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Classic L.A. to Z: G is for GHOST SIGNS

Photograph by Christina Gandolfo

Eons before Banksy or Mr. Brainwash or supergraphics, buildings were decorated with colorfully painted signs—low-cost advertisements writ large and often crafted around windows and corner rooftops. They trumpeted furnished apartments and credit-friendly dentists, “smarter clothes,” and dry goods. The businesses have fallen under the wheels of progress, but the faded signs continue to haunt the locale. Like neolithic pictographs, they are the early unreadable relics of our often mysterious history. Downtown is the best place for a ghost sign sighting, so keep your head on a swivel as you walk along Broadway and the Historic Core. One wall of the Barclay Hotel (103 W. 4th St.) still announces ROOMS $1.00 AND UP, while the old Palace Newsreel Theatre (630 S. Broadway) advertises seats for just 35 cents.

Be a Tourist in Your Own Town