Interesting things are happening in the comments to Bernalwood’s post about the NIMBY who prompted the City to declare a vintage Coca-Cola billboard illegal. Apart from some enlightened thinking about where personal neurosis should end and personal responsibility begin, our armchair historians are working to verify the provenance of the sign to demonstrate to the City that it pre-dates our current sign zoning laws.
It was only a matter of time until the incomparable Burrito Justice –the vassal blogger from nearby La Lengua — busted out some of his history kung-fu. His sleuthery is typically impressive: Mr. Burrito has confirmed that the private home upon which the classic Coca-Cola sign now appears was the location of Tipton’s Grocery Store until the late 1960s. We now also know that Mr Tipton was a painter, so he may have even painted the original Coca-Cola sign himself. BOOYA!
Even better, Bernalwood reader Frank P. submitted a first-person recollection of the store this morning that provides a vivid description of what it was really like:
I grew up in that neighborhood and went to school at Paul Revere in the late 60′s-early 70′s. The building used to be a corner grocer, one that would be swamped with kids buying bubblegum, trading cards, and penny candy as soon as school let out. It was shoulder to shoulder kids in that little store, the stressed out owner running the register while at the same time trying to keep an eye on all of us. I think the store was Tipton’s as the owner was refereed to as “Mrs. Tips” by all of us.
Could well have been an advertisement for Coca Cola back then, don’t remember it though.
Our search for clues continues…
UPDATE 23 February, 2011: Bernalwood has obtained airtight historical evidence that the Coke mural was likely created during the 1940s — well before the City’s 1965 ordinances went into effect. Read all about it.
Image: 1950 Sanborn map overlay on current Google Map, by Burrito Justice