Posts Tagged ‘center for architecture’

We had a swell evening at the talk given by Len Davidson about the neon and vintage signs in Philadelphia (and beyond) and I wanted to remind folks where they can see some of Davidson Neon‘s signs “in captivity”:

These signs and others are hanging in the Philadelphia Center for Architecture on Arch Street:

Neon Signs In Captivity(This was actually taken after our talk was over, you don’t have to see it through the grates when the museum shop is open- it just made me think of them being in the zoo!)

Go dog, go!

Even if the Center is closed you can enjoy them from the street:

We also got the insider skinny regarding one of the marvelous old porcelain enamel and neon signs from Philly’s past- Pat’s King of Steaks:

This giant sign once stood high atop a now closed location, but Davidson neon now displays the enormous crown at Jack’s Firehouse just across the street from the historic Eastern State Penitentiary. Of course as soon as we heard that we knew where we were going to eat our after-talk meal!

Pat's King of Steaks Crown

(I hope I didn’t ruin their first date!)

As a quick aside, Jack’s is a great place to grab a bite – we loooved the pulled pork on home made corn chips- AND it is in a renovated fire house, which is pretty cool. The night we were there it was warm and balmy out, and the giant doors were thrown open to catch the night air. A great end to a great evening in Philly!

Davidson Neon has been tapped to reproduce this once glorious neon and porcelain enamel sign, to be shown atop the legendary Pat’s Steaks in South Philly. Stay tuned for more exciting sign news, and don’t forget to take a look at the signs around you!

Neon Museum Satellite Collection
Center for Architecture
1218 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 569-3188

See how close the Neon Museum’s satellite collection is to other cool stuff, click here for the Retro Roadmap!

Pat’s King Of Steaks Sign
Jack’s Firehouse

2130 Fairmount Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 232-9000

See Pat’s Crown at Jack’s Firehouse – and on the Retro Roadmap!


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Those of us in the Philly area are in for a real vintage sign treat, as Len Davidson – owner of Davidson Neon and curator of the Neon Museum of Philadelphia -is giving a slide presentation and discussion of “The History Of Neon in Philadelphia” this Wednesday March 24, after it was snowed out this past February.

Even cooler is that it is being held at the Philadelphia Center for Architecture, where you can see in real life 13 of these wonderful neon signs all lit up in the satellite location for the Neon Museum.


– For those of you who can’t make the talk you can still see the signs from the Neon Museum at the Center For Architecture during their normal business hours, so make it a stop on your  next visit to Philadelphia! –

I contacted Len a while ago asking him about the original McGillin’s Ale House sign and he was kind enough to give me some details about Thursday’s talk. Starting at 6pm we will learn about the types and history of neon signs, not only ones in the Philadelphia area, but some of the greats from around the country. We’ll also learn about different initiatives for getting the remaining neon signs the recognition they deserve, not only for being colorful and wonderful, but as a part of the folk art of  our past. His beautiful book Vintage Neon, as well as his line of neon sign postcards will be available for purchase.


Len began collecting neon in the 70’s and has collected or helped preserve more than 200 vintage signs, including such distinctive Philadelphia landmark signs as The Reading Terminal Market sign, Pat’s Steaks neon sign and the Levi’s Hot Dogs neon sign among others. I was thrilled to learn that he was responsible for the cheery yellow neon on the marquee of my fave local historic movie house, Phoenixville’s Colonial Theatre!


The Philadelphia Center For Architecture is located just down the street from the famous Reading Terminal Market, so get into town early to pick up a bite to eat (that’s our plan!) there before the talk, absorb the history of this great market, and check out their great neon signs.

The talk is sponsored by The Society of Architectural Historians / Philadelphia Chapter, and AIA Phila Historic Preservation Committee. The cost is $5 for members and $10 for the rest of us.

Neon Museum Satellite Collection
Center for Architecture
1218 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 569-3188

See how close the Neon Museum’s satellite collection is to other cool stuff, click here for the Retro Roadmap!

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