On the Allure of Ghost Ads

When a building in blighted Highland Park, Michigan was demolished, a painted advertisement on the adjacent building was revealed. Nearby, other ghost ads remain, "nearly as bright" as ever. Dan Berry reports on why we're so fascinated by them.

"Perhaps we see them as faded invitations to another time, asking us to imagine the everyday rhythms of life when their fresh-paint message first shouted from a brick facade. We study the typeface rarely used today, the phrasing of language that rings odd to the modern ear and, most of all, the names of companies and products once so vital and now no more.

'It's a reminder of our own timeline and how quickly things become obsolete,' said Frank Jump, a photographer and the author of 'Fading Ads of New York City,' (The History Press, 2011). 'One minute people had thriving businesses building buggies, and the next minute Henry Ford is pushing out automobiles on an assembly line and nobody wants horse and buggies anymore.'"

Full Story: In a City Fighting Blight, ‘Ghost Signs’ as Portals to a Bygone Era


Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
City Plate table setting

New Arrival! City Plates

City downtown cores printed on gorgeous decorative collectible porcelain plates.
DVD Cover of The Story of Sprawl

The Story of Sprawl

See how America changed shape in this collection of historic films that visually document how sprawl evolved.
$29.99 for 2-DVD SET