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Honor Bright


Demolition of an old building in Highland Park, Michigan, has revealed two beautiful faded ads. How poignant to realize that the ads first appeared during a time of great prosperity, then were covered up and only revealed again after decades of decline.

When the ads for Honor Bright and Black Beauty first appeared, between 1915 and 1925, Highland Park was in glorious ascent. The Ford assembly lines were humming, and the city had become a desirable community whose population had grown tenfold, to 45,000, in a decade...When the ads reappeared, it was to an entirely different city, one of abandonment, decline and the hope for a return to days when children carried schoolbooks and rode bicycles, carefree and smiling.

And it's always nice to see a quote from my friend Frank Jump, who has really become the go-to guy on faded ads.

"It’s a reminder of our own timeline and how quickly things become obsolete," said Frank Jump, a photographer and the author of Fading Ads of New York City, (The History Press, 2011). "One minute people had thriving businesses building buggies, and the next minute Henry Ford is pushing out automobiles on an assembly line and nobody wants horse and buggies anymore."

Frank's book is next on my buy list.

(Photo credit: Nicole Bengiveno, The New York Times)

January 23, 2012 in History, Photography | Permalink