San Diego Neon, continued.

One of the oldies. The Aero Club on India Street has been around for 60 years. The aerospace crowd is long gone, but the joint enjoys continued popularity with the youngins.

Another ancient water hole, The Brass Rail in Hillcrest. The Brass Rail’s first venue was downtown beginning in the 1930’s. The Hillcrest venue began in the 1960’s. It boasts being the oldest gay bar in San Diego. It was once required back in the old days for men to keep their hands on top of tables or the bar at all times! Police with flashlights stopped by unannounced just to make sure of that. Yes, at least human rights have progressed beyond the “put your hands where I can see them” era.

The magnificent Royal Food Mart sign. Located at 3401 First Avenue, this venue has been going since 1914.

A menu is posted at the sidewalk. You’ll find an array of delicious sandwiches made by a friendly young lady named Romi.

I enjoyed a turkey sandwich made on really good coarse sour dough bread.

Many of the old markets had neon. Judging by the number of neon beer signs, Glenns appears now to be more liquor store than market.

Many liquor stores retained their neon even when this form of lighted sign fell out of favor in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Signs were often situated in a way that waved to traffic and pointed attention to the store. The Georgia Street Bridge at University Avenue in the background.

The lining of windows with neon is becoming a more common sight. Falcon Liquor on Falcon at Washington Street, Mission Hills.

This is an example of what developers like to call “mitigation.” The old structure, The Mission Hills Shopping Center–the neon letters were spelled across the facade–was demolished. The “Mission Hills” portion of the neon was tokened back to mitigate the loss. This particular view of the sky from this vantage point will not be possible in the near future. One enormous building is going up around the corner. A tall sheer block behind these buildings will cover much of the sky seen in this photo.

One could do a photo essay of the neighborhood neon signs alone.

24 Hour Fitness Neon. Hillcrest Cinema neon through the uprights.

Crest Cafe, Hillcrest, went all out with neon a few years ago.

Although the popular Corvette Diner has a handsome exterior neon display, the best is found inside.

Corvette Diner has a collection neon signs from a number of extinct establishments. The Mr. Universe neon sign I remember very well from my childhood. Mr. Universe was Earl Clark. His gym was in Chula Vista, and my dad was a member. I worked out there too, but working out bored me at a young age.

The old Arnold Saron Jeweler sign.

This might be their best one. An animated bowling alley neon.

Dan Soderberg
I am Dan Soderberg, award winning documentary film maker and phototgrapher specializing in architecture, historic preservation and nature.
1 COMMENT
  • Zack

    I like the twilight shot of Royal Food Mart. I must get a sandwich from Romi!

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