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San Jose Signs

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Wing's Chinese Restaurant [gone]
San Jose, CA
Home Depot
San Jose, CA
El Catrin
San Jose, CA
Wing's Chinese Restaurant opened in 1925, making it the oldest restaurant in San Jose. This sign is probably from the late 1940s or 1950s. The sign was built by the Electrical Products Corp. (EPCO). The restaurant closed and the sign was removed in 2019. It is now in History San Jose storage until a permanent location is found. For more, see this website.

This Home Depot sign previously advertised for a Mervyn's department store which was located here originally. I believe this sign went up in 1969. The Mervyn's closed in 2005 and Home Depot adapted the existing sign in 2008. For more, see this website. [map]

The El Catrin bar's bulb-filled cocktail glass rests on top of a backlit plastic sign. El Catrin has been there since at least 2008. The space previously housed the Boots and Saddle bar. [map]

Story Rd.
San Jose, CA
Almaden Expressway
San Jose, CA
Camden Ave.
San Jose, CA
S. Bascom Ave.
San Jose, CA
11th St.
San Jose, CA
I believe these trapezoidal 7-Eleven signs are from the 1960s or early 1970s. There are other examples in Oakland, CA and La Verne, CA. I don't know of any of this design outside of Northern California.

The Story Rd. original pole sign panels remain. [map]

The Almaden Expressway pole sign panels were replaced in 2020. [map]

The Camden Ave. pole sign panels were also replaced in 2020. [map]

The S. Bascom Ave. pole sign panels remain intact. [map]

The 11th St. pole sign with it's green border might not be as old as the others above. However, it still has the very rare trapezoidal shape. The sign on the building appears to be the same age. The Camden and S. Bascom locations have similar signs over their entrances. The Almaden Expressway also has an even longer sign like this on its building. [map].

There are a couple of other signs like those in the top row above in San Diego.

Westside Billiards
San Jose, CA
2014: 2024:

The Westside Billiards opened in 1953 and this sign was installed then. In 2024, the panels were repainted and the neon restored. The star's bulbs and 8-ball will also be restored. [map]

Casa Linda Motel
San Jose, CA
Stephen's Meat Products
San Jose, CA
The Casa Linda Motel was built in 1950. This sign is probably from then. It went by a different name originally and had a neon piece on top. This photo is from 2016. By 2017, the wooden wheel spokes were gone. For more, see this website. [map]

Stephen's Meat Products moved to the Montgomery St. location in 1948. A neon script text sign on the building which is now in History San Jose storage probably preceded this sign which was installed in the 1950s. The "Dancing Pig" sign was built by the Electrical Products Corporation (EPCO). The combined panels are about 15 feet tall. When the sign was fully operational, the pig's feet, arms and tail moved in two-part animation. The accent channel strip of 63 gold bulbs at the bottom of the sign flashed in sequence. Three neon colors were used on the sign: pink for "Pure Pork Sausage," white for the business name, and gold for the pig.

After Stephen's closed in 2007, the building was demolished and replaced with a parking lot. The sign remained in place and was lit now and then. In 2018, it was announced that the property was being purchased by Google. The sign is now owned by Google and they will be responsible for maintaining the sign. The Preservation Action Council of San Jose stepped in to ensure the sign's safety during the redevelopment which will take a couple of years. The Council raised over $35,000 for the sign's restoration. The work was done on-site by Young Electric Sign Co. (YESCO) in 2019. The bullet holes in the panels were considered part of the sign's history. They were preserved and sealed from behind to protect the sign's internal components. In 2022, the sign was temporarily installed at History Park while the Google property is under construction. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2. [map]

Orchard Supply Hardware
San Jose, CA
2014: 2022:
Orchard Supply Hardware was established in 1931. In 1946, the company moved to this location. This sign is from the 1950s. It has been restored several times. Around 2015, the store moved to a new building. This building will most likely be demolished. In 2018, the sign was stolen and recovered. The sign was moved to storage at History San Jose. The neon was broken and had to be restored. The sign is now displayed at History Park. For more, see this website. [map]

City Cleaners
San Jose, CA
Wheel Works [gone]
San Jose, CA
Original Joe's
San Jose, CA
Dollar Dan
San Jose, CA
The City Cleaners sign is probably from the 1940s or 1950s. The neon on both sides of the sign was covered with plastic panels to protect it from vandals. [map]

The Wheel Works sign originally advertised for the Tire Service Company. The business opened in 1946. The signs were built by the Electrical Products Corporation (EPCO). They may have been installed in the mid-1950s. The store closed in 2018. The sign was removed by 2019. It is now in a private collection.

The first Original Joe's restaurant opened in 1937 in San Francisco. This location opened in 1956. The exterior looks the same. The sign letters were probably replicated at some point. For more, see this website. [map]

This cowboy or prospector sign, known as Dealin' Dollar Dan, stood in front of the Gold Rush Motors used car lot in the 1990s. I don't if this sign was there before that. Service Rent-a-Car is the business on the lot now but this sign remains. [map]

Metropole Hotel
San Jose, CA
Firato Ravioli Delicatessen
San Jose, CA
The Metropole Hotel opened in 1903. The sign was built by the Electrical Products Corp. and may be from the 1940s. The sign was removed in the late 1990s when building renovation began. It remained in storage until 2020 when it was restored and installed in the garden area next to the Camino Brewing Company. [map]

The Firato Ravioli Delicatessen opened around 1922. This sign was installed by the mid-1920s. The deli closed in 1977 but this sign remains. The letters at the top and bottom of the sign were most likely opal glass originally. [map]

