Relight The Night - Save Our Signs

On June 20, 2012, the Historic Old Town Pocatello Foundation announced a symbolic new initiative that blends several interests and passions together into one bright, shiny package dubbed "Relight the Night."   Downtown enjoys many glowing traditions including an awesome collection of vintage signs.  These artistic lights of the night once rivaled those of any city.

 

However, bit by shining bit, Old Town's beckoning signs have begun to fade into darkness and despair--a stark contrast to the signs of vitality and life so evident in  Old Town's many eclectic and artistic events and businesses.  The Relight the Night Initiative intends to reverse the deterioration of these community icons--rescuing and restoring these landmarks--large or small--one by one to their former brilliance and glory as jewels of Pocatello's city center.

 

This restoration initiative/campaign will require what its leaders call "a perfect storm of collaboration,” a community of givers who are passionate about their unique sense of place and a business district willing to create an even more attractive and distinctive destination.  This collaborative storm will be accompanied by "SOS (Save Our Signs) alerts" inviting community members and organizations to come to the rescue of a struggling sign.

 

WHY CARE ABOUT SIGNS?

 

Signs are essentially social--they identify, promote, inform, and advertise.  They direct and decorate.  In short, they communicate with their viewers.  Signs don't merely advertise, they often possess value in and of themselves.  Some become loved simply because of their visibility from a certain street corner or even from a vantage point across town.  They create the "magic of the night" and add a burst of color to even the greyest of days!                                                                                                  

 

Yet, historic signs pose problems for those who would save them.  On occasion, downtown buildings are sadly reduced to ashes or rubble--leaving their signs essentially "homeless."   Or, new business owners and uses may naturally endanger signs as they seek a "new image" rather than one from a by-gone day.  These treasures of chasing light bulbs and flickering neon were originally crafted of the finest materials which nowadays can be prohibitively expensive to maintain.

                                                                           

Happily, some downtown signs are treasured and capably maintained by their property owners: Pocatello Electric, Key Bank, The Whitman, Molinelli’s Jewelers, Bangs Office Products, Greyhound Bus Depot, for example.  Others, for monetary reasons, experience the misfortune of  peeling, rusting, and  languishing away--both in storage  yards and on the buildings they grace but definitely not as in their glory days.       

Fortunately many of these historic signs call out to the "greater community"--they are signatures from the past and reminders of beloved events, places, and people.  Such signs allow the past to speak to the present in ways that buildings by themselves cannot.  They give continuity to public spaces and become part of the community memory.   With so much expense and expertise needed for their rescue, many of Pocatello's signs will require full community involvement and that's why the Relight the Night Initiative came into being.                                                                                                                                                 

 

Under Randy Dixon's chairmanship, like-minded organizers are compiling a growing list of "Signs of Interest" that may need a full rescue or maybe just a bit of resuscitation.  Some on the list no longer (or in some cases never did) reside/exist downtown--yet they lit up Pocatello's night skies for decades.

 

The first sign to be targeted for renovation was the historic Chief Theater sign.  This is perhaps the most recognizable and most famous of all the downtown neon signs.  Many treasured memories were created at The Chief Theater, from first dates, first kisses and even proposals, many a past and present Pocatello resident has a story to share.  The Chief hung over Main Street from 1938 to 1993, when the Chief Theater burned to the ground.  It was a community effort to rehabilitate the theater, which was completed just prior to the fire.  Only two pieces of the theater were saved, the tile mosaic from the entryway and the sign.  The mosaic was first to be restored and now sits at the site of the theater.  The Chief sign, now completely renovated stands 50’ tall and brightly shines every night on Main Street.

 

Please take a moment and view the photos from the Chief Sign installation.  A special thank you to all of the donors who made the sign renovation possible!

 

The second sign to be repaired was the Greyhound Sign.  One of only two remaining in the US today, the Greyhound now runs every evening at it's home on top of the Historic Greyhound Bus Station Building located on W. Bonneville, in front of the Union Pacific Railroad Depot.

The third sign to be repaired was the Indian Head Sign on the Pocatello High School Auditorium.  The relighting ceremony for the completely renovated sign was held in conjunction with the high school's homecoming in September 2016.

The Chopsticks Cafe Sign was purchased, repaired and was relit during a ceremony in May 2017. 
On September 18, 2018 The Paris neon sign and the Key Bank neon sign were both relit during a ceremony hosted by Kind Community.

We need the community's support to continue our work.  Signs on the list for renovation and relighting include the Yellowstone Hotel Sign, The Paris, Harrison Jewelers, Teamsters, F.O.E. Eagles, Fred's Photo and others.

You can be an instrumental part of bringing more light and new life to Historic Old Town Pocatello.  Share your pride in our community and please contribute to help "Save Our Signs."  Thank you!
Help spread the word!

 

You can be instrumental in helping renovate future

 

signs.  Make a contribution today!

Shop, Dine & Play in Old Town Pocatello

Old Town Pocatello, Inc.

420 N Main St

Pocatello, ID 83204

208.232.7545

spalagi@oldtownpocatello.com

News

CLICK HERE TO SEE WHAT'S HAPPENING IN OLD TOWN POCATELLO THIS WEEK!

 

 

Summer Music Fest

 July 21

Summer Music Fest is coming downtown!  Catch an afternoon of live music as bands play from 2-6pm at featured bars and restaurants.  Enjoy food and drink specials, vote for your favorite bands, win some great prizes! 

 

August First  

Friday Art Walk      August 3!   

Old Town will be alive with crowds on August 3, as we host the August First Friday Art Walk. Don't miss this opportunity to view and experience art by local artists as well as regional and national artists. The walk includes over twenty businesses, restaurants and galleries, some with art on display, some with the artist on hand and some providing a live demonstration. Refreshments are always available. You may also find live music along the way. All local residents and visitors are welcome. There is no charge to attend monthly Art Walks.

 

Downtown Days Neon Street Dance 

 Aug 4!

Old Town Pocatello is pleased to present the “1st Annual Downtown Days Neon Street Dance!” Mark your calendars and plan now to come out with your best neon and enjoy a night of music, dancing and food. DJ Adrian will be spinning a variety of tunes from 6-8pm and KIN will be performing on stage from 8-10pm. Local restaurants and bars will have special menu items and of course drink specials, too. East Center Street, just East of the Center Street Underpass is the place to be on Saturday, August 4. Festivities begin at 6pm!

 

Portneuf Valley Farmers Market

  Saturdays 9am    to 1pm!

The Portneuf Valley Farmers Market is open for the summer!  Enjoy local, fresh produce and more every Saturday from 9am to 1pm at the Old Town Pavilion!  And, every Wednesday from 5pm to 8pm May 23 through August 29 in conjunction with the Revive @ 5 Summer Concerts!

 

Revive @ 5 Summer Concerts       Wednesdays

 5-8pm!

The Bannock Civitan Club is excited to once again host the Revive @ 5 Summer Concert Series. Please plan to join us at the Old Town Pavilion every Wednesday from 5-8pm all Summer long! The evening features free admission, a live band on stage each week, a different restaurant offering a dinner menu, the Wednesday Portneuf Valley Farmers Market, cold beverages, ice cream and tons of fun for the entire family! Click here to view this summer's schedule.

 

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