All this week I’m sharing single-subject photo series I’ve made.

While I was married the first time, I broke a side-view mirror of my wife’s beloved Corolla coupe. Her aging sporty car’s bright red finish had gone chalky, so it didn’t make sense to buy a shiny new mirror. I called around to junkyards looking for a donor car, and only Wrecks, Inc., had one. When I got there, a gruff man behind a counter looked up the part in a book and grunted a price at me. When I accepted, a small, scruffy fellow appeared and led me to a beat-up little truck with no doors. “Get in,” he said, and we sped off. As the truck bounced its way through the yard, I clutched the dashboard just trying to stay inside the truck. Finally he found the car. He couldn’t figure out how to remove the mirror, but since I had just removed what was left of the one on my wife’s car I took his tools and did it myself. Then it was back to holding on for dear life as we drove back to the counter, where I paid for my prize.

Wrecks, Inc., went out of business several years ago, but its great sign still stands. It’s kind of a local landmark on old US 52 just northwest of Indianapolis. It used to light up at night in red and green neon, but today the tubes inside are broken and hanging loose.

The town of Whitestown has since annexed this land and plans to build a community campus here. I’m sure it’s a matter of time before the sign is removed. With any luck it will find its way into a private sign collection or perhaps to the American Sign Museum.

We Meet by Accident

Palm Pre

Wrecks Inc

Kodak Brownie No. 2 Model D, Kodak T-Max 400

Wrecks

Kodak EasyShare C613 Zoom

Wrecks Inc

Pentax Spotmatic F, 35mm f/3.5 Super-Multi-Coated Takumar, Kodak Ektar 100

Wrecks

Canon A2e, 50mm f/1.8 Canon EF, Fujicolor 200

Wrecks

Canon A2e, 50mm f/1.8 Canon EF, Fujicolor 200

Drive Carefully

Pentax H3, 55mm f/2 Super Takumar, Kodak Gold 200

Wrecks

Yashica-12, Kodak Tri-X 400

Wrecks

Kodak Baby Brownie, Efke 100

Wrecks, Inc.

Miranda Sensorex II, 50mm f/1.8 Auto Miranda, Kodak Ektar 100

Wrecks, Inc. and the Lafayette Road

Canon PowerShot S95

Wrecks, Inc.

Canon Canonet QL17 G-III, Agfa Vista 200

Wrecks

Nikon F3, 35mm f/2.8 AI Nikkor, Kodak 400 High Definition (x-2007)

Wrecks

Nikon F3, 35mm f/2.8 AI Nikkor, Kodak 400 High Definition (x-2007)

Wrecks

Nikon F3, 35mm f/2.8 AI Nikkor, Kodak 400 High Definition (x-2007)

Wrecks

Kodak No. 2 Brownie, Model F, Kodak Ektar 100

Wrecks

Kodak No. 2 Brownie, Model F, Kodak Ektar 100

Wrecks

Olympus XA2, Agfa Vista 200

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Photography

Wrecks, Inc.

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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.

Wrecks

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.

WhitestownCommunityCampus

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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