I know it feels like fall has already settled into the region, but today is really, truly, officially the last day of summer. Being the last day of summer means it is also the last installation in the Northwest Neon series. Thank you everybody who stopped by to read and liked the neon posts! After today, it will be business as usual here on the blog, featuring postcards, souvenirs, locations, and anything else pertaining to local history!
And with that, let’s get to the last of this summer’s neons!
Johnny’s at Fife; Fife, Washington
While it may not be the most interesting sign, Johnny’s at Fife has been a local favorite since 1968! Johnny’s at Fife opened as a companion to Johnny’s Dock, the iconic Tacoma restaurant that opened in 1953.
Johnny’s Dock was opened by John E. Meaker a year after he sold all of his businesses and retired. Starting as a meat cutter in 1915, Meaker went on to own a butcher shop and several restaurants across the state. Johnny’s Dock was built on Pier 3 on the Tacoma tideflats and enjoyed much success until it was destroyed in a fire on December 24, 1961. Johnny’s rebuilt and continued to operate until 1977, when the Port of Tacoma reclaimed the land for a new container terminal. At that time, Johnny’s Dock relocated to its present location on D Street.
Perhaps what Johnny’s is most famous for is its line of salad dressings, seasonings, and other sauces, launched in 1956. Many of you probably have a container of Johnny’s Seasoning Salt in your kitchen right now!
IOOF (Independent Order of Odd Fellows); Wenatchee, Washington
The IOOF fraternity was founded in Baltimore, Maryland by Thomas Wildey in 1819. It is sometimes referred to as the Triple Link Fraternity in reference to its triple link symbol, which symbolizes the IOOF motto of “Friendship, Love, and Truth.” These links are visible on this Wenatchee IOOF neon, probably dating from the 1940s or 1950s.
While I can’t find anything about the history of the Odd Fellows in Wenatchee, this IOOF Hall is well-known locally for being the site of many punk rock concerts. In more recent times, it has housed Jazzercise and martial arts classes.
Gas for Less; Wenatchee, Washington
I’m going to end the series with this lovely, but puzzling, neon-and-light bulb combination sign. Located on Wenatchee Avenue, it sits just inside of a fence surrounding an old restored gas station (Chuck’s Thrifty Gas) and other restored signs and other roadside ephemera. The purpose of this gas station is unclear, and I can only guess that it is somebody’s collection, which they kindly share with anybody who walks by.
Regardless of its purpose or originality to Washington, this sign likely dates from the 1940s.