Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Fading Advertisements: Pittsburgh

The city of Pittsburgh has several similarities to that of Cincinnati, both hailing from early American fortifications along Midwestern riverbanks. On top of the similar climates, economies, population size, hills, etc. - their downtowns are both rich with fading advertisements. While I’m sure there’s many more, here’s a few that I came across while recently spending a weekend there.

Some of us gathered to watch German soccer and enjoy breakfast at a bar in the Mt. Washington neighborhood before heading down to the riverbank where FC Cincinnati was on an away trip against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. This sign seen above, well worn and faded to the point of no longer showcasing any product or business, was right across from our morning set up.

There’s a few letters that can be made out here and there, but the only thing really still shining prominently is the name of sign’s creator: Walt Ward, his signature in a style similar to signs here in Cincinnati.

- A nondescript advertisement barely visible on the side of a downtown building.

From as far as I can tell, the Beckert Seed and Bulb Co. seems to be out of business these days, but historical archives feature several of the company’s floral catalogs:

- Image via the Biodiversity Heritage Catalog.

Opening in 1927, years before the ascension of FDR to the presidency, it’s assumed that the hotel seen above is named after Theodore Roosevelt. The hotel itself went out of business around the time of the 1936 Stock Market Crash when another Roosevelt was President. It eventually reopened, lasting until the early 70s before closing again.  Pittsburgh City Paper has a great write up about the former hotel.

These days, the building is known as the Roosevelt Arms and features upscale apartments in the heart of Pittsburgh’s downtown.

- Advertising 1-hour photo film processing?

While I haven't seen a “Fading Ads of Pittsburgh” book crop up yet, there was an exhibit of the city’s ghost signs that was shown in 2014. You can read about it from Pittsburgh Magazine.

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