Tuesday, November 19, 2013

SIGNing Off

This article, recently brought to our attention by Save The Signs on Colfax, was originally printed in The Urban Dweller newsletter in April of 1974, and describes efforts by Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods to encourage businesses to stop using animated signs:

On Dec. 8, 1973. Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods, Inc., began a campaign to persuade businesses which had flashing or moving signs to adjust the signs so that they no longer flashed or moved. Forty eight businesses with such signs which were within CHUN's geographic boundaries or had a visual impact on the neighborhood were contacted by letter by CHUN president, Michael Henry.

The businesses were asked to adjust their signs "because flashing and moving signs are in violation of the Denver City Sign Code, because their ugliness contributes to the visual deterioration of the neighborhood, and because they are wasteful of energy in a time when energy should only be used for necessary purposes."

To date, twenty-seven of the forty eight businesses contacted in the Capitol Hill area have adjusted their signs so that they no longer flash or move.

Mr. Richard Kuratli of the Bluebird Theater responded by letter to say that he does not believe that the flashing lights of his theater are ugly; that the theater does save some electricity by reducing the time the lights operate; that the sign is apparently not illegal "as we were permitted to leave ours connected"; and that "flashing lights add greatly to the Bluebird Theater atmosphere - therefore do not expect any cooperation."

Mr. Thomas Inslee of Taco-Toro wrote to outline the considerable energy reduction measures his company was already using, to express his belief that moving signs are not in violation of the city sign code, and to express his sincere interest in the neighborhood. The moving Taco-Toro sign has been turned off in recent weeks, but this may be due to a malfunction in the sign.

Mr. Gilbert Goldstein, an attorney representing both the Broadway Plaza Motel and the Royal Palace Motel, expressed his opinion that their moving sign was not illegal and that they were not "garish and ugly, but on the contrary, in my view are quite attractive and perform a useful function". He expressed willingness to meet with the CHUN president to discuss the matter further, and said "I hope that if such a meeting occurs, you will wear a tie which I will not consider garish and ugly."

Mr. Sid King of Sid King's Crazy Horse Bar wrote, "I have a high opinion of your civic association. I agree with you about the signs. As soon as I received your letter, I called the sign company and told them to disconnect the revolving mannequin and all flashing signs."

Since CHUN's first letter (and, obviously, "since" is not necessary interchangeable with "because of") as of press time, the following businesses had turned their signs off, and are deserving of thanks from the community:

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