Some of my photos are now for sale at ImageKind.

Nature Index
(My hiking and camping adventures in Northern California.)

Culture Index
(NorCal cities, highways, restaurants, museums, architecture, historic attractions, vintage neon signs, roadside attractions, etc.)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Lost Neon Sign: Sacramento's Philipp's Bakery

20070426 Philipp's Bakery

Not really lost. Just disappeared from public view, into the warehouse on the old McClellan Air Force Base where the Center for Sacramento History stores its large collection (more than 30) of vintage neon signs, including those from the original Shakey's Pizza on J Street in East Sacramento, and the Rosemount Grill, the bakery's former neighbor. I think they also have the Ark of the Covenant in there, but who really cares about that? THEY'VE GOT MORE THAN 30 VINTAGE NEON SIGNS!!! (I'm an enthusiast.)

New Off-Site Storage Facility #10
[This photo, from the Center for Sacramento History's Flickr account, shows them moving signs into the warehouse.]

According to an article by Lance Armstrong (presumably not the famed cyclist enjoying an encore career as a local interest writer), German immigrants Julius Herman and Angelina Philipp first opened their bakery in Calistoga, then moved to East Sacramento in 1925.

Besides the fact that the bakery was a longstanding institution in East Sacramento, the sign for it was a notable landmark on the old alignment of U.S. Route 50, pre-freeway. You can read more about the vintage remainders of this section of the old highway in my blog entry on Sacramento's Folsom Boulevard.

In 2007, I met the a man who claimed to be the owner of the building while taking the photo below. He was a broker who had returned to Sacramento and told me he had been very excited to be able to purchase his father's bakery and that his wife was running it now. He gave me his and his wife's cards and asked me to e-mail him a photo from that night. I did, but never got a response.

20070426 Philipp's Bakery

He told me that he had the sign restored (by Pacific Neon) in place, as he was afraid if it were taken down the city would not let him put it back up again. During the restoration process, it was discovered that the sign was a flasher, which he did not recall as a kid. He found out why. It was restored as a flasher, and a part kept burning out that had to be replaced for a couple of hundred dollars regularly. He figured his father had simply wired it to stay lit continually so as to avoid the expense.

Shortly after this conversation, I was surprised to learn that the bakery had closed, and a blog on the Sacramento Bee's website indicated that the brothers who owned the building had refused to renegotiate the lease of the baker and instead evicted her. Strange situation if said baker was the wife of one of the brothers.

20040824 Philipp's Bakery

Sorry to see the lovely old sign leave the neighborhood, particularly since I haven't photographed it since I upgraded from a compact digital camera to an SLR in 2008. I have been meaning in recent months to reshoot it, but once again I failed to act in time. Hopefully the Center for Sacramento History will let the people get another glimpse of it. Preferably sometime before their big Ark of the Covenant of show.

5 comments:

Unknown said...

Are these signs on public display @ the center for sacto history? Or is it kinda a closed door deal?

Unknown said...

Are these signs on public display @ the center for sacto history? Or is it kinda a closed door deal?

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About Me

My photo

I love to learn about, visit, photograph, research, and write about everything that is interesting, unique, and historical about Northern California, and wherever else I should be fortunate enough to find myself.  I've spent many years scouring the roadside in my little car for interesting subjects and walking down hiking trails in the Sierra Nevada and along the coast to get to know the wonder that is Northern California.  I share most of this via photos on Flickr, and as much as time permits me to on my blog, the NorCal Explorer.  Fine art prints of my photos are for sale on Imagekind.