Neon signs were popular throughout the United States between 1920 and 1960. Pasadena has many examples from this period, the earliest of which dates back to 1926 (the Bekins Storage Company Sign at 511 South Fair Oaks Avenue). The City has surveyed this signs on two occasions for the purpose of protecting them as significant components of the City’s history and development. Many of the signs identified in these surveys, which were conducted in 1982 and 1990, have been removed; however, those that remain are included in this driving tour. Those signs that continue to be illuminated at night are noted.
You can click on any sign in the list below to jump to information about that property in the California Historical Resources Inventory Database. Known as the CHRID, this program promotes and protects cultural heritage through documenting and sharing information on historical resources.
⊕ Indicates that signs are lit at night
1. Talbot Electric Sign, 1887 E Washington Boulevard (Link)
This building has a neon sign mounted to the roof.
2. Cleaners & Laundry Cleaners Signs, 1707 E Washington Boulevard (Link)
This building has two projecting neon signs attached to its two street facades, which were installed in 1948 at the same time the building was constructed.
⊕ 3. Champion Cleaners Laundry Sign, 1537 E Washington Boulevard (Link)
This building has one projecting neon sign, installed in 1959, attached to its E. Washington Boulevard façade. As of 2013, a portion of the sign lettering is illuminated at night.
⊕ 4. Sandwiches by Connal Burgers Salads Subs Sign, 1505 E Washington Boulevard (Link)
A rooftop neon sign with large curving arrow sits atop this building. The sign was installed circa 1955 and rehabilitated in 2001.
5. Lebanese Kitchen Sign, 1384 E Washington Boulevard (Link)
The projecting neon sign attached to this building appears to have been installed in 1951 for Hillcrest Bakery. The neon lettering was changed in 2001 to reflect the name of the new business.
⊕ 6. Orange Grove Shopping Center Sign, 475 E Orange Grove Boulevard (Link)
This property has a large freestanding neon sign supported by two round metal posts. The words “Orange Grove” are mounted onto a rectangular metal cabinet while the words “shopping” and “center” are each mounted to diamond-shaped cabinets that are bisected by the support posts. it was installed in 1959. As of 2013, this sign is illuminated at night.
7. Floyd S. Lee Fireplace Fixtures Sign, 1215 E Walnut Street (Link)
This rooftop neon sign was installed in 1953.
8. Mirrors Plate Glass Windows Sign, 1754 E. Walnut Street (Link)
This neon projecting sign appears to have been installed circa 1945.
9. Bell & Vaughn Frame & Wheel Aligning Sign, 1821 E Walnut Street (Link)
This neon projecting sign appears to have been installed circa 1955.
10. In ’N Out Burger Sign, 2114 E Foothill Boulevard (Link)
This neon rooftop sign was installed in 1952; the arrow with light bulbs was added in 1955. This is the oldest standing In ’N Out Burger location. As of 2013, this sign is illuminated at night.
11. Liquors & Champagne Bottle Signs, 2547 E Foothill Boulevard (Link)
This building has two neon signs installed in 1950. One is a set of letters attached to a projecting canopy over the building’s storefront. The other is a neon champagne bottle, which used to have a popped cork above, attached to a pylon that projects from the roof. This pylon also used to have neon lettering with the words “Foothill,” “Delicatessen” and “Liquor” and there was also a second sign on the tiered canopy.
⊕ 12. Jesus Saves Sign, 55 N San Gabriel Boulevard (Link)
This projecting neon sign in the shape of a cross has neon tubing along its outer edge and was installed circa 1950.
⊕ 13. Original Whistle Stop Trains Sign, 2490 E Colorado Boulevard (Link)
This neon projecting sign was installed in a different location in 1951 and moved to the current location in 1988.
⊕ 14. Fedde Furniture Sign, 2350 E Colorado Boulevard (Link)
This rooftop neon sign was installed circa 1950.
15. C&H Sales Co Surplus Materials & Surplus Signs, 2176 E Colorado Boulevard (Link)
This property has a tall multi-colored rooftop neon sign, installed in 1956, with each letter of the vertically oriented word “surplus” within a neon-bordered, downward-pointing arrow.
⊕ 16. Saga Motor Hotel Sign, 1633 E Colorado Boulevard (Link)
This iconic neon sign projects from a pylon that extends from the roof of the hotel office. It was installed when the hotel was built in 1959. As of 2013, this sign is illuminated at night.
17. New & Antique Oriental Rugs Sign, 985 E Colorado Boulevard (Link)
This building has a neon sign mounted to the top of a tiered projecting canopy over the building storefront and a roof-mounted externally illuminated sign board.
18. Hotel Livingstone Sign, 139 S Los Robles Avenue (Link)
This neon sign is mounted to the rooftop of the building. It and the building to which it is attached were rehabilitated in 2011 and received a Historic Preservation Award from the City’s Historic Preservation Commission.
19. Cornet Sign, 411 S Arroyo Parkway (Link)
This two-part sign is mounted onto a large neon-bordered pylon that projects perpendicular to the building face, with a rounded horizontal canopy crossing it near the base. One portion of the sign (with internally illuminated lettering) is attached to the top of the pylon, while the neon “Cornet” sign is mounted to the top of the rounded canopy. The pylon bisects two vertical rectangular windows with a fluted wall above.
20. Royal Laundry Sign, 443 S Raymond Avenue (Link)
This Art Deco laundry drive-in, built in 1939, has a large marquee with a curving arrow at the top extending over the driveway. While all of the original lettering has been removed, the structure itself is iconic and sculptural. This property is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
21. Monty’s Cocktails Customer Parking Sign, 592 S Fair Oaks Avenue (Link)
This freestanding pole sign, built in 1953, remains on the property despite the demolition of the original Monty’s Restaurant building. A metal back-lit wall sign was donated to the Museum of Neon Art upon demolition of the building.
⊕ 22. Public Storage Co. Sign, 511 S Fair Oaks Avenue (Link)
Originally built for Bekins Storage Company, this neon rooftop sign was rehabilitated in 2011 for Public Storage. The “Storage Co” portion at the bottom, as well as the mounting structure, are original. The sign is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is illuminated at night.
⊕ 23. El Toreo Café Sign, 25 S Fair Oaks Avenue (Link)
This neon sign projects from the face of the building to which it is attached.
⊕ 24. 35er Sign, 10 E Colorado Boulevard (Link)
This sign projects perpendicular to the building face and has a row of light bulbs along the outer edge of the angled sign cabinet.
⊕ 25. Le Sex Shoppe Movie Arcade Video Books Sign, 45 E Colorado Boulevard (Link)
This large vertical neon sign projects from the face of the building to which it is attached. The sign was originally installed in 1950 for Pasadena Stationery Company.
⊕ 26. Marine Building LTD Sign, 126 N Fair Oaks Avenue (Link)
This projecting neon sign originally read “Marine Hotel Rooms.”
⊕ 27. Pasadena Labor Temple Sign, 42 E Walnut Street (Link)
This sculptural neon sign projects from the face of the building, directly above the entrance.
⊕ 28. Brookmore Apts Sign, 189 N Marengo Ave (Link)
This freestanding neon sign is mounted to a square metal pole; the primary sign cabinet is a bowtie shape with a small, separate rectangular sign below.