Saturday, January 3, 2015

Back Alleys and Ghost Signs

It's not like there aren't a dozen more important tasks that I should be doing now, but it's so hard to fight the pull of the road on a Saturday morning, especially when I haven't been out and about for a while.   I decided to hit the road toward the west out of Tulsa, and my goal would be photographing back alleys and finding ghost signs.  I can't say I was particularly successful at either, but it was a nice drive to Sapulpa, Kellyville, Depew, and Bristow anyway.

I drove on old Route 66, of course.  That's a given.  It's a familiar road for me, so I felt the need to dig deeper to find some interesting sites.  I wasn't altogether successful.  I only found one legitimate ghost sign, in Bristow, although all three towns have several newly painted wall signs, but I can't count them as real ghost signs.  Ghost signs must be old and faded and almost unreadable.  This one, in Bristow, is just such a sign.  In fact, I have no idea what it says.  Anyone have any ideas?
Most of you know that I love back alleys.  I like to see the seemier side of downtown Main Streets, where the front gets all the primping and makeup and the rear is just utilitarian and neglected.  Here are two from Bristow.

Fake oil derricks are popping up everywhere.  The big one in West Tulsa at the Route 66 Village is the biggie, but I found two more today, one in Kellyville. . .
. . . and one in Sapulpa.
No trip west would be complete without a visit to the Shoe Tree, which is actually two Shoe Trees these days.  After the original one died and fell down, two others were "adopted" by shoe throwers, and it looks like this was a great summer for slinging footwear.  Both trees are sprouting all manner of boots, sneakers, heels, etc.

I never noticed this beautiful Gulf station in Sapulpa before, but I sure noticed it now!  It is a block off Old Route 66 but its in pristine shape and there's a gorgeous vintage pickup in front.
On the way back to Tulsa, I had to stop and take a photo of the new Gateway Route 66 monument which was erected last month.   There has been a lot of talk of its placement, which frankly couldn't be worse.  The people from the city who were responsible for it's placement have been told how unhappy we roadies are about the inability to take pictures of it from any angle or direction without a sign, wires, poles, and even a dead tree in the way.  These issues are supposed to be corrected "eventually".  Meanwhile, the identical sign on the eastern Gateway is much more photogenic.
I was home by noon.  The day is continuing to get darker and less conducive to road rambling.  Tomorrow,  weather permitting, I'm going to drive up to Afton to hang out with some friends up there.  I can't wait!


Susan Yates said...

Your Bristow ghost sign looks a little like an old Grapette Soda sign. I just found dozens in Google Images but don't know how to copy and paste one here. Don't think I can! This link might (or might not!) work:

Susan Yates said...

I was unsuccessful at creating an active link to the Grapette sign, but the address can be copied and dropped in the address box to take you to a photo that might be what your sign's image once was.

Susan Yates said...

And one more comment on this post--Sapulpa has another beautifully restored service station not far from the GULF. You've probably seen it but maybe not all of your readers have. It's the Waite Phillips/Barnsdall Service Station on the corner of Lee Avenue and Water Street, a block south of Route 66/Dewey Avenue. Its restoration was a project of the Sapulpa Historical Society and the SHS and Sapulpa Museum are housed in an historic hotel building across the street.

Laurel said...

I thought Grapette sounded likely too, because of the oval shape. I have an old Grapette cooler at the Station which features that same shape.
I did know about the other restored station in Sapulpa, and in fact I may have a photo of it here on the blog. I'm not sure and don't have time this morning to find it, but later I'll research that and post it again. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Cool stuff Laurel. That Gulf station IS a beauty. Did you stop and talk to them at all?

I thought the ghost sign might be a Sunbeam bread sign, but the "S" at the beginning seems a little too "stylized". Still, it's an oval logo with an S, so maybe...sign image here...

Reading the comments above though, I guess we're not all in agreement that it even is an "S". You guys think it's a "G", for Grapette?


Jeff Wilkinson said...

That is an interesting find! I agree with Susan Yates that it's a Grapette sign. The latter part is somewhat unreadable, but the style of the "G" in the front is unmistakeable.


Jeff Wilkinson
Oklahoma City

Laurel said...

I'm going to make a new blog post called "Grapette" where I will show the comparison of the ghost sign in Bristow and the one I have at Afton Station. Then maybe we can come to some conclusion.

Trevor Hilton said...

I have an old pair of steel-toed work boots hanging on that tree

Laurel said...

If I'd known that, Trevor, I would have looked for them and taken a picture of them! LOL