For me, the best… my favorite… ghost signs, are those that you have to work at… the really faded ones. The McEwain Barton ghost sign from a previous post is one of my favorites… I had to do some real investigating to find out about the faded McElwain logo on the sign.
If you look closely above the blue door, you can see a milk carton with a logo on it. I searched thousands of images of milk cartons to see what the logo might be… to no avail. It is actually a logo used on Borden’s milk bottles – Gail Borden’s … showing a silhouette of Gail Borden with his signature underneath.
To the right and slightly below you can barely make out yellow/ orange petals of a flower… the petals that would have encircled and been a part of the iconic Elsie the Cow Borden logo. The faded letters “Bord” can also be seen to the right and above the milk carton, and to the extreme right edge seems to be the remnants of a different ghost sign from the Ford Motor Company!
Here is a link to a Google Tour of the ghost sign with “Points of Interest” that link to more information about the art, architecture and history of the surrounding area. Click on the photo to take the tour… or just click the link below!
The Townley Metal and Hardware Company building, located at 200 Walnut in the River Market District in KCMO, was erected in three separate campaigns beginning in 1895. The Townley family successfully operated in the building until 1982 when the business was sold. This building was added to the historic registry in 1994 and was converted to luxury lofts (Old Townley Lofts) in 2013.
This historic structure is magnificent … as are its ghost signs… and it has MANY! There are several (five) on the North side, one on the West side visible from the small courtyard between the Townley building and the old KC Water Department building, and one on the South visible above the parking garage.
Below is a 360° “tour” (four separate 360° pictures) of these ghost signs and area… clicking on the arrows allows you to move left and right. Use your mouse to look up, look down, look all around… and zoom in or out.
Here is a link to a Google Tour of the ghost signs with “Points of Interest” that link to more information about the art, architecture and history of the surrounding area. Click on the photo to take the tour… or just click the link below!
An often overlooked Historic District in Kansas City is the Garment District. This area is located in Downtown Kansas City, Missouri to the east of Quality Hill, across Broadway Boulevard. In the 1930s several large clothing manufacturers clustered here, making Kansas City’s garment district second only to New York City in size. Its old industrial buildings have since been redeveloped into loft apartments, office, and restaurants.
This ghost sign from the McElwain and Barton Shoe Co. is located in the heart of the Garment District on the West side of the Armour and Volker building at 308 W. 8th (built in 1902 – architect William Rose), Kansas City, Missouri.
This sign can only be seen from a few locations…. from the top of the May Street garage, from the alley on the North side of the Armour-Volker building, from the rooftop deck of the Soho Lofts, or from windows in adjacent building.
Examining this ghost sign, you can faintly see the the name McElwain on the first row, Barton on the second and Shoe Co on the third, and an interesting painted shape below the lettering.
Investigating this sign, I discovered that this mystery shape is the remnants of the McElwain Shoe Co logo. Here is a picture of the McElwain logo from the 1920’s. At this time the McElwain Shoe Company was the largest manufacturer of shoes in the world. The McElwain Barton shoe company had operations in several building in the Garment District, including the building at corner of Wyandotte and 6th street, which held their offices, and their manufacturing plant located at corner of 8th and Washington.
This post is a twofer … if you scroll to the right in the 360° picture above (or the tour below), you can also see the ghost sign for the William-Volker Company, which is located on the North side of the 6th floor of the Bond Shoe Co. building (built in 1899 – architect Van Brunt and Bro) at 316 W. 8th St, Kansas City, MO.
William Volker was an entrepreneur who turned a picture frame business into a multimillion-dollar empire and who then gave away his fortune to shape much of Kansas City, MO, much of it anonymously, earning him the nickname of “Mr. Anonymous.” The Volker frame and molding company had a factory in the Armour-Volker building. Both of these buildings (Armour-Volker and Bond Shoe Co buildings) are now part of the Soho Condominiums property.
Here is a link to a Google Tour of this ghost sign with “Points of Interest” that link to more information about the art, architecture and history of the surrounding area. Click on the photo to take the tour… or just click the link below!
The West Bottoms is an industrial area immediately to the west of downtown Kansas City, Missouri, at the confluence of the Missouri River and the Kansas River. The area is one of the oldest in the city. This combination of age, architecture (brick building) and location makes the West Bottoms a goldmine for ghost signs.
This ghost sign for the Ryley Wilson and Co Grocers is on East side of the building located at 1502 9th Street in the West Bottoms.
This Romanesque Revival style building was constructed in 1887 for the Ryley Wilson Grocer Co. The wholesale grocery business supplied many of the retail groceries who served the thousands of railroad passengers passing through the city.
Here is a link to a Google Tour of the ghost sign with “Points of Interest” that provide more information about the art and surrounding area. Click on the photo or link below to take the tour!