Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

We ain't afraid of no...Ghost Signs

Baker Block - downtown Deseronto
 Facebook. Hmm. Love/hate relationship to be sure. But a great source for good news feeds from trusted sources.

This morning I picked up a gem. Here's a link to an outstanding article about a topic which has long fascinated me (and judging from the comments the writer has received, many others.)
The piece is written by Stephan Petar and is titled 'Why I Love Ghost Signs.' Follow the link, and my work here is done.

The site places the genesis of this building art advertising phenomenon in the 1860s. I love the photos Stephan includes, of sign-painted walls unearthed during demolitions - turns out the occasional builder constructed 3 walls and used the neighbour's external wall to close the box!

Stephan dubs these fading advertisements on the sides of buildings (his focus is the wealth of examples in Toronto) "historical pieces of art." I agree - history fading before our eyes. There's a debate about whether to restore them or let them continue to age gracefully. Oddly, I think I fall into the latter camp.
Naylor's Theatre - the place to be seen in the 1890s

 Like all historic media from old TV shows to ephemera like calenders and catalogues, these signs give us insight into ourselves - what  attracted and motivated us. Grabbing this history before it disappears are a number of photographers who share this same fascination with ghost signs.

Why I Love Ghost Signs includes a link to an even more extensive review of the art, Love the gallery of outdoor advertising signs from Winnipeg!

Last fall I spent a day in Deseronto; I have been planning some posts about its rich (literally) history for some time. For now - some of that worthy town's ghost signs.

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