existing outer structure made dollars & cents to them or easier permitting or something like that. Besides, it was big & up in the air & already there. Uncle Jess is right on. I still dig it, tho. when I win the lotto I am going to go around saving signs.
Comment by Sarahjmd on March 1, 2009 at 1:07pm
cathyray...I'm with you.I LOVE the signs. There used to be a bar down on Candelaria, many, many years ago called the Seguaro and there was a little cactus sign. I wanted it so bad. I wanted to steal it, as the bar was long gone and the property looked abandon. Then one day it was gone. I was really sad, but realized that I was probably spared of a life of crime.

I am pretty sure the Medicine Chest was told they could not take the Leo's sign down. They could change it though. When the City chose Los Candelarias as the first of 6 Village Centers planned for the future, the planner assigned to it was the one who told me about the sacred signs. I'm gonna have to find that fellow and report back to ya'll.
Comment by killbox on March 1, 2009 at 2:52pm
Sarahjmd you should check out this pbs/google documentary video.
The Neon Road
Comment by AM on March 1, 2009 at 5:50pm
There used to be a gigantic candy cane at a confectionery on Lomas, but it seems to have been taken down.
Comment by Sarahjmd on March 1, 2009 at 5:55pm
Killbox, we loved that video. My husband even turned off the ultimate fighting to watch with me. Thank you. I was grinning through the whole reel. Opps - showing my age again.
Comment by Sarahjmd on March 1, 2009 at 6:07pm
AM - I think that was See's Candy Store, or was it Buffet's. I am sad to hear it is gone : >(

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