Urban Archaeology: 100 Year-Old Ghost Sign Discovered in Port Richmond

The multi-story sign is for Kolb Bakery.

"Kolb's Pan-Dandy Bread" sign | Image: Conrad Benner, Streets Dept.

“Kolb’s Pan-Dandy Bread” sign | Image: Conrad Benner, Streets Dept.

Billboards, 3-D, digital or static, are a hot topic of discussion these days. While the powers that be swear that we’ll all just love those dandy UEDs some day, there are advertisements that are almost universally adored as relics of Philly’s past–those hand painted, brilliantly faded, ghost signs.

Conrad Benner of Streets Dept. took some incredible shots of a huge ghost sign found within an ongoing renovation project by Urban Renewal Builders on Richmond Street in Port Richmond. The multi-color sign dates back at least 100 years and promotes “Kolb’s Pan-Dandy Bread” from Kolb Bakery. More from Benner:

Despite being painted over a CENTURY ago, the ad is in such remarkable condition due in part to the fact that it was covered with a layer of horsehair plaster, protecting and hiding the ad until it was rediscovered this past week

Urban Renewal Builders will preserve the sign with a layer of clear protection and even incorporate the cherub-like bakery boy into the final design of one of the apartments, which will be above a coffee shop on the ground floor. For more shots of the ghost sign, hit up Benner’s site in the link below.

Last summer, James Roletter happened upon another enormous ghost sign in a rehab project on Martha Street. It was for the former Snellenburg’s Clothing Company and was later incorporated into the finished rowhome.

Uncovering A 100 Year-Old ‘Ghost Sign’ in Port Richmond [Streets Dept.]