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East End News

On the lost profession of hand-painting signs

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48 comments

Observer 03/10/2013 at 12:57 PM

It amazes me that the building that houses The Roosevelt used to look like that. Thank goodness it was saved rather than demolished! I’m glad the Bromo-Seltzer sign survived, too!

Every time I drive by the Milam sign on Venable St., I wonder how long it will last and if it will ever be restored like some of the other signs in our area.

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Clay Street 03/10/2013 at 9:03 PM

Jeez, I remember when the building that houses the Roosevelt used to be a Korean fish market (spacing out on the name right now–Cho’s? bullet-proof plexiglass throughout the interior) and was covered in a very poorly-applied white stucco. Everyone was surprised when the stucco was removed and the original painted clapboard was revealed. Very glad they preserved it.

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Mark 03/10/2013 at 10:48 PM

The Milam sign is my favorite one, too.

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Mandy 03/11/2013 at 12:11 PM

The “Uneeda Biscuit” brand is actually the modern day Nabisco. Pretty cool.

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MartinB 03/12/2013 at 2:54 AM

Yeah, I like some of those old signs, too. Quite a bit. Like it less, though, when old signs are being restored / repainted to give buildings that are being reused in a very different way a purely historic shine (in order to raise property values, like: Oh, and you will be acquiring a piece of history!).
And that not only because this is a fairly cynical ploy by cash-in pros, but also because it thwarts the development of anything new – and Church Hill could certainly do with more than a bit of new, something that is more than conservative conservatism.

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Church Hill Vehicle Co. - Church Hill People's News | Richmond, Virginia 07/19/2016 at 8:25 AM

[…] ALSO: On the lost profession of hand-painting signs (March 10, […]

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Eric Huffstutler 02/10/2017 at 4:04 PM

The people who painted these signs were called Wall Dogs and there are societies around the country that promote and restore them. There is one group you can register with and they yearly, pick cities to visit and volunteer to restore signs for them.

When was the last time the Uneeda (Nabisco) sign at 25th and Broad, (or the others seen here) touched up? Has anyone thought about contacting these groups of professional sign painters?

The idea behind these “wall dogs” restoring signs is basically to help with tourism but then again, we know the stance Richmond takes on that.

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