Saturday, September 4, 2010

** K C 's Western Auto Neon Sign ** My Childhood Nite Lite!

Did you ever have trouble sleeping at night as a kid?  I did!  Was the bedroom too dark for comfort?  You bet!  Well, as a kid growing up in Kansas City on what I still believe to be the highest hill in the city, there were many sights to see and wonder about at night.  And one of the grandest sights ever, and certainly the best night light a kid could ever have, was the neon light on top of the Western Auto building in Kansas City, Missouri.  It was located approximately 5-6 miles Northeast of our area in Argentine, Kansas and my sister, brother, and I could see it from our bedroom window and backyard.  We would just sit and watch the white arrow go around the sign, disappear and come back around again.  I had the pleasure of having my bed right by that particular window, so I was able to enjoy it on my own when everyone else was asleep.  And in the summer, we would lay across my little bed on our stomachs with the window open and just gaze through the window screen at that marvelous sign. What a conversation piece!  We thought we could count the bulbs going around the sign-all 2,500 of them, or how many times in an hour could the arrow go around the sign!  We really didn't know how many bulbs there were, but trying to figure it out killed time on many a warm summer night.   My sister Leta says she always wondered how we were able to see it, when we were in Kansas and the building was downtown Kansas City, Missouri.  Who knew! 

This building, 95 years later, having been built in 1915, still stands glorious and proud with the neon sign still active every night.  It is no longer the retail store that was a mail order house for auto parts, bicycles and tires.  It has been renovated and now houses tenants in it's high-end lofts.  The Western Auto brand name was discontinued after nearly a century of business.  My sister and niece have been inside the building recently, and Leta says you never have to leave-everything you need is right there.  Well, I'm proud to know that an icon from my childhood still exists and functions today.  And I'll bet that another child or children who may be living on my old street in Kansas are gazing and marveling at this old night light.  "ZZZZZZ!"

If you'll look off to the right at the top of my sidebar, you will find a YouTube strip showing some video of this famous sign!
Don't miss my Kansas City July 2009 slideshow.  We took Mom to the Union Station for a tour and had a fun time.  The architecture was spectacular!  And the trains brought back many memories.  The "Milwaukee Road" stood proud (dusty, but proud).  We used to ride that train from Chicago to Milwaukee to visit my aunt and uncle.  We also got some pictures of Franklin Elementary school I attended, and my high school, along with some pictures of our church too.  It was a great trip!

 I guess by now you've spotted a new survey on my sidebar...well, I call it a sidebar.  I really don't know what they call the righthand column on a blog.  Maybe I ought to ask someone!  Anyway, there are two choices ONLY on this survey, and the polls are open until 8:00 PM on Citizenship Day which is observed Friday, September 17, 2010.  I'm counting on a big may have to do a little research though.  I mean, step up to the challenge!

If you're wondering about the two cats in the Indian Summer quote, "Spicey" is on top deck and "Krash" is in the cockpit.  Sadly, both of these delightful pets have passed on, but we do have some memorable photos of them.


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