West of the Mississippi

Metropolises as diverse as St. Louis and Los Angeles are west of the Mississippi River and their building materials – brick, plaster, stucco and more – are as varied as their cultures. The mining towns of the West sprung up quickly as did the commercial messages on the sides of the new businesses on Main Street. Ken Jones, who has photographed an astonishing 2,500 wall signs in all 50 states, claims that Butte, Montana is possibly the best ghost sign town in the country. In fact, the  Northwest has no dearth of classic wall signs, recalling handsome specimens in the the Washington State towns of Bellingham and Port Townsend. The East has nothing on the West when it comes to outdoor advertising.