Bye-bye Trading Port / Freihofer’s ghost sign…

Five years ago, I photographed various “ghost signs” – vintage advertisements that were painted on the brickface of buildings – throughout the Capital District.  One such sign was on the corner of Washington Avenue and Colvin Avenue, and it was right next to the Mobil station.

Trading Port Super Market Freihofer's, Albany NY - DSC_5841
Trading Port Super Market with Freihofer’s logo. Nikon D700 camera, lens unknown. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Okay, this was a nice find.  This may have been the only surviving ghost sign for a grocery store / supermarket.  And as an added bonus, the sign also had a Freihofer’s logo painted on as well.

Well, if this WAS the only example of a grocery store ghost sign in the Capital District…

It’s gone now. The building owners recently painted over the entire advertisement with a big fat coat of opaque white paint. Argh.  Another vintage brickface ad removed.  You would think that the Capital District would find a way to preserve these old signs somehow… Hey wait a second.  I took a picture of this sign.  Yes I did. In fact, I remember taking a shot of the Freihofer’s sign as well.

Freihofer's, Albany NY - DSC_5921
Freihofer’s Ghost Sign, circa 2010. Nikon D700 camera, lens unknown. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Man, I wish signs like this still existed in our area.  This sort of retro graffiti, this hand-painted advertisement wiped over like reel-to-reel tapes under the supervision of Rosemary Woods… you may need to think about that one for 18 and a half minutes…

Okay, where’s my original digital photo of this sign?  Yes, I can work with it… boost this highlight… add a little contrast… get a bit “artistic” with it…

And, just for the heck of it…

I got this.

Freihofer's.  Photo and digital enhancements by Chuck Miller.
Freihofer’s. Photo and digital enhancements by Chuck Miller.

Dang, that would make one heckuva piece of wall art, wouldn’t it?

Or maybe it would make for a nice offering in an upcoming charity auction to help raise money for Albany’s vintage architecture, to maybe save a building from succumbing to vandalism and deterioration and ennui and creeping ivy and malaise and blight.

Just thinking out loud.  I do that sometimes.  I guess it’s just how my mind is BUILT.  Hee hee hee…


2 thoughts on “Bye-bye Trading Port / Freihofer’s ghost sign…”

  1. Fifty years ago one could viewthe remnants ofsuch a sign on a cliff face near Thacher Park. Long before then there was a wagon/stagecoach road that ran from New Salem to the top of the cliff, somewhere above Altamont. A hardware store in Albany (I don’t recall the name) chose a prominent flat spot on the cliff to paint a large advertisement. I was just a kid and didn’t own a camera but maybe someone who lives out that way has an old photo.

    PS – if anyone doubts the existence of that road, research the Wynd brothers of Altamont. They were a
    Air of thieves who robbed travelers along that road.


  2. Alas, Chuck, we keep destroying our heritage. All the buildings destroyed for the Empire State Plaza, parking garages, including the Pruyn Library where I worked a millennium ago. All the buildings destroyed for parking lots and garages. And now the “ghost signs” painted over. How long will it be before someone paints over the ghost sign above the (in)famous Plaza Books? Here’s no remnant of the Trading Port on New Scotland Ave, the original Price Chopper on Delaware and Ten Eyck or the Handy Andy on Delaware. We not only raze our buildings—what and how much was destroyed for the Jerry Jennings Mausoleum aka Convention Center—we obliterate their memory. My dad always liked both Trading Ports. He knew the owner—Tabachnik, something like that. Knowing dad, all the places he worked, I wouldn’t be surprised if he worked on both Trading Ports even perhaps helped New Scotland in the transition to Traditional Market. (That owner is, I’m sure, long gone and his son around 60! Tempus fugit!) In that era, if you were a dependable worker, did quality work, had your own tools and knew how to use them, no one cared if 10 minutes after you were done, you were falling down drunk in the gutter. The old St. John the Baptist is on the verge of collapse as is the old B. T. Babbit where Grandma and Aunt Julia worked. We sit by idly and watch our heritage be destroyed and, again, all traces of it obliterated. Lord what fools….


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