Work nearly done on landmark sign

Work is under way to restore the large Chevrolet "bowtie' sign that has shown bright along U.S. 31 on Grand Haven's south side for more than 47 years. Postema Signs & Graphics in Grand Rapids is restoring the sign, and they hope to be finished with the project by the end of the month.
Alex Doty
Apr 21, 2012


“This restoration has been more involved than we initially thought,” said Matt Jarka, the sign company's manager. “The entire bottom half of the steel frame was basically gone and had to be replaced with new steel.”

Postema crews came to Grand Haven in March and removed the landmark sign for restoration.

“The first day it was down, it was very eerie,” Gage service director John Menard said.

Menard noted that the large sign had been in place since 1965, but he is unsure of its origin or how it originally came to Grand Haven.

In March, the Grand Haven Planning Commission designated it as a landmark sign — enabling the owner to remove, repair and re-install the sign as long as it looked like the original.

“If it couldn’t look like 1965, then all bets were off,” Menard said.

Menard said the other option — had restoration of the sign not been feasible — was to get the standard General Motors Chevrolet dealership sign.

For those who are handling the restoration process, work is a big undertaking.

“The size is a little bit of a challenge, but we’re equipped to handle things of that size,” Jarka said.
Once the sign arrived in Grand Rapids, the steel frame was rebuilt and sandblasted, primed and painted to prevent further deterioration. All of the electrical components are being replaced to comply with current electrical standards.

“Some of the neon will be reused, but the majority will be manufactured new by Joe Bulthuis at Neon Leon of Comstock Park,” Jarka said. “There is over 1,200 feet of neon on the sign.”

Jarka noted the porcelain panels on the sign have also required a lot of work.

“We first cleaned the panels with a rust remover and an acid to remove the oxidation," he explained. "We then treated the panels with a rust converter and then started to put in new metal where needed. The panels will then get spot-painted where needed, and then all the panels will get a gloss clear coat of paint.”

The outside edge of the sign will have new stainless steel panels fabricated to replace the originals.




The Chevrolet Bowtie has been one of the World’s most recognized trademarks since 1913, when William C. Durant first introduced the symbol that represents Chevrolet’s winning success!
We have all heard the legend how Durant copied the bowtie design from the wallpaper in a Paris Hotel. The 50 Year Anniversary issue of The Chevrolet Story, printed in 1961, and reprinted in part in the October 1986 G&D, told the story this way:

“This was also the year (1913) that the famous Chevrolet trademark was first used on the cars. The distinctive trademark has appeared billions of times on products, advertisings and sales literature as the mark of dependability, economy and quality in motor transportation. It originated in Durant’s imagination when, as a world traveler in 1908, he saw the pattern marching off into infinity as a design on wallpaper in a French hotel. He tore off a piece of the wallpaper and kept it to show friends with the thought that it would make a good nameplate for a car.”

Margery Durant in her book. My Father, wrote in 1929 her version of how her father designed the Chevrolet Bowtie:
“As in the case of the Buick, my father drew name-plates on pieces of paper at the dinner table. I think it was between the soup and the fried chicken one night that he sketched out the design that is used on the Chevrolet car to this day.”


As a grand haven resident I am excited to see this sign return.

On a side note, my career choice is in environmental health and safety and the pictures of the employees on the ladders will be a great addition to my next ladder training on what not to do.


After using these pictures in your pc, they will make a exclusive viewpoint. Whether you really like blossoms or mountains, all the pictures are made available for you to select your preferred.



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