Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’ve seen many ghost signs in your lifetime. Ghost signs are old hand-painted advertisements, usually on the side of a building, that have been preserved even as the building has been designated for a new purpose. The message is often somewhat obscured and difficult to read, as it has deteriorated over the years. These signs offer clues to our past, and enrich the present urban landscape. As Michael J. Auer points out in The National Park Service’s Preservation of Historic Signs Brief, “Signs are like archeological layers that reveal different periods of human occupancy and use.”
This blog will be home to a once-a-day post of Minneapolis ghost signs. While others have already captured many of the ghost and vintage signs throughout the city, I have not found a website that focuses solely on Minneapolis and comprehensively documents its collection of old hand-painted advertisements. If you know of a hidden ghost sign gem, I’d love to hear about it. My hope, like others, is to capture these painted signs before they are lost to new development, or further faded by the sun.