A while back I had a post that featured an image that was an old landmark to me as a small child. The image was of a photo I shot back in the late 1980’s of the Half Dollar Bar sign that was derelict and in danger of being destroyed at that point in time. This was a very big landmark from my youth as it was, as you can probably see from the shape of the left hand side of the sign that this was actually Mister Peanut of Planters Peanut fame. It was for the former Planters Peanut store that was located at this site on U.S. Rte. 1 north in Peabody, Mass.
I use the term landmark because I learned at a very early age what the word meant for a couple of reasons. Probably as a young child, there was a time when during a ride in the car with my family that I or one of my brothers would have asked “where are we”? My Dad might have advised us how to use a landmark to figure out where you are, especially if it was someplace we went all the time. Of course this was during the late 1950’s when Howard Johnson’s advertised as “The Landmark for Hungry Americans”.
So as a young child I was very observant and constantly used landmarks, especially on rides heading north on U.S. Rte. 1 from Saugus, Mass., which was where we entered the fabled roadway coming from Medford, our place of residence. You see Route 1 had many landmarks as it was (and still is) a very busy business strip. That is an underlying reason for when I started actively collecting post cards, I ended up having a fairly large subcollection of Route 1 post cards.
After I started this blog (Diner Hotline has been online since October 31, 2007) I also became a regular visitor on Flickr. I started checking out a lot of Roadside Images that people from all over were shooting and posting. My fellow SCA colleague Debra Jane Seltzer, a regular contributor on Flickr posted a lot of her excellent photos from her travels. During a fairly long roadtrip Debra shot a couple of photos of the Large Mister Peanut sign that was on display at the Planters Peanut plant in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
I left a comment on Debra’s Flickr post that included that photo. I informed her that was in fact the former sign for the Planters Peanut Store that was located on Rte. 1 in Peabody. She responded that maybe it was not the one from Massachusetts as there must have been quite a few spread across the country. I informed her that yes, although there may have been quite a few Mister Peanut signs, (in fact I shot a photo of another one down on Rte. 6 in Southeastern Mass. not too long after I documented the Peabody one), that I recall the story of this one in particular.
Another fellow SCA colleague, Pete Phillips who was a City Planner for Gloucester, Mass. back in the late 1980’s was instrumental in saving the Mister Peanut sign from Peabody. After the Planters Peanut Store closed, it became the aforementioned Half Dollar Bar and the sign was repainted to make Mister Peanut look like a man in a tuxedo. By the late 1980’s the bar was closed and the building torn down, the only thing left was the sign which was also slated to be destroyed.
Pete contacted Planters Peanuts headquarters and informed them of the sign’s predicament. They became interested and decided to have the old Route 1 landmark shipped to their Fort Smith plant and spent some money to refurbish it. It has been on display at the plant ever since. When I was investigating this last year, I actually called the Fort Smith plant and talked with the Executive Assistant to the Plant Manager who confirmed the sign had come from the Boston Area in 1988.
In my previous post about this I ran Debra’s photo of the sign, see below…
To finally get back to the title of this post, since that time I have been periodically searching on ebay for a possible post card of the old Planters Peanut Store on Route 1. I wasn’t sure it existed but seeing as there were post cards of other stores like it from around the country, there was a good possibility that one might have been printed. Sure enough a couple of weeks ago one showed up on ebay and was I so psyched! I bid on it and luckily no one else wanted it. So here it is in all it’s glory. It is certainly proof that the sign in Fort Smith was the one from Peabody!