The 1950s and 1960s are often referred to as "the golden age of roadside neon," and many of these illuminating relics are still shining. Neon signs are pieces of history when skilled artisans created some of the most striking and original forms of advertising by hand. I love the nostalgia of vintage signs and the neon pop on a night drive. Of course, we support paying respects to the past and thinking about the brands that came and went. These brands leaving behind the buzz and flicker that offers pristine drive by photography. If you also love remnants of old business, then Texas is something for you to check out. Being able to respect the past is a showing that Houston is losing. Many of the signs of past business have come and gone but those preserved and re-purposed for the businesses today become even more special. The glowing beacons have outlived their advertising use and have instead become recognized symbols of the city. They all share the ability to make you feel something.
Harold's in the Heights
350 W 19th St, Houston, TX 77008
Harold's on 19th street is a fantastic terrace restaurant/bar. The renovated the 100-year-old building that formerly housed “Harold’s in the Heights,” an iconic clothing store owned and operated by Harold and Milton Wiesenthal. Terraces are somewhat of a struggle in the Houston heat, but they have a downstairs bar we frequent and enjoy their A1 appetizers.
Dean’s Credit Clothing
316 Main St, Houston, TX 77002
When Dean's first opened in 1893, it was Houston's tallest building at 5 stories. In 1901, it installed the third electric elevator in the United States (and the first in Texas). Dean’s offered clothes on credit and Clark’s sold jewelry and watches. Dean's, along with Clark's, closed in 1981, and the building was empty until 1999. The most recent redesign of Dean's Downtown has made it into a more classic bar that pays homage to Houston's past and the building's downtown history.
The Continental Club
3700 Main Street, Houston, TX 77002
Opened in the summer of 2000 and sporting the retro sign in homage to the Continental club in Austin, TX. For over two decades, the venue has hosted hundreds of bands. For twenty years before The Continental Club moved in, the space was occupied by Guy's News, a magazine and cigar store. In October of 2001, before he was a star, John Mayer performed at the Continental Club. The club is housed in a converted general store. The 1920s building still has metal ceilings and original fixtures. A back room offers a pool table and its own bar in case you want to get away from the music.
1062 Edgebrook Dr., Houston TX
In 1962, the Burger Mart was built. In 2009, the building was torn down, and the lot is still empty. This sign is still here so go see it while you still can!
Antonio’s Flying Pizza
2920 Hillcroft Ave., Houston, TX 77057
The sign for Antonio's Flying Pizza is 20 feet tall, and the arms of the animated chef move to spin and lift the pizza. This sign was put up when Antonio's opened in 1971. Antonio still owns the restaurant and its still flying pizza out the door.
Houston Shoe Hospital
5215 Kirby Dr, Houston, TX 77098
The family-run business in Houston, Texas, has been around for more than 100 years. They arrived on horse and carriage and have fixed millions of shoes since. Now they have locations across the state.
Signs that were recently scraped, R.I.P.