Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October Special: Part 3

October is a time for phantoms, specters, and revenants to wander the earth unchallenged. And what are more ghostly than ghost signs?

Signs peer out from behind peeled back plaster, like this nearly-unidentifiable example in Morrilton, Arkansas.

Astral beings are the only souls slinking through the old square in tiny Newark, Arkansas. Perhaps the apparition of the wall dog that painted this sign across from the railroad haunts the shadows of this building.

Whatever hotels still exist in Paris have certainly now been banished to sprawl zones, leaving this the only indicator of any such business.

This rust-colored wall in Paris has boiled away enough to show some of its previous identities.

The oldest building in Russellville is also an epitaph for Selz, a defunct brand of shoes, as well as a meat market, among other things. An enterprising denizen of the 21st century also has left his transient mark on the building.

The flesh of downtown Wynne's carcass is beginning to slough off, revealing sinewy ghost signs. This building's signs in particular seems to be reflecting the dismal conditions of the tarp-covered goods being sold in front of its facade. The face of this building reminds me of an afflicted older gentleman, gazing silently at the rot surrounding him and attempting to stand tall over it. I can only hope that he succeeds.

The side of the same building is a pale wipe of signs, all of them as mysterious as the cemented-in windows.

The ancient text "Royal Crown" is creeping out from under the "Wholesale Parts" sign, perhaps betraying an earlier, more glamorous purpose for this building. I'll leave you with this sad reminder of the state of almost all of Arkansas's dead and dying small towns. Be wary, this October 31st, when the souls of the dead walk the earth, of the wandering spirits of Arkansas. I am not so sure they will be happy with us.


(P.S.: I recently wrote an article on ghost signs for the Arkansas Farm Bureau magazine "Front Porch," which should be coming out sometime this week or next. Hurrah for being published!)

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