Manville advertising / signage

The Manville Lanes • Click to Enlarge

I took a walk over to the Manville Lanes today after learning is was all closed up and gutted. My main goal was to try and find a worker so I could attempt to procure the giant sign on the side of the building, but no one was around. It bummed me out so much that that classic old sign, a beacon of my childhood might escape my grasp and end up in a landfill somewhere off the side of 287. As I stood in defeat remembering the way only half those neon letters used to flicker and light up the Manville night sky, it occurred to me that I might take a little walk around downtown Manville and get some photos of some of the great local advertising before it dissapears as well..

Like always the adventure was a rewarding one. I wish I has time to cover the whole town but for now here are a few Gems.

I recently struck up a friendship with the John Krasansky. John has a genius personality that kind of reminds me of Nick Charles in the movie the thin man.  The guy can tell great stories, so I honestly didn’t believe him when he told me there was an old Kay Appliance showroom that closed in the 1950s and was undisturbed ever since. But when I got there I’ll be damned if there wasn’t a 1950s appliance store time capsule. I don’t want to post the address because I think I already shook up the neighbors by taking all kinds of photos over there, but I got this great shot through the window…

You can enlarge the photo by clicking on it. It’s amazing that a place like this exists. And speaking of store that closed down decades ago, leaving room fulls of brand new antiques… The Chabra Professional building used to have a hardware store under it. Apparently they just put some white paper over the windows, hung a few wreaths and called it a day. In all fairness this is a pretty iconic building in town. I love the old sign with the terrible spacing.

The next one is an old ghost sign on Main Street that is now obscured by buildings. I managed a decent photo of it. It’s an ad for M.H. Burke & Co. Which was apparently a Dept. Store in Somerville. I’m glad this thing survived…

The next two photos I got are fairly new, but they are great hand painted signs so I included them. The first one is from the Hair Palace… and it’s just super well done.

The next one is out in front of the jewelry store on Main St. This is just a great diamond painting. I’m not sure if they used cheap paint or if they intentionally left the old rickety paint… either way this is great…

This is another classic Manville sign, I wish they didn’t ruin it with the plexiglass. I guess kids were breaking the neon…

Camplain Liquors doesn’t only have this classic neon, but on the side window they have another great hand painted sign. This one is such a classic too…

Ice Cold Beer, I don’t know anyone who can argue with that. This next one is one of my favorite neons around. The Chester House sign. Tommy recently got someone to give this sign a facelift and fix the neon arrow… it looks great.

And finally the old Kay Electric building has a great old sign painted right on to the building. This one is kind of tucked away…

I managed to get a pretty good shot of one of the old service trucks too… it’s pretty cool the way the old paint preserved the logo a little.


3 thoughts on “Manville advertising / signage

  1. Good day! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest writing a blog post or vice-versa? My website addresses a lot of the same topics as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit from each other. If you’re interested feel free to send me an e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you! Fantastic blog by the way!

  2. Manville is kind of a metaphor of what happened when those big box stores and malls came around,like 1970.So,the cobwebs and the Hollywood props still exist.Only this site chronicles it.Only Manville lets things set for 40 years,other towns tear it down,put it all in the landfill,hope for the best.

    What a gold mine of memorabilia.If that’s your bag.

    Kay Appliances? They sold LOTS of stuff to almost every JM employee in the day.E-Z credit and GE,Westinghouse,Factory Authorized Service,Why if you had 1920 electric service in your home,Kay could upgrade it to modern standards.

    Stuff your parents never told you,because you were busy learning A-B-C’s

    J-M employees were the heart and soul of Manville.Sure J-M killed people,(secret)but it also dragged Manville out of the mud.Wages there were twice what any other place was paying,but it could cost you an early grave.

    Never forget the past.It is why we have the present & the future.

    Anybody got pictures of the Mall around 1970? LOTS of people
    hung out there to find each other,mingle.How many people found their spouses there?

    That mall was packed night after night.What a scene.What a place to sell Pizza & Pepsi.Vinny was just a young lad then.

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