The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Look Up La Harpe! Architectural Detail On La Harpe Buildings

by Deb Olson - The Quill

The final article in this series will deal with Ghost Signs.

This is not a spooky or supernatural sign as the name may imply.

Ghost signs are simply the faded remains of advertising signs once painted on older brick buildings.

The prime examples of this in La Harpe are directly across the street from one another on North Center Street.

Before the use of neon signs and electronics in advertising, ads were often painted directly onto buildings, windows or boards (currently referred to as blade signs) attached to the building.

With the advent of electricity, progress modernized signage and its electrification made for glowing, flashing signs that attracted attention.

Many things have led to the simplification of signage, especially in historic districts.

However, advertising today is still primarily engaged with electronic signs which appeals to a younger, visually motivated generation.

Ghost signs however remain as a tribute to an earlier time. They encourage us to remember our past. They can also serve as guideposts to historians who wish to study how our cities worked in the past.