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


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