SIGN MAGIC BLOG

Category Archives: Historic Tucson

Heritage Award!

The Tucson - Pima County Historical Commission has awarded Sign Magic with this certificate.

The Tucson – Pima County Historical Commission has awarded Sparkle Cleaners with this certificate.

Sparkle Cleaners was recently honored with the Heritage Award for their part in restoring one of Tucson’s historic signs. Sign Magic partnered with the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation and Sparkle Cleaners to help bring some of Tucson’s past back to life. Drachman became a hot spot for restored historic signs back in March of 2012 when Pima Community College and the Historic Preservation Foundation joined forces to restore and reinstall a few of Tucson’s coolest old signs at Pima’s downtown campus. Being that Sparkle Cleaners has been here in Tucson for decades and is located on the Northwest corner of Drachman and Stone, right across the street from Pima’s downtown campus, it was only natural that their historic sign be included in this restoration project! The sign was originally erected back in 1955 when the Well and Wash first opened. This became a Sparkle Cleaners in 1961 and since then, Sparkle Cleaners have opened many other Tucson locations.

Why restore these old signs? Well, signs aren’t made how they used to be! In the old days, many of these signs were hand painted and they all used really cool neon lighting. Neon has to be hand blown and shaped to form certain letters or other formations, and this is no easy task. The difficulty in making and repairing these lights has made many people turn to more cost-effective solutions such as LED lighting. If you drive up Drachman and look at these signs you will see how compared to a lot of the signage used today, they are works of art.

The sign definitely needed a little TLC when it was first brought into our shop to begin restoration. There were places on the metal cabinet frame of the sign that were rusting and falling apart so this was the first problem to take care of. It received multiple layers of fresh paint, all new neon lighting, and new bulbs on the other lit parts of the sign because most of the lighting had long been out of use. Channel 4 News featured the sign and its story on the evening’s news, and The Arizona Daily Star had a photo and story written in the paper shortly after the sign went back up! Heath Bolin, president of Sparkle Cleaners, was awarded with this certificate and we here at Sign Magic are very proud to be a part of restoring Tucson’s past.

The sign when it was originally erected back in 1955

 1955, when the sign was originally erected.

The sign in more recent years, before restoration.

The sign in more recent years, before restoration.

This is the sign after the restoration process had been completed and it was reinstalled.

After restoration and re-installation.

A glimpse of how the sign looks at night, after restoration.

A glimpse of how the sign looks at night, after restoration.

 

Adventure Bound!

Adventure Bound

    We put up this cool ranch-style sign for Adventure Bound! The wood frame it hangs in is made from cedar posts. The sign’s face is made from E-Panel, but the lettering and logos are routed pieces of aluminum, which have been routed digitally on our routing table. Each letter was painted and then attached to the E-Panel. These camping grounds are located out at 10195 S. Houghton Rd.

Historic Project Finished!

 

The restored, reinstalled Sparkle Cleaners sign was lit for the first time on Friday evening, Jan. 11, 2013

The restored, reinstalled Sparkle Cleaners sign was lit for the first time at dusk on Friday, Jan. 11, 2013

    Our historic restoration project has been completed and reinstalled! Sign Magic partnered with the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation this past summer to bring another one of Tucson’s historic signs back to life. This sign is located at the original Sparkle Cleaners at 16 W. Drachman. Drachman became a hot spot for restored historic signs in March of 2012, when the Historic Preservation Foundation joined forces with Pima Community College.

This sign was initially erected in 1955 when the original dry cleaning service, The Well and Wash opened. Sparkle Cleaners took over in 1961.

This sign was initially erected in 1955 when the original dry cleaning service, The Well and Wash opened. Sparkle Cleaners took over in 1961.

   

This is how the sign appeared in more recent years, before our crew started the resoration process.

This is how the sign appeared in more recent years, before our crew started the resoration process.

 

 

 The sign definitely needed a little TLC when it was first brought into our shop to begin restoration. There were places on the metal cabinet frame of the sign that were rusting and falling apart so this was the first problem to take care of. It recieved mulitple layers of fresh paint, all new neon lighting, and new bulbs on the other lit parts of the sign. Channel 4 News featured the sign and its story on Friday evening’s news, and The Arizona Daily Star had a photo and story written in Saturday’s paper! To see more pictures of the restored sign, check out Sign Magic’s Facebook page, or visit Sparkle Cleaners in person. An official lighting party should be happening in the near future at Sparkle Cleaners, to honor this exciting piece of Tucson history, don’t worry, we will keep you posted on the date and time!

Our install crew reinstalling the restored sign on Friday, January 11, 2013.

Our install crew reinstalling the restored sign on Friday, January 11, 2013.

Sullivan’s Eatery & Creamery

   Last week, Sign Magic installed a brand new sign for Sullivan’s Eatery & Creamery. This restaurant was formerly called Swenson’s, but was recently changed to Sullivan’s. For those of you thinking “Oh no! Swenson’s was such a great place!” don’t worry, it is still under the same ownership and not much has changed other than the name. They still have the same great food and amazing array of ice cream choices for dessert!

   The signs are made of pan-channel letters mounted onto raceways and lit with LED illumination. The “pan” of each letter is crafted from aluminum. The faces were laser routed from sheets of acrylic and then trim-capped to securely fit each pan. The logo is a digital print of an ice cream cone, which we printed on vinyl using our large format digital printer. The vinyl was applied to acrylic after the shape was laser routed on our routing table. Each letter is lined with LED lighting and lights up each evening with a timer.

The finished, installed sign

The finished, installed sign

The sign's lighting being tested in shop before installation.

The sign’s lighting being tested in shop before installation.

 

Historic Sign Restoration – Sparkle Cleaners

Sign Magic is participating in the restoration of one of Tucson’s historic signs. This sign is located at 16 W. Drachman at Sparkle Cleaners. It was erected in 1955, when the original dry cleaning service, The Well and Wash, first opened. Sparkle Cleaners took over in 1967, have been operating in this location & adding additional locations across the Tucson area ever since.  Drachman became a hot spot for historic signs in March 2012 when 4 of Tucson’s older signs were relocated and installed after being completely restored. The Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation and Pima Community College partnered to restore and install classic neon signs from Tucson’s past along the north edge of PCC’s Downtown Campus. The Sparkle Cleaners sign will be a great addition to this already amazing project and is still standing in its original location at the corner of Drachman and Stone, right across the street from PCC’s down town campus. Some pictures of The Wash and Well in 1955 were discovered by some great friends at the city’s Developmental Services office and are a pretty cool blast from the past! These pictures (displayed below) will aid us in the restoration of this sign. Stay tuned for updates on this exciting project, which we hope to have completed and reinstalled sometime near the end of this summer.

The sign when the original dry cleaners opened in 1955

1955

This is what the sign has looked like in recent years, before any of the restoration work had begun.