Friday, December 11, 2015

Vintage U.S. Federal Highway Shield Sign

If you're an old road buff like me, then you can imagine how surprised I was back in the 1990s to see this old style U.S. Federal Highway shield sign on W. 28th Street in Cleveland near Detroit Avenue. Previously, I had only seen this die-cut style sign in old photos, usually with a bunch of men wearing hats nearby.
But somehow, this sign for U.S. 42 managed to survive – unnoticed – for decades, long after that particular style was obsolete. A similar die-cut sign for U.S. 6 was in the same area, just around the corner on Detroit, which to me was amazing.

They were both real rarities around here, and more than once I thought about swiping one of the signs. Either would have been nice to have.

Anyway, on the way back to work after lunch one day, I noticed a Cleveland street department road crew right in the middle of taking down the U.S. 6 sign on Detroit. I thought, "Here's my chance!" I quickly pulled over and asked the worker if the city would sell me the sign.

He looked at me quizzically, and said, "Aw, this sign's no good, it doesn't reflect light any more. That's why we're taking it down."

And with that he tossed it into the back of the truck. The one on W. 28th is no longer there either.

Oh, well – I tried!

Click here to learn about the interesting history and design evolution of those U.S. Highway signs.

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