Ghost Signs: When Walls Do Talk

© Imaginexxus LLC

It’s easy to walk right past, not giving them a second glance or thought. Once prevalent in the late 19th to mid-20th centuries, bold advertisements were painted on city buildings to encourage customers to buy everything from furniture to soft drinks. The majority of these ads that still remain have faded from being battered by sun, rain and time.

The term “ghost sign” is appropriate to describe these billboards of yesteryear. This one found in Angers, France gently whispers to the 21st century resident or visitor that this was once a fabric store. It’s easy to imagine stylish ladies coming in and out of the sandstone building carry brown paper wrapped packages of cotton, velveteen and silk, along with dress, skirt and blouse patterns.

Just as the women transformed the fabric from this shop into something new, this building has been converted into an apartment complex. However, the lace curtains and the delicate petunias speak of the femininity of its former life. I guess walls do talk.

If you enjoyed this story in our series, we invite you to check out our travel books that use our theme, A Picture Is Worth 1,000 characters. Each impression features an original photo and a story that’s exactly 1,000 characters long.