Ad Art on Buildings

Over the past year, I have been taking photos of what I call Ad Art on buildings. You’ve seen it all over the place, but maybe haven’t thought much about it. Well, we’re going to make a poster of some of the more prominent ad art, old and new.  There are so many cool ones, such as this one from the old Addis store:

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These remnants of painted ladies are beneath the ad, near street level:

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Higher up and at 3rd story window level, you see this:

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There are faded out ones you can’t make out anymore:
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And there are ones that have been repainted (love them!!)
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But the one that has people buzzing these days (can it be preserved? can it be registered so it can be preserved?) is this one I just took a photo of last night:
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Check out the Ad Art on buildings around where you live. You’ll be surprised at how much there is, old and new!

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sandra Lawrence
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 13:27:37

    We have a few ads left on the old buildings in Portland. You have inspired me to photograph them!


  2. Pam
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 13:41:33

    Sandy – I can’t wait to see your photos! I love advertising art on buildings.


  3. John S. Patterson
    Jan 30, 2013 @ 05:51:19

    I never saw any of these ads but I remember the days when the Addis Company was doing business alongside Flahs. It’s interesting to remember the Salina Street of those days, 1942 – 1960, when Salina St. was thriving from Adams Street to Clinton Square with many small businesses and an art movie theater beyond that.
    Movie theaters on Salina Street back then:

    Beginning down near Adams and Salina Streets:

    The Civic Theater – An old theater used for movies and theater productions by The Ken Bowles Company

    At Harrison and Salina:

    The Loews Strand Theater – Another Loew’s theater, from back in the day when movie studios also owned strings of movie houses. The houses were built to also house live theater productions and I remember seeing Maria Riva–Marlene Dietriech’s daughter–in “Tea and Sympathy” there.

    On the other side of Harrison, on Salina Street:

    The Empire Theater – An small independent theater that was also built so it could house movies and live theater. In the 1950s a professional Equity theater was housed there. I remember seeing Paul Muni there and Edward Everett Horton.
    Those were McCarthy Days and the company was accused or suspected of being “Communist”. Muni had been obliged to go before the House Un-American Activities Committee as were many people during the period when the Federal government decided to stamp out the Communist party, its members and its sympathizers. What Muni’s politics were I don’t know but he was a renowned actor, active in the highest level of American theater and film. He was blacklisted and was touring in a production to places like this tiny theater in Syracuse. Eventually, the company was so vilified and assaulted by the newspapers that it closed down for lack of financial support. I have looked for records of that theater company but couldn’t find any. It’s as if that company and that artistic endeaor had never happened. A very few old timers remember but most don’t!

    Next on Salina Street

    The Paramount Theater

    This was also a movie theater where live theater could be staged. It was built in the movie palace genre and was very tasteful. On the second floor there was a large balcony area. There was a large oval with beautiful white masonry around it and you could look down on the entry lobby. It was part of the Paramount Studio string.

    Next on Salina Street

    Keith’s Theater

    Another movie palace type. Primarily a movie theater. I don’t remember any productions being stage there.

    Next at Jefferson and Salina Streets:

    The Loew’s State Theater now the Landmark

    A grand movie palace with all those wall coverings and the elegant staircase and upstairs, second floor lounge. That lounge used to be filled with antiques: chairs, a white glass reproduction of the Taj Mahal lit from inside, and also a small gold fish pool with real goldfish in it.

    Around the corner, going east on Fayette Street

    The Eckel Theater

    Strictly a movie house. Very basic, no particular decoration. It showed second run movies.

    Going west on Fayette Street

    The Novelty and The Rivoli

    These were small early movie houses. We called them “”The 14 cent” show because at that time you could get in for that price. It showed mostly old westerns and other old movies. These had been some of the original movie theaters in Syracuse.

    Across Salina, beyond Clinton Square

    An art house that showed foreign films. I don’t remember the cost nor the films but I went there a few times.

    The Salina/Warren Street area was thriving then and it was a downtown shopping hub which mixed people of different races, ethnicities, and economic levels. There were two large anchor stores: Dey Brothers and, much later, Sibleys. There was also W.T. Grants, Kresges, Woolworths, Wells and Coverly, a Syracuse Brooks Brothers, Rudolphs Jewelry, Three Sisters (now the galleries), and many other stores. Add to that, stores and the Hotel Onondaga —where Central High 1954 held our Senior Prom—on Warren Street you had a downtown where most people shopped by going “downtown”. That was before the suburbanization of Syracuse and the country.


  4. John S. Patterson
    Jan 30, 2013 @ 06:13:28

    As for the ads: Addis’s was one of the upscale downtown store. Flah’s was the other. They had showings of new fashions for wealthy customers and the mother of a school friend of mine was employed as a seamstress, full-time, for either Addis’s or Flah, fitting expensive fashions to the rich clientele the stores attracted. I did not know that Addis’s had been around since 1916 but I do know that I never shopped there, and a couple times I think my mother shopped there for very special gifts. It’s wonderful that you are saving the memory of these vintage ads.


  5. Jayne
    Feb 02, 2013 @ 19:02:14

    There are some old department stores in downtown Chattanooga that have been converted into condos and many of the walls still bear the “Lovemans” or “Miller Bros.” lettering on them and many people have incorporated them into their decor. It’s so neat to see the old lettering and ads.


  6. Mary Ann Fry
    Feb 16, 2013 @ 16:56:03

    The ad I remember is the Addis Co. I was always fascinated with the Addis store and after I was married was determined to buy an artcle of clothing from there. I purchased a white cardigan with no buttons. I wore the sweater for years and years until it finally began to yellow. I paid $7. for the sweater which was pricey in earlier years. That proves the quality of the clothes that were sold at the store. What a great idea to preserve this work of “art”. Love, Mum


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