California Roads - Morena Blvd.
SB under the east side of the I-8/I-5 interchange near Old Town San Diego. Interestingly, none of these old signs are button copy.
NB at Sherman St. The photo atop this page is seen from Sherman St. EB.
NB at Sea World Dr., courtesy Lou Corsaro. Obviously, Morena Blvd. parallels I-5 for a little while, it being a north-south road and all.
Going out of order, but I wanted to save the best for last. Here are the front and back of what is tied for the oldest guide sign in California, if the other examples haven't already been removed by the time you read this. Before even getting to a green background, California started with a black background, and it was made of porcelain. Instead of bolting each letter (or the arrow) onto the sign separately, such that sign elements can be removed or rearranged, the letters and arrow are part of the sign background. Instead of being inserted in the back of each character, the reflective "buttons" making up the copy are encased in the sign itself, which is why there are plates riveted to the back of the sign. There are separate plates for the arrow and for each word. To top it off, the porcelain-coated steel sign is mounted to a frame of wood rather than directly mounted on the supporting poles. This sign ought to be preserved as a National Historic Landmark - the first generation of guide signs that ultimately led to the highly reflective, colorful, and varied signs decorating our roads today.
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