A view of the ghost sign from across Valencia Street. There is a chain link fence around the parking lot, blocking a clear view, but you can still see the ghost sign on the wall behind the fence.

New Ghost Sign Uncovered at Valencia St and Cesar Chavez

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Construction has begun on a new apartment building at the corner of Valencia and Cesar Chavez. Most of this site was a parking lot, but when developers tore down a few small garage units on the edge of the lot, they uncovered a massive ghost sign from the 1930s.

A pile of rubble where a garage was and the side of a building that is still intact. You can see an old mural for "Chevrolet Six" on the side of the wall. 

On the right hand side, you can see some hand painted graffiti that says "J.O. 7/17/39" on it, plus a drawing of what appears to be a light bulb.

A ghost sign is an old, hand-painted advertisement that has been preserved on a building for an extended period of time. In this case, the sign had been sandwiched between some small garages used by auto-mechanics and the side of the building currently being used by EagleRider Motorcycle Shop.

A screenshot from Google Maps showing the location of where the new housing will be and where the ghost sign was uncovered.
A satellite image shows the parking lot at Cesar Chavez and Valencia and the location where the ghost sign was found

This ghost sign is an advertisement for Mission Chevrolet, which was built in 1927 at 3146 Mission St. This is a long building that runs all the way from Mission to Valencia, where the original sign was recently uncovered. When I first moved here, this was the site of an O’Reilly Auto Parts store. If you were in a hurry, you could cut through the store to quickly get from Valencia to Mission St.

Bernalwood has a great history of this building on his site, including some nice photos of the bas-relief roundel that can still be found on the sides of the building. Read more at https://bernalwood.com/2014/10/09/then-and-now-90-years-of-auto-biz-at-the-former-mission-chevrolet-dealership/

Along with the ghost sign, we can also see graffiti that appears to be from 1939. The graffiti is hand painted and appears to be a drawing of a light bulb, with text inside that says “J.O. 7/17/39”.

A close up of the ghost sign, where you can see someone drew a lightbulb in white paint and wrote "J.O. 7/17/39" inside the light bulb. It looks like they were unhappy with how their "9" turned out, so they crossed it out and wrote a better looking "9" above it.

This San Francisco graffiti from 1939 was probably my favorite thing about this new ghost sign. I did my best to recreate the tag in black and white in the image below:

A black and white drawing of a the graffiti that was seen on the ghost sign. This looks like a light bulb with the text "J.O. 7/17/39." inside of it.
My hand-drawn rendition of the 1939 graffiti that was spotted on the ghost sign.






One response to “New Ghost Sign Uncovered at Valencia St and Cesar Chavez

  1. Darcy Lee Avatar

    So cool!! I love ghost signs and that lightbulb graffiti!

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