Preservation, Road Trips

Restored: Terre Haute’s 1930s Clabber Girl billboard

If you ever drive US 40 westbound into Terre Haute, you’ll find a great old billboard for Clabber Girl Baking Powder at the edge of town. Clabber Girl has been made in Terre Haute since 1899. The billboard dates to the 1930s. Here’s a photo I made of it way back in 2007.

Clabber Girl

It was in pretty good shape then, but time and the elements are not kind to anything left outside. Here are some more photographs I’ve made of it over the years, showing its slow deterioration. 2009:

Clabber Girl

2013, and notice the clock is different:

Five Minutes to Terre Haute


Clabber Girl
Clabber Girl

This billboard is on what was the property of Mary Fendrich Hulman, whose family owns the makers of Clabber Girl. Mary died a few years ago, and her sprawling horse farm was sold to neighboring Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, expanding its campus. Rose-Hulman got the billboard in the deal, and decided to have this Terre Haute landmark restored. The Terre Haute Tribune-Star tells the restoration story and shares a photograph of the refreshed billboard. Read it here.

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16 thoughts on “Restored: Terre Haute’s 1930s Clabber Girl billboard

  1. DougD says:

    Great sign, if only all advertising were as classy.

    Being from a different country, I’ve never heard of this. What’s a clabber?

    • I remember the first time I saw it, when I visited the Rose-Hulman campus in Oct. 1984 as part of my college selection process. It was cool then when it was a mere ~50 years old.

  2. I love a story about a long time locally owned company with a long time family-maintained billboard finally restored by a long time area institution.

    I was about to say that if Clabber Girl had been sold to a big company somewhere else in 1966 or so we wouldn’t be reading about this because the billboard would have come down by 1969. But then I just checked and discovered that Hulman & Co. just sold Clabber Girl in the past week to some New Jersey company. Oh well.

    • It was way out on the eastern edge of town on US 40, so unless you were going somewhere east of town you probably never had a need to drive that way!

  3. Lisa Juras says:

    Hi Jim, do you sell any of your photo’s of the Clabber Girl Sign? We are a new franchise business coming to Terre Haute and would be so honored to have a piece of your work in our practice!

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