First published in the July 30 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.
The Museum of Neon Art has accepted a historic donation of neon signs from the city of Anaheim.
Most of these signs, which are notable because of their aesthetic and nostalgic appeal, were assumed long gone. Some of the signs have been in storage for the past 20 years. The Sandman Motel and Silver Moon Motel signs measure more than 14 and 12 feet, respectively.
From the 1950s onward, the signs attracted many families who were visiting the Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland theme parks. A sign for 5 Points Liquor Market as well as a bulb marquee sign, which museum officials are still working to determine its original, were also donated to the museum.
“Mid-century neon signs are part of Anaheim’s history,” said Mike Lyster, chief communications officer for the city of Anaheim. “Regrettably, some of the motels, restaurants and other businesses that pioneered neon signs in our city have outlived their usefulness and gone away. Working with the Museum of Neon Art, we’ve found a way to preserve part of Anaheim’s original golden age. We welcome everyone to experience Anaheim’s history through MONA and to support the museum’s work to preserve and showcase the history of not just our city but all of Southern California.”
A crescent moon with a benevolent face presides over Silver Moon Motel’s cursive script paired with a block-serif MOON text. Many believed this sign to be lost when the building was demolished in 2002. The Sandman Motel, with its elfin figure, was removed as part of a community redevelopment project that started in 2017.
“We were stunned when we were invited into the Anaheim city warehouse and saw these long-lost signs. MONA applauds the forethought of the city of Anaheim to preserve these historical treasures. It was not long ago when cities across the United States were banning neon signs, now neon is recognized as a crucial part of a city’s heritage,” said MONA Executive Director Corrie Siegel.
The donated signs now reside at MONA’s Pomona warehouse, which will start hosting warehouse tours for the public next year. The signs join their Anaheim neighbor, the La Palma Chicken Pie shop sign, which is currently displayed at the Museum of Neon Art in Glendale and Anaheim’s Al’s Liquor and Party Pantry giant neon pole sign, which is stored at the museum’s Pomona warehouse.