Vintage Sign Post: Arne’s Royal Hawaiian

I’ve been a longtime fan of old signs. I think they’re so much more interesting than today’s common backlit box signs. They’re more expensive, but are a great detail for any business.

Driving around Southern California there are still a lot of cool old signs, although they are being torn down on the regular. I lost all my old pictures on my last computer (an expensive and sad lesson learned about the values of external hard drives) so I often bring my camera with me to recapture old faves and stop whenever I come across new-to-me vintage gems.

If you’ve ever driven from SoCal to Las Vegas, you may have noticed the giant thermometer out in the desert counting the crazy-high Summer temps. That is in the city of Baker, which is also home to a few gas stations, quick serve food spots, and an intergalactic jerky station with an empty lot nearby that claims to soon be an UFO-theme hotel (another post on that later, promise!).

As you cruise through Baker’s main drag, you will also see the remains of Arne’s Royal Hawaiian Motel, including the beautifully decrepit signs.

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To be clear, Baker is on the way to Vegas or the turn off towards Death Valley, so it’s not exactly a lush paradise.

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It has obviously been closed for a few years, and even though the sun was out and I wasn’t alone, I didn’t want to venture too far into this Polynesian hideaway– I was a little creeped out! I do wish I had seen it in it’s heyday, probably before the mega resorts of Vegas became commonplace.

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I did like the turquoise color way with diamond detail. Part of me would love to see someone swoop in and refurb this whole place into an Instagram worthy hotspot straight out of an old Mad Men episode, but Baker is just too close to Vegas.

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So next time you pass by the thermometer, stop and pay the Royal Hawaiian a quick visit (from the safety of your car).

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Vintage Signage Post: Merrill Motel & The Polar Bear

I’ve been a longtime fan of old signs. I think they’re so much more interesting than today’s common backlit box signs. They’re more expensive, but are a great detail for any business.

Driving around Southern California there are still a lot of cool old signs around, although they are being torn down on the regular. I lost all my old pictures on my last computer (an expensive and sad lesson learned about the values of external hard drives) so I often bring my camera with me to recapture old faves and stop whenever I come across new-to-me vintage gems.

Over the Summer I took a trip up in the PNW where we passed through many interesting towns. One of them was Merrill, Oregon. I loved the look of a small motel and diner.

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This sign is a bit more contemporary than what I usually stop for, but I loved the wooden “welcome” sign underneath the motel sign.

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Just off the road are the rooms– I don’t know if it is just these 3, but I love their shade covering; it has a little Googie vibe.

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Then just down the road we came upon the Polar Bear. It looked like an awesome classic diner.

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Their neon sign has some deco details and I thought the painted windows were pretty cute!

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Their burger & fries sign with arrow may have seen better days, but it has the patina of classic advertising. Both businesses were pleasant surprises to the vintage traveler out on the road.

Vintage Signage Post: Sno-Flake Drive In

I’ve been a longtime fan of old signs. I think they’re so much more interesting than today’s common backlit box signs. They’re more expensive, but are a great detail for any business.
Driving around Southern California there are still a lot of cool old signs around, although they are being torn down on the regular. I lost all my old pictures on my last computer (an expensive and sad lesson learned about the values of external hard drives) so I often bring my camera with me to recapture old faves and stop whenever I come across new-to-me vintage gems.
I came across Sno-Flake Drive-in in the Lake Tahoe area over the summer. I’m a big fan of old burger joints anyway so when they have retained their vintage vibe it’s even better.

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Unfortunately it was too early in the morning to get a milkshake when I took these pics, but hopefully I’ll visit again to try them out and admire their sign. I love the detail in the ice cream and the little snowflakes.

Did you know that January 4th is National Trivia Day? To keep on the milkshake theme– did you know that they are called “cabinets” in Rhode Island? But these shakes do not include ice cream. Thanks to Aviva Trivia for having a trivia page on milkshakes!

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Vintage Signage Post: Trade Winds

I’ve been a longtime fan of old signs. I think they’re so much more interesting than today’s common backlit box signs. They’re more expensive, but are a great detail for any business.
Driving around Southern California there are still a lot of cool old signs around, although they are being torn down on the regular. I lost all my old pictures on my last computer (an expensive and sad lesson learned about the values of external hard drives) so I often bring my camera with me to recapture old faves and stop whenever I come across new-to-me vintage gems.

This is the Trade Winds Motel. Found in a very busy area just off the freeway in Long Beach, you’ll come across it if you’re cruising down Carson to get to the LB flea. It’s across from a giant shopping center, so it may be easier to park across the street and shoot from there.

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I think it’s interesting that the “MOTEL” sign is what is so large and can be seen from driving by. It’s not until you’re close that you actually see the name. The star accents and minty color makes it an old favorite.

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Between the insane number of wires strung on the street and building and the giant strip mall sign behind it, I wasn’t able to find an angle with a perfectly clear view. But hey, this is what it looks like. Maybe some day I’ll learn photoshop and figure out how to edit out phone lines.

Vintage Signage Post: Doll Hut

I’ve been a longtime fan of old signs. I think they’re so much more interesting than today’s common backlit box signs. They’re more expensive, but are a great detail for any business.
Driving around Southern California there are still a lot of cool old signs around, although they are being torn down on the regular. I lost all my old pictures on my last computer (an expensive and sad lesson learned about the values of external hard drives) so I often bring my camera with me to recapture old faves and stop whenever I come across new-to-me vintage gems.
I came across the Doll Hut sign after leaving Disneyland and cutting through cross streets to hit up a local thrift shop. It’s situated on this little caul-de-sac that looks more industrial than dive bar.

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I looked it up online and it turns out it’s a bar & venue for bands– not all that far from Chain Reaction if you’re a concert goer in Anaheim. I love the house graphics on the sign; the roof and window are fantastic. I haven’t seen it at night so I don’t know if the neon is still working.

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This is my first “signage” post, but I have many local sign photos and am always on the lookout for new ones, so check back for more in the future!