Vintage Signs Like a Mel-O-Dee

Posted by Louis Wery on Tuesday, September 24th, 2013 at 5:50pm.

Sarasota Magazine’s Heat Index feature gave full-page treatment to the neon Flamingo Colony Motel sign that used to glow in the dark on Sarasota’s North Trail. The vintage sign lives on in Marty Treu’s book Signs, Streets and Storefronts: A History of Architecture and Graphics along America’s Commercial Corridors.

Learning that Treu, an architect, lived in Sarasota 30 years ago and helped us legislate protection for vintage signs, I started thinking about my favorite signs. It feels good to pull these graphics from the recesses of my mind and take note again.

The Gulf Beach Resort Motel sign gave me my first introduction to Sarasota more than 20 years ago. Converted to a condo motel in the late 1970s, this 1950s-era retreat on Lido beach has added modern conveniences like REE WI-FI wireless high speed internet access in all rooms without losing any of its mid-century modern style.

Another favorite vintage sign marks Sarasota Classic Car Museum. And what about the one at Mel-O-Dee?

On St Armands Circle, the Columbia Restaurant sign pays homage to its founding. The oldest restaurant in Florida and the oldest restaurant in Sarasota, the Columbia sees no reason to modernize its iconic logo, which looks like it dates from around 1959 when the Sarasota restaurant opened on The Circle.

Photo of the Columbia Restaurant on St Armands Circle by Louis Wery

For more information about Sarasota & Her Islands, please contact Louis Wery.

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