5-Spot Drive-in
San Jose, CA
The 5-Spot Drive-in opened in 1931. The 5-Spot was a coffee shop until the 1950s when it became a drive-in. These signs were most likely built then. The 5-Spot closed in 2001. It reopened in 2007 as the 5-Spot Chivas Grill. For more, see these websites: 1, 2, and 3. [map]

Hill's Flowers
San Jose, CA
Hill's Flowers was established in the 1920s. The rooftop sign is probably from the late 1920s or early 1930s. The neon script on the building is from later. [map]

Hotel Sainte Claire
San Jose, CA
The Hotel Sainte Claire was built in 1926. Both of these signs were probably installed a few years later. The blade sign probably did not have channel letters originally. The neon letters were likely installed separately on the panels, a practice typical of signs of this era. The borders were, most likely, beaded tin instead of neon. I don't know when the channel letters were added. Originally, the rooftop sign read "Hotel Sainte Claire." From around 2007-2010, it read "Larkspur Sainte Claire." The "Larkspur" letters were later removed. These photos are from 2014. The hotel is now known as the Westin San Jose and "WESTIN" letters were installed at the top of the rooftop sign. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2. [map]

Coast Counties Peterbilt
San Jose, CA
Hyde Park U-Save Liquors
San Jose, CA
Y-Not Enterprises
San Jose, CA
Mr. T's Liquor Locker
San Jose, CA
The Coast Counties Peterbilt truck and trailer dealership was established in 1949. This sign may be from then. [map]

Hyde Park U-Save Liquors was part of the U-Save Liquors chain. This sign is probably from the 1950s. There are similar signs in Merced, Fresno, Redwood City, and elsewhere in Northern California. [map]

Y-Not Enterprises, an adult toy, book and video store, adapted this sign when it opened in 1974. This sign originally advertised for the Y-Not bar which was here originally. The "Y" originally depicted a martini glass. This sign is believed to be from the mid-1960s. It was originally animated. The sign originally read "Cocktail" where it now reads "Open." For more, see this website. [map]

The Mr. T's Liquor Locker sign is probably from the 1960s. For more, see this website. [map]

Center Paint
Company [gone]
San Jose, CA
San Jose, CA
Western Appliance
San Jose, CA
This Center Paint Company sign was probably from 1955. It was moved to this location in 1965. The store is closed. In 2018, the sign was removed. For more, see this website.

In 1998, Safeway reworked this former Futurama Bowl sign. The bowling alley opened in 1961. It was designed by Powers, Daly and DeRosa. The bowling alley closed in 1992. The circles on the bottom part of the sign originally spelled out "BOWL" and the sign was topped with a bowling pin. [map]

According to Western Appliance's website, the company was established in 1873. However, a painted sign on the store's exterior says "since 1927." This sign was built in 1962 by Electrical Products Corp./Federal Sign. According to one source, since rooftop signs were prohibited at the time, the sign was designed was a pole sign which pierces the roof. Another source states that when the store expanded, the sign's poles were integrated into the building since local ordinances would not allow the sign to be moved. The sign originally had red, blue, and green flashing lights on top of the three spikes. The lights were turned off when the City decided that they confused planes heading to the San Jose Airport. The neon arrow originally flashed. In 2020, the store announced that it would be closing. There's no information yet on what will happen with the sign. It is still there and the building is vacant in 2022. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2. [map]

Andy's Pet Shop
San Jose, CA
2008: 2014:
Andy's Pet Shop opened here in 1950. This sign projected into the intersection and had to be repaired a few times after being hit by trucks. In the 1970s, the sign was badly damaged. The original text panel was green and looked like this. The parrot part of the sign may be original. In 2010, Andy's Pet Shop moved to a new location. The sign was installed on a truck near the store for a while. It is now displayed inside the store. For more, see this website. [first photo thanks Mark Comstock]

former Elite Cleaners
San Jose, CA
2014: 2015:
The former Elite Cleaners sign is probably from the 1950s. The cleaners moved to a new location in 2014 and this sign was adapted for The Table restaurant and the Willow Glen neighborhood. The Elite Cleaners sign probably had neon text originally and it might have advertised for another business. [map]

Kim's Market
San Jose, CA
This Squirt sign at Kim's Market is probably from the 1960s or early 1970s. These privilege signs were provided free of charge to businesses by the companies that were advertised. In 2019, 2nd Bazaar moved into the building and blacked out the Kim's Market name at the bottom of the sign. There are or were similar signs in Bartley, NE, Sunol, NE, and Boston, MA. [map]

Kogura Company
San Jose, CA
former Dick's Supermarket [gone]
San Jose, CA
The Kogura Company store opened in 1928. They moved to the current location in 1934. This sign had been installed by 1936. It originally read "Kogura Co.," on top with "Radio" in the middle, and "Sewing Machines" at the bottom. Since at least 2007, the top read "Gifts" on top, "Kogura Co." in the middle, and "Oriental Arts" at the bottom. When the sign was restored in 2022, that text at the bottom was changed to read "Established 1928." The sign was repainted from brown to blue. For more, see these websites: 1, 2 , and 3. [map]

Dick's Supermarket was built in 1948. The building was demolished in 2021.

More San Jose:
Cambrian Park Plaza
City Center Motel
Dive Bar [gone]
Food Bowl
Kentucky Fried Chicken
Pied Piper Exterminators [gone]
San Jose Radiator
Time Deli
Winchester Shopping Center
various theatres

Alameda Bakersfield Fresno Hayward &
San Leandro
Long Beach Los Angeles
Oakland Sacramento San Diego Area San Francisco Stockton Museum of
Neon Art
Valley Relics Museum Other

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