Downtown Ghost Signs

May 19, 2022

A sign of the past – ghost signs can still be found around Downtown Wichita Falls. What do these signs tell us about our local history? Continue reading to see the fascinating history of these buildings.

Ghost signs, as defined by Wikipedia are an old hand-painted advertising sign that has been preserved on a building for an extended period of time. The sign may be kept for its nostalgic appeal, or simply indifference by the owner.

Thank you to Bryce Blair with the Wichita County Archives with assisting on the research of the properties featured below.

Some are a little harder to see, like below. This is a zoomed in photo from near the YMCA on 10th Street looking a the backside of the 920 Travis Street.

Ghost Sign at 920 Travis Street

The building at 9th & Travis was built in 1919. In 1920, one of the most prominent car dealers in town, Lloyd Weaver, moved his dealership there. Today that building is addressed at 920 Travis, but back then it was 914 Travis. You can see the Essex Motor Car logo in the advertisement is faintly visible on the building. Then in 1945, McClure Brothers Packard Car dealer moved into that building. The McClure Brothers sign was painted over the Lloyd Weaver Essex Motor Car sign. I am guessing Lloyd Weaver painted his sign with a better quality paint than the McClure Brothers. As the McClure sign faded away, the Essex sign was revealed. By the way, Lloyd Weaver had car dealerships in most of the communities all around here, even as far as Dundee. – Bryce Blain, Wichita County Archives

Provided by Wichita Co. Archive

Arnold Motor Supply was at 1011 Ohio Ave. from 1963 to 1988.

Ghost Sign at 1009 Ohio Street

Wichita Cigarette & Cigar Co. was at 817 Ohio Avenue from 1956 to 1967.

Ghost Sign at 817 Ohio Street

The sign painted on the side is a John Ruskin Cigar advertisement.

If you look at the top of that building there was another sign painted along the top edge. The sign that was painted there is an “invisible ghost” sign since it was painted over (probably several times) and can no longer be read. That sign is for the McFall Dodge Brothers Motor Vehicles.

Downtown Wichita Falls, 1921 Provided by Wichita County Archives.

First Baptist Church being dismantled in 1924 (pictured below). Prior to this they met in the school house, or courthouse, or private homes. This church was built in 1886 and closed in 1907 when they re-located. The American Hotel building next to it is on the northwest corner of 10th & Indiana with the church being one lot off the corner. The Wichita Theatre is right across Indiana Ave from these buildings.

Photo provided by Wichita Co. Archive

Goodner Wholesale Grocer Co. was in business at 1403 Scott from 1920 to 1945.

Below is a 1924 page of Wichita Falls Times. Goodner Wholesale Grocer is the baking powder ad on the top left. Check out those prices from almost 100 years ago!