The Stanley Theatre, 261 Genesee Street in Utica, New York, was built in 1928 as a “movie palace” and seats 2,963. It was designed by Thomas W. Lamb in a unique Mexican Baroque style, with terra cotta and tiled mosaics. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 and today functions as a performing arts center.
I grew up in Des Plaines, Illinois, so when a movie about Ray Kroc called The Founder (2016) came out, I’ll admit I watched eagerly for any mention of my former hometown. Ray Kroc was born in Oak Park, Illinois and he opened his first McDonald’s franchise on Lee Street in Des Plaines in 1955.
I passed by the McDonald’s museum hundreds of times, but never visited (it was actually a replica built in 1985). Unfortunately, by the time the movie came out, the museum had closed and was slated for demolition. When I visited a few years ago, the old sign and part of the arches had already been removed. Demolition was completed in August 2018.
Unique sign for Jeannie’s Just Sew Shop, 114 W 2nd Street in Byron, Illinois.
Green neon sign for Main’s Quality Ice Cream at The Main Cup restaurant, 14 W Main Street in Middletown, Maryland. It’s rumored that presidents stopped for ice cream here on their way to Camp David, however, Main’s stopped making ice cream in 1969, technically making this a ghost sign.
The Paramount Theater, 215 E Main Street in Charlottesville, Virginia, was designed by brothers Cornelius Ward Rapp and George Leslie Rapp. It operated from 1931 to 1974, when it entered a period of abandonment. In 1992, a nonprofit began a multi-million dollar restoration. Today, it serves as a performing arts venue and remains a fixture of downtown Charlottesville.