Thursday, September 2, 2010

Light Bugs: Fascination with Neon

Tulsa has some great neon signs. Unfortunately we had a whole heck of a lot more. That was before many of these metal, glass and argon works of art were scrapped, bulldozed or "updated" out of existence. But a new publication celebrates the survivors, and strikes a blow for preservation in this never-ending war against the supposedly outdated.

A soon-to-be-released booklet from the Tulsa Foundation on Architecture (TFA) is called Tulsa Vintage Neon. It features photography by Ralph Cole and is printed on durable, high gloss stock. The booklet is the result of a citywide inventory of Tulsa's glowing billboards. Copies are available for only $7.95 from TFA.

Efforts like this not only raise awareness within our community- they sometimes attract nationwide attention. Such was the case when the magazine Signs of the Times printed an article about Tulsa's inventory of classic neon, and TFA's efforts to preserve it. Tulsa neon was even featured on the cover!

One of Tulsa's most notable survivors is the Sheridan Lanes sign. It's a great postwar example of animated neon signage. If you'd like to have a look for yourself go to 31st Street just east of Sheridan in Tulsa. But wait until dark!


You can purchase the new Tulsa Vintage Neon booklet and other cool stuff from the TFA online store!
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Postscript.