Sign Pollution: Authenticity vs. "Prettification"

| Sunday, May 18 | 10:30 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. | Room: Brule A | Session Track: AD



Sign Pollution: Authenticity vs. "Prettification"

Many communities strive to avoid "sign pollution," but sometimes the result is a sterile and homogeneous district. In the past, downtowns tended to be cluttered places with many types of signs, awnings, and other features associated with thriving businesses. In this session, explore how Main Street businesses historically advertised and how understanding the historical context can then lead to practical application. Case studies will examine how one community discovered a conflict between their ordinance, community goals, and historical precedence. Learn how this conflict came to light and how the issue was resolved.


John Sandor, National Park Service
John Sandor has worked as an architectural historian in the Technical Preservation Services Division of the National Park Service since 1996. He previously worked as the architectural coordinator for the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office and has experience as a preservation consultant and a carpenter. John is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University in architecture and serves on the boards of the D.C. Preservation League and the Latrobe Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians.

Jim Gabbert, National Register of Historic Places
Jim Gabbert is a historian with the National Register of Historic Places, where he is responsible for reviewing nomination from 11 states and territories. He previously worked at the Oklahoma State Historic Preservation Office and for Indiana Landmarks.