23 February 2008

[street_blades] A Few Blades In The Milwaukie Style

1384. Recently, in scouting an event site for my SCA branch (The Shire of Dragons Mist), me and The Wife™ were, of necessity enroute to downtown Milwaukie, and stopped at the intersection of Harrison and Highway 224.

There is a Mike's Drive In – The original one by the looks of it – between OR 224 and the railroad crossing on the north side of the street. Buffalo burgers; nomnomnom. If you like meat, you need one.

There was an opportunity for street blade documentation; out came the ViviCam 3705. After Buffalo burgers were consumed I commenced perforce to work.

Address-wise, all of Milwaukie is in the SE Quadrant of the greater Portland address grid. For the sake of completeness, the directional SE is included on all signs but, since there is no chance whatsoever of finding a street from another quadrant in the Milwaukie ZIP codes, the SE is knocked down a level in the visual hierarchy to the level of the generic (that is, the SE is sized the same as the ST and the AVE on the signs pictured. Moreover, the specfic (the actual street name) is the star of the layout, with the generic and directional seemingly banished to the ends of the blade. This effect is especially apparent on the numbered avenue blades.

A good close look at some of the older blades still in service shows a suggestion of hand-crafting; the shapes of the directional letters seem a bit imperfect and the lineup is quite imperfect (note especially the S in the word HARRISON above).

Also notice that the older standard Milwauke style actually includes the periods in the directional (S.E. rather than SE).

The demarcation of a dead-end street is arguably more useful to the driver. In Milwaukie, with signage such as this, one is much less likely to turn down a dead end street as you'll know without having to see the yellow diamond sign once you have entered the street.

The business sign in the right of frame above is a Purdy car wash sign, which probably hasn't changed since the 80's (if it goes back that far – the style sure looks 80s-ish)

The sign assembly perched on top of a wood post and the sloppy alignment of the assemply itself is actually quite charming.

Across the street, at Harrison and Railroad, is a mix of the old and the new:

The SE Harrison St blade is much more finished than the one across the street, with much more precise glyph lining. There are no periods in the directional, and the top of the sign includes an address block tab in the Portland style (remember, that 10600 is the crossing-street block; we are looking at the definition of the 10600 block of SE Railroad Ave, which is defined by Harrison St at that point.

The SE Railroad Ave blade is more of the old style; periods in the directional, and imperfect glyph aligning, with the directional and generic crowded into the ends of the blade.

This shot was taken from the back of the blade; note how complete the information is on both sides of the blade. This is admirable. Blades get used by pedestrians as well as autos.

To cap off, there was yet another interesting sign just back across the railroad tracks. SE Campbell Ave meets Harrison there; this is a semi-improved street that parallels the tracks on the west side. At Harrison Street, it provides an entry to the Milwaukie Bowl's parking lot.

The sign is rather tall and leans. What's most notable is the treatment of the street names on the blades, which elides the generic completely:

The signs read "SE CAMPBELL" and "SE HARRISON". And, for good measure, here's the quaint and retro sign for the Milwaukie Bowl, which is presumably the one they've always used:

Throw a coat of paint on that and spruce it up a bit and it would look smashing. ObJadedSarcasm: Do that and you'll have hipsters coming from miles about!

Tags: , , , ,

No comments: