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McDonald's Signs

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McDonald's sign
Huntsville, AL
(now Cincinnati, OH)
McDonald's sign
Green Bay, WI
McDonald's stopped using the Speedee character in its advertising and buildings in the early 1960s. Once commonplace, there are only a two of these neon signs left at operating McDonald's locations (Green Bay and Muncie). Five others are on display at museums (see below) and there may be a few others in private collections.

The Huntsville sign was remarkably well-preserved and lit at night. The sign was built in 1963. The building itself was replaced with a more modern design. A car crashed into the sign in 2007 and damaged it. In 2008, the sign was taken down and is now on display at the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, OH. For more, see 1, 2, and 3.

The vintage Green Bay sign was restored in 2005. This location was built in 1958 or 1959. The building was replaced with a modern one. In 2010, that building was replaced with a retro building. For more, see this website. [map]

McDonald's sign [gone]
Lebanon, IN
McDonald's sign
Muncie, IN
McDonald's sign [gone]
Holts Summit, MO
This Lebanon sign was originally at a location in Lafayette, IN. It was saved and moved to this site in the mid-1990s. But by 2000, it was gone again.

This Muncie sign was installed in 1958 when this location was built. The sign was restored in 2006 and has fully-functioning, animated neon. In 2013, the sign was completely restored. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2. [map]

This Holts Summit sign was originally located in nearby Jefferson City, MO. It was restored and installed on a huge pole at this modern location. The wording on the sign was changed to say "originally was" 15 cents and that the bottom part of the arch was chopped off. In 2011, this sign was removed and replaced with a modern plastic one. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2.

This Phoenix, AZ sign (now gone) shows an even earlier wording and script style at the bottom.

McDonald's sign [gone]
Biloxi, MS
ca. 1998:
2006:
This McDonald's opened in 1962. The sign survived Hurricane Camille in 1969 but the original building did not. In 2005, the sign was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina. It was later replaced with a modern sign. [top photo thanks Rich Kummerlowe]

McDonald's sign
Topeka, KS
McDonald's
Mason City, IA
former McDonald's
San Bernardino, CA
This McDonald's sign in Topeka was built in 1961 for the first McDonald's in Topeka which was the second location built in Kansas. In 1981, the restaurant building was replaced with a new one and the sign was donated to the Kansas State Historical Society. The colorful top part of the sign is displayed at the Kansas Museum of History. For more, see this website. [photo thanks Glenda Campbell]

This McDonald's sign in Mason City is installed at the back of the parking lot of an operating McDonald's. It is a unique mix of styles. The text part of this sign is apparently from an old Speedee style sign. The top part of the sign is the newer "Skinny M" type like those shown at the bottom of this page. The other side of this sign has neon and is lit at night. Does anyone know the story behind this sign? For more, see this website. [map]

This McDonald's sign stands at the site of the first McDonald's restaurant which opened in 1948. In 1953, the original building was replaced with the classic double arches design. The red panel of this sign is apparently all that's left of the sign that was installed then. In 1962, after the chain was sold to Ray Kroc, this location changed its name to Big M and the sign was altered. In 1972, the double arches building was demolished. A music store was built on the site in 1974. In 1998, that building was converted into a McDonald's Museum, of sorts. Without permission from the McDonald's Corporation, it is known as the Unofficial McDonald's Museum. The museum is actually owned by Juan Pollo Restaurants. For more, see these websites: 1, 2, and 3. [map]

McDonald's
Lapeer, MI
McDonald's
Oshkosh, WI
This Lapeer sign is a retro, modern creation. Note the compressed double arch behind Speedee. There is another sign like this in Dearborn Heights, MI. I don't know of any other McDonald's signs like these. There are other modern signs out there that feature single arches and Speedee like these in Bethlehem, PA and Mount Ephraim, NJ. Note that the arch is not the same shape and does not have neon at the top. The Speedee figure is placed on a disk and is not freestanding. [map]

This Oshkosh sign is also a scaled-down, modern plastic version of the old Speedee signs. This location opened in the 1990s or early 2000s. [map]

More Speedee Signs:
Ford Museum (Dearborn, MI)

McDonald's
Winter Haven, FL
McDonald's [gone?]
Lakeland, FL
McDonald's [gone]
Springfield, IL
McDonald's
Belleville, IL
McDonald's [gone]
Joplin, MO
This McDonald's location in Winter Haven features a single arch sign with shields, aka "crest sign". I believe this type of sign was only produced in or around 1962. The shield was based on a McDonald's family crest. The double arch signs were introduced in 1962. [map]

I believe this crest sign in Lakeland is gone now. This photo is from 2005. I did not make note of the address. There are many locations in Lakeland but I don't think any of them have this sign now.

The Springfield crest sign has since been replaced with a modern one.

The Belleville sign appears to be the same style sign but without the crests. The font on that panel is also not italics like the other signs. That panel was probably replaced at the same time that the bottom panel was changed to read "We Value Bellville." For more, see this website. [map]

The Joplin crest sign was installed at the back of the parking lot while a more modern sign was installed near the road. The crest sign appeared to be a reproduction. The horizontal panel of the sign was single-sided and affixed to the front of the arch, without the white mid-section. The arch itself did not have the sections of the original crest signs. This photo is from 2010. By 2013, this McDonald's building had been remodeled or rebuilt and this sign was gone.

McDonald's
Warren, MI
McDonald's
Independence, MO
McDonald's
Lancaster, PA

McDonald's
Magnolia, NJ
McDonald's [gone]
Akron, OH
The lower panel on the Warren crest sign was apparently replaced with a message board at some point. [map]

The Independence and Lancaster signs have apparently had letter panels replaced over the years. The "McDo" panel on the Independence sign is composed of two panels while all the other signs use one panel for those letters. The Lancaster sign is composed of three shades of red. Note that some of these crest signs have red "Hamburgers" panels while others are white. I don't know which came first. [Independence map]; [Lancaster map]

The Magnolia sign was originally located about a mile away. The sign was moved here when that location closed. This location has a modern building but this sign remains. For more, see this website. [map]

The Akron sign appeared to have been updated somewhat when this photo was taken in 2007. The crests were replaced with McDonald's logos. By 2009, the McDonald's building was updated and this sign was replaced with a new one.

More Shield Signs
Pine Bluff, AR: 1, 2
Penn Hills, PA [early 1960s; gone]

McDonald's
Austin, MN
McDonald's
Westland, MI
McDonald's
Tacoma, WA
McDonald's
San Jose, CA
McDonald's
Yuba City, CA
McDonald's
Bangor, ME
McDonald's
Middletown, CT
McDonald's
Milford, CT
McDonald's
Freehold, NJ
McDonald's
Northampton, MA
McDonald's
Topeka, KS
McDonald's
Richmond, IN
McDonald's
Muncie, IN
McDonald's
North Syracuse, NY
I believe these "Skinny M" double arch signs were built in the early 1970s. While they are getting rarer, there are still at least a few dozen left around the country at this point. The ones shown here are just a sampling.

The Tacoma sign is the most interesting since it reads "Restaurant" rather than "Hamburgers." Like some of the other signs shown above, the "McDonald's" letters are beveled rather than flat. There is another one like this in Renton, WA. I think the older sign panels were swapped for the "Restaurant" panels later on. [map]

The San Jose sign reads "Drive-Thru" insteads of "Hamburgers." [map]

The Austin sign must be older than the others since it still had the capability of changing the number of "Billions Served". [map]

The North Syracuse location has two of these signs: one at both sides of the lot's entrances. [map]

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