National Neon Sign Museum: LAPC

Where do you go when you’re looking for a quick recharge? To the National Neon Sign Museum in The Dalles, Oregon, of course!

On the main floor, you’ll see a rainbow of neon colors. The signs on display are from the late 1800s through the 1960s.

Do you recognize any of these iconic signs?

National Neon Sign Museum

How about this wall filled with Coca Cola signs?

Coca Cola signs

You can see car dealerships and gas station signs here.

Neon advertisements

The flying horse from Mobile has always been one of my favorites.

Mobilgas sign

The one from Cadillac is colorful and classy.

Cadillac sign

Some make you smile.

Pittsburgh paint sign

Even when not lit up, the artwork is impressive. I liked these three whimsical signs.

Looking back

In another section of the main floor, there is a brief history of the process.

National Neon Sign Museum

Signs from businesses line this room’s walls. I especially liked the 3-dimensional Regal cowboy boot.

National Neon Sign Museum

French engineer and inventor Georges Claude is credited with inventing and commercializing neon lighting. He obtained a patent on his System of Illuminating by Luminescent Tubes on January 19, 1915. Claude held a monopoly on this type of product until the early 1930s.

The photo below, taken at the 1910 Paris Motor Show, shows the first public display of neon lights in the world.

First neon Paris 1910

The first picture below shows an early sign for the Claude Neon Sign business. The second shows the Claude Neon Float in the 1929 Shrine Electrical Pageant in Los Angeles, California.

Claude Neon Signs

National Neon Sign Museum Ballroom

Upstairs, there’s a large room, set up to look like an old town, called the Ballroom. As you may have guessed, you can rent it out for events.

National Neon Sign Museum Ballroom

You can see Medich’s BBQ restaurant and a shoe repair business below.

National Neon Sign Museum Ballroom

This picture shows Town Pride Frozen Custard restaurant.

Town Pride signs

Here’s a Philco store, complete with the iconic dog.

Philco signs

This shows a hat store, the BBQ restaurant, and the Vincent Hotel.

National Neon Sign Museum ballroom

When we visited a week ago, they told us to stay tuned for big news. We just learned the National Neon Sign Museum was selected as the new home for the historic Jantzen Beach Carousel. Since the carousel uses more than 1,300 lightbulbs, it’s a good fit for the Museum.

Once restored, it will be placed on a lot next to the Museum. This large carousel measures 67 feet across and 28 feet high.

Jantzen Beach Carousel
C.W. Parker Archives, Barbara Fahs Charles Collection.

This carousel was located in Venice, California in 1921, then moved to Portland, Oregon in 1928. It operated at Jantzen Beach, and at another location nearby, until 2012. The carousel was donated to Restore Oregon in 2017. They will work in partnership with the Museum to repair and repaint the carousel’s 72 horses (and 10 spares).

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – RECHARGE

34 thoughts on “National Neon Sign Museum: LAPC

  1. Such a fun choice for the week Siobhan. Proud to say I recognized many of the signs (or should I be more embarrassed LOL?). I wonder if Georges Claud became wealthy or famous for his amazing invention??

    • Thanks, Tina! Yes, we recognized some of the signs as well. Yes, Claude monopolized the business for quite a while, but there were lawsuits challenging his patents and, by the the late 1930s, plenty of competing neon manufacturers.

  2. Wow! What an interesting museum, Siobhan, I never heard of a neon sign museum before. Also, 1300 bulbs! glad that they will reserve the classic carousel! I wonder if they will change the bulbs to more energy saving types ahaha

  3. I’m so glad that the Carousel is going to a new home to be restored and loved! This tour of the neon light museum is fantastic. I’ve never been there, but this is an inspiration to make a day trip! Have you been to the Albany, Oregon Carousel Museum? It recharges the batteries and is an example of how a community can revive the joy of these early joy rides!

    • Thanks, Lindy! Yes, I was happy to learn the carousel will be moved there. No, I haven’t been to the Carousel Museum. I’ll add it to my list. 😀

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