From the archives | Photo gallery
Signs of the times
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Every day, we are bombarded with signage in our environment that may or may not be useful to us. Photos depicting a variety of this visual information are interspersed throughout our archive, giving us a glimpse or clue to the past. Whether it is an advertisement, price indicator, or a traffic warning, signs become interesting depictions of what used to be. -Leanne Burden Seidel and Lisa Tuite
Ed Fitzgerald/Globe Staff
April 2, 1946: Boston had already achieved fame for its high position in the fishing industry. It remained for a high wind to produce a suggestion that might be carried out by a clever Boston chef. A blustery northwest breeze tore the "R" off the Boston Fish Pier sign, making it read as it does in the photo above. Ed Fitzgerald, a Globe photographer coming into port, noticed the altered sign and took this picture.
Globe Archive photo
July 18, 1949: The Boston Chamber of Commerce unveiled this somewhat macabre billboard on Boston Common, urging public safety for drivers and pedestrians.
Philip Preston/Globe Staff
Nov. 8, 1968: Richard Nixon was the one, winning the presidential election on Nov. 5, 1968. The sign on Broadway in South Boston came down to make way for a new crop of advertising.
Ed Jenner/Globe Staff
Feb. 10, 1971: The posted sign on the Fens, accompanied by some primitive rescue equipment, was no deterrent to the skaters in the pond's spirited hockey game.
Charles Dixon/ Globe Staff
Nov. 9, 1974: Sam Denaro, owner of Sam's Citgo in Swampscott, pumped a customer's gas. The gas station was in a price war with Mike Gambale's Independent Oil Co. which had lowered prices to 46.9 cents a gallon. Both Sam's and Uva's Texaco across the street went to 47.9 cents in hopes of keeping customers.
Ted Dully/Globe Staff
June 16, 1976: No absence of signs on Route 9 in Natick. Some old favorites like Howard Johnson's are no longer there.
Dan Sheehan/Globe Staff
Feb. 8, 1978: A sign meant for boaters approaching the entrance to Scituate harbor landed in downtown Scituate during the blizzard of 1978. The “no wake” rule could apply to the car sunk in the water just beyond the sign.
George Rizer/Globe Staff
Oct. 2, 1978: Sox fans gathered for their free seats on the Gilbey's Gin billboard outside the park on Lansdowne Street to wait for the start of the Red Sox-Yankee playoff game. Bucky Dent hit a three-run home run in the top of the seventh inning to put the Yankees ahead 3-2. The final score would eventually be 5-2 as the Yankees won the American League East.
Tom Landers/Globe Staff
March 24, 1978: The plethora of signs in Kenmore Square as seen from Brookline Avenue.
Ted Dully/Globe Staff
July 5, 1977: Billy Towle of Quincy took a Coke break from posting a new advertising sign for a well-known Coke mixer, Bacardi rum.