US 50 in Brownstown

Brock’s Restaurant
Canon PowerShot S80

As I put together this series I was struck by how many neon signs I photographed lit during the day. I’ve always figured places turned their signs on at dusk.

Brock’s is in Brownstown, a small southeastern Indiana town on US 50. I love to visit little towns like this in my travels and find gems like this sign in them.

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9 responses to “single frame: Brock’s Restaurant”

  1. brandib1977 Avatar

    Love all the neon!!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Me too! I remember all the neon of my early-1970s childhood and just gravitate to it now.

      1. brandib1977 Avatar

        It takes so little to make us happy. :)

  2. marcusterrypeddle Avatar

    Once you have a nice collection of neon signs, will you edit it and publish in magazine form? Or as a Flickr album? The sun is usually too hot and strong in Korea for photography these days (but cloud tomorrow! can’t wait!), so I am repeatedly going through my photos from the past year to see if I can group them. Common subjects are bridges, transportation, traditional scenes in colour, traditional scenes in square black and white, and street details. I mean unusual things you find in alleys and so on, not closeups of asphalt. I’m going to edit the photos and add more and eventually make albums on Flickr and, when international mail service gets restored, make a magazine or two on Blurb. That’s the plan, but you know what happens to plans . . . .

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      What an appealing thought, to publish a book of my neon photos. The thought hadn’t occurred to me.

      I’ve ended up with lots of photos of several kinds of subjects, including bridges and neon signs. They all might make good photo books.

  3. Khürt Williams Avatar

    Alas, very few restaurants in this part of New Jersey have these retro-neon signs. We still have a lot of Diners with chrome and neon but not as many as decades ago. But I think if I explored some of the more economically challenged towns further out New York City, I may find some.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I love the diners in New Jersey! You are fortunate to have so many. Diners aren’t as much a thing here in Indiana. I can think of one within an hour of my home.

      Outside Indianapolis and its suburbs, Indiana cities and towns are in decline. That wasn’t the case 30 or 40 years ago. Lots of places like Brock’s have closed as business has dried up or the owners wanted to retire but couldn’t find anyone to take over a business that was probably only providing subsistence income anyway. So when I find something like Brock’s, I photograph it. Who knows if it will be there the next time I stop by?

  4. Jennifer Schwenn Hildreth Avatar
    Jennifer Schwenn Hildreth

    Jim, I stumbled onto your blog when researching some old photos that my grandpa took in the 1930’s. I grew up in Brownstown and my great grandparents started the Brownstown Greenhouse (the neon flower shop sign you photographed). I grew up helping plant tomatoes and napped in the huge flower boxes when my whole extended family would be there working late at night during busy holidays. We ate at Brocks Restaurant every Sunday after church. It’s long since closed which makes me sad. It was THE spot for all of the locals to gather and chat over coffee. There was a line out the door on Sundays. Leopha Brock’s fried chicken and legendary pie were the absolute best. Our greenhouse business has thankfully been bought by a man who is giving it the loving care it deserves, so I’m thankful the business continues. Having lived in NYC and now Chicago over the last 25 years, I cherish my youth in that small town and love to go back as often as I can. Thank you for taking the time to visit and photograph some of its gems!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank you so much for commenting! I love knowing more of the local color. I’m sad to hear that Brock’s is closed. At least the neon was lit this day I passed by!

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