A snowy visit to Purdue

I spent an afternoon with my son, who’s in his last semester at Purdue. He really likes to walk, so we walked together, all over West Lafayette. It did my middle-aged body good to put some miles on my feet.

He lives in Cary Quadrangle, which is this grand old building.

Cary Quad *EXPLORED*

We walked to the northwest corner of campus where there’s a large hill. Lots of people were out sledding. Many of them were using cardboard boxes, because who brings a sled to college? This giant stage is at the bottom of the hill.


We walked through campus a little. The cold got to me so I asked if there were a coffee shop nearby. My son led the way. We passed this building, which very clearly was once a Burger Chef restaurant. Burger Chef was a competitor to McDonalds that was headquartered in Indianapolis. (See more old Burger Chef buildings, repurposed, here.)

Former Burger Chef

A burger joint still operating is the XXX, which has delicious root beer. Here’s one of its signs. You don’t see many of that style of Coca-Cola sign still in use.


Here’s another, this time in neon.


As usual, my son and I wound up at an Irish restaurant near the river. I got this nice portrait of him while we waited for our beef stew and shepherd’s pie.


Despite the cold, it was a good afternoon. I had in mind to have a long conversation with him about searching for a post-college job, but frankly, neither of us was in the mood so we skipped it and just enjoyed each other’s company.

Pentax K10D, 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 SMC Pentax-DA AL

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Preservation, Road Trips

A lot of deterioration can happen to something neglected for ten years

This is the Times Theater, on the Michigan Road in Rochester, Indiana. At least, this was it in 2008, while it was still operating.

Times Theater

The Times showed movies for 90 years, but owners couldn’t afford a digital projector and had to close it in 2014. This marquee was already showing strong signs of rot in 2008…but look at it now.

Times Theater, Rochester

This poor old sign. Here’s a closer look, first 2008 and then 2018.

Times Theater sign
Times Theater, Rochester

Fortunately, a non-profit group has organized with a goal to restore and reopen the Times as an art and entertainment center for the community. Their Facebook page is here. Here’s hoping they can achieve their goals — and see this sign restored, if it’s not too late.

Road Trips

New neon at the Old Style Inn

Logansport’s Old Style Inn used to have a great neon sign over its door. I was disappointed a few years ago to discover it had been removed.

Old Style Inn, Logansport

Hard telling how old this sign was, but it was a classic to be sure.

Old Style Inn, Logansport

I was pleased on my recent Logansport trip to find that the Old Style has a new sign in the neon style. It’s probably not actually neon — so many modern neon-like signs are actually flexible LED lighting. But it’s pretty well done.

Old Style Inn, Logansport

Margaret and I stopped here for dinner before we went home. Our server explained that the Old Style had formerly been just a bar. When it remodeled and became a bar/restaurant a few years ago, the owner felt new signage was in order. Here’s hoping the original sign was saved, and isn’t sitting in a landfill somewhere.

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Preservation, Road Trips

Endangered: Wrecks, Inc., sign

The central Indiana town of Whitestown calls itself the fastest-growing town in the state. As it continues to expand, it wants to build a sprawling community campus on an unused 170-acre plot that was once the Wrecks, Inc., automobile junkyard. That wrecking yard’s unusual and humorous neon sign remains.


The Wrecks, Inc., property is in Boone County, on Indianapolis Road west and then south of the I-65 Whitestown/Zionsville exit. This road is the historic Lafayette Road, which was built in the 1830s to connect Indianapolis to Lafayette. It carried US 52 for much of the 20th century.

Plans for the community campus show grass and shrubbery where this sign currently stands, making it appear that the sign will not survive the construction.


Plans are preliminary. It’s not clear whether contaminated ground water found on this site has been cleaned up sufficiently to allow construction. That contamination scuttled plans for a housing subdivision to be built here in 2007.

This sign is visible from nearby I-65, and was quite a sight when the junkyard was still in operation and the sign lit up at night. Today, many surely consider the sign to be an eyesore and will not be sorry to see it go. Here’s hoping that if it is not retained, a collector or sign museum will be allowed to dismantle and preserve it.

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City of Mineral Water
Pentax K10D, 28-80mm f/3.5-4.7 SMC Pentax-FA

Martinsville, Indiana, was once renowned for its healing waters.

It was while drilling for oil in the area in 1887 that a smelly aquifer was found. In those days, mineral waters were thought to possess healing properties.

Martinsville’s first mineral-water spa, or sanitarium as they were called then, was established in 1888. By 1930, thirteen sanitariums operated there. People from all walks of life came from around the world to Martinsville to bathe.

But the Great Depression and the closing of the Interurban line that reached Martinsville brought about the sanitariums’ decline. The last of them closed in 1971.

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History, Photography

single frame: City of Mineral Water



Scenes from the American Sign Museum

The Emmanuel Baptist Church Drug Company
Pentax ME
50mm f/1.4 SMC Pentax-M
Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400

I was trying to shoot just the church sign and didn’t really see the humorous placement of the sign behind it until I got the negatives back from the processor.

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Photography, Road Trips

single frame: The Emmanuel Baptist Church Drug Company