PARCHEN DRUGS FOR PAINT
Henry Parchen was a druggist and entrepreneur who moved to Helena in 1865 after spending a year in Virgina City working as a bookkeeper. He was a focused businessman who responded strategically in an opportunistic time in Montana’s history. Through various business relationships he positioned himself to own his own store which he named “Parchen and Company.”
Mr. Parchen billed his business as the “Oldest and Leading Drug and Paint House In The State.” His Helena store as well as a branch store in Deer Lodge was not without challenges, all suffering fires. The fires in Helena, one in 1869 and the other in 1874, required extensive repair but did not deter his drive to rebuild and move his business forward eventually creating great wealth. Later Parchen Drug and Paint became one of the independent drug stores under the United Drug Store consortium and after World War I became part of the Rexall chain of drug stores.
Mr. Parchen’s extensive influence led him to multiple positions in the legislature. His obituary in the October 7, 1925 publication of the Helena Independent newspaper was front page news, directly below “ADDRESS OF PRESIDENT BROAD PLEA FOR PEACE AND RELIGIOUS FREEDOM.”
GENERAL ARTHUR CIGARS – KERBS, WERTHEIM AND SCHIFFER
If you see a ghost sign identifying an old drug store you may just see a faded cigar sign on the side tempting gentlemen to pop in and spend 5 cents for their favorite smoke.
Kerbs, Wertheim & Schiffer, cigar manufacturers, produced General Arthur Cigars, which was one of the country’s more widely advertised cigars in the late 1890’s and early 1900’s. A faint emblem can be seen in the middle left side of this wall advertisement. It is the label of General Arthur with Kerbs, Wertheim and Schiffer imprinted on the lower border. A Google search will reveal several good examples of the General Arthur label on signs and boxes- mostly e-bay and auction references – and will round out the visual of the ghost sign.
Kerbs, Wertheim and Schiffer became part of United Cigar Manufacturers who ultimately became part of General Cigar Corporation. This sign was most likely painted between 1900 and 1909 but definitely prior to 1917 when the brand was discontinued. Luckily an excellent apparition of the sign exists in its original form.
In: Uncategorized · Tagged with: apparition, General Arthur Cigar, Henry Parchen, Kerbs Wertheim and Schiffer's, Parchen Drug and Paint, Rexall
“There are places where they NEVER make mistakes – This is NOT one of them. There are kitchens where things NEVER go amiss – that’s NOT here. There is service that is ALWAYS perfect. – We have NEVER seen it.” How is that for a disclaimer? The Creamery Cafe’s menu for merchants served a T Bone steak for $1.00, bacon and fried apples for .40 cents and brains and other assorted organs for .50 cents. Coffee sold for 10 cents. Move over Starbucks! The front of the menu linked here has a WWII ration notice on the front which allots the amount of sugar you will be given with each cup of coffee, glass of tea, and bowl of fruit or cereal.
The Creamery, which also advertises “Booths for Ladies” on one of their ghost signs is one of those glimpses in history that drove me to explore a past era. It is reported that “Booths for Ladies” was written to identify the establishment as a place that respectable women could eat. Respectable as compared to the ladies of the night who had Mercury Street to themselves nearby? I haven’t found anyone yet who could give me an answer to that but I would love to know. The Creamery was in business almost 50 years – from 1909 to 1957 and ,at the time of the printing of the menu, was under the proprietorship of William Lecos.
In: Uncategorized · Tagged with: The Creamery Cafe
Eddy’s bread was started by James and Frank O’Connell in 1908 in Missoula. By the time Eddy’s Bread closed over a half of a century later there were 20 bakeries throughout Montana and the Northwest.
I sighted this brick ad in Helena where they opened a store in the basement of the Eddy Hotel. So far I have seen them on buildings in Walkerville, Great Falls and Helena. They have become one of my much sought after signs because of the variety of design, size and colors.
In: Uncategorized · Tagged with: Eddy's Bread, Eddy's Bread Missoula, Great Falls Eddy's Bread, Helena Montana, Walkerville Montana Eddy's Bread
Yesterday I drove through Oregon on my way back to Montana. I saw some signs in Dalles from the highway and did a quick divert. There were several signs of interest and I quickly noticed that a couple had been repainted. I have to say that the restoration of the Coca Cola sign piqued my curiosity. The background is more orange than red and the lower edges of the sign still have the original faded border. I found a reference that states the slogan in 1951 was “You Taste Its Quality” but not “You Trust Its Quality.” There was a sign that said “Dalles Mural Society” on the wall and I wondered if the restored sign was part of the bigger mural project. I also wondered if Coca Cola approved the repaint, supervised the repaint or even gave permission considering the re-paint seems somewhat flawed.
Going down another street I saw men working on a building that had magnificent signs including the largest Owl Cigar sign I have seen encompassing the entire length of the building. Could they be prepping it for a repaint as well? Of the signs I have photographed in Montana I have seen only a couple of re-paints in each city. Should signs be restored or be allowed to fade with time? I would love to hear your view.
In: Uncategorized · Tagged with: Coca Cola, Fading Ads, Ghost Signs, Sign Restoration
Check out my home page for a great video of contemporary Walldogs. Do you think these guys are insurable? As I sought out new signs I noticed signatures in the bottom right corner of a few. A little research unveiled one Frank Meinhart who not only painted signs but was a well known Montana wildlife artist, even exhibiting at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.. Northwest Digital Archives has a comprehensive bio of Frank as well as photos of his various signs. The Library of the University of Michigan references Dry Climate Cigars made by the Solis Cigar Company which was located in Denver. They are advertised as “The Luxury of Life” in one magazine. One Dry Climate Cigar sign has been photographed on a wall in Denver in addition to the one in Butte. No more have turned up in my research. Others, anyone?
In: Uncategorized · Tagged with: Dry Climate Cigars. Ghost Signs, Frank Meinhart, Wall Dogs
Welcome to Ghost Sign Weekly, a blog designed to share information about Ghost Signs everywhere. My current project is photographing the fading ads of Montana communities and uncovering the historical information about them. Call me crazy, but it is next to impossible for me to pass by a Montana town – or any town for that matter – without detouring to the downtown area just in case I find the next best sign. Join me in celebrating these advertising apparitions. Many will be gone in the upcoming years from further fading or building projects that dictate destruction.