Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Harts Signs on Lake Road in Avon Lake

Looking east on U.S. 6 this past weekend
Anyone who has commuted to Cleveland on Lake Road (U.S. 6) through Avon Lake during the last 20 years has undoubtedly noticed the homemade sign in front of the Hart family's property at 32842 Lake Road, just west of State Route 83.

Well, it looks like the end of an era, because the property was recently sold – meaning that the sign will almost certainly be coming down.

For decades, James and Doreen Hart greeted passing motorists with their large, colorful sign, whose theme changed with the seasons. (The Thanksgiving version had a pilgrim hat, the July 4th had a firecracker, etc.)

Each sign has the family's "signature," THE HARTS enclosed in a red heart.

I've always watched for the Harts' sign during my commutes on Lake Road, going back to the 1980s. It was sort of a checkpoint that indicated what kind of progress I was making on my commute, since much of the route between Avon Lake and Bay Village looks much the same.

There was something reassuring about seeing that sign year after year, especially in an era in which people are constantly on the move, and lakefront properties are rapidly changing hands. Plus, it was fun watching to see which version of the sign was currently on display.

So, I'm going to miss those signs. They were not only a unique touch of roadside Americana, but also a reminder of a simpler, more innocent time.

UPDATE (9-23-2014)
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Hart, and was informed by him that although the house on Lake Road has been sold, the tradition of the seasonal HARTS sign will happily live on. His son Jeffrey and his wife plan to install the sign post at their home on Deerfield Drive in Avon Lake and continue to offer curbside greetings to the community.


Anonymous said...

There's an Uncle Sam cut-out that holds up a mailbox as you drive into Wellington from the north on 58. It has been there since at least the mid 60s when my family would call out "Hiiiii, Whiskers!" as we drove to Findley or the fair, and "Bye...." as we left. I still do, I did this morning.

Dan Brady said...

That's nice. I think I've seen that Uncle Sam over the years (although the older I get, I tend to concentrate on the road more – especially on Route 58).

I love these little things that people do to express their creativity, individuality and sense of community.

Anonymous said...

I believe the Harts used to run the old Vians-on-the-Lake property in the 1980's. It was called The Terrace. The property was originally a resturant and motel on the lake just east of the Lorain border. It was demolished and converted to condos in the 1990's. I understand that the Harts recently moved to Florida.

Chuck Short,
Jackson MI