Ongoing restoration for historic Ford “ghost sign” in downtown Abilene

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ABILENE, Texas (KRBC)- Sarah Jane Blankenship, a sign-painter and restorer, day starts at 6:30 AM by heading up on a lift to start painting. She’ll do this for 4 days to restore the old Ford ghost sign in downtown Abilene.

“I’ll go over and I will literally be tracing the old lines up there,” said Blankenship.

A ghost sign is an old hand-painted advertising sign that has been preserved on a building for an extended period.

“I’ll do about a 75% coverage which will leave a little bit of the ghost look and then it will also let the brick breath,” said Blankenship.

This sign is believed to date back to the 1920’s.

“The person up here is Fulwiler Motors. He is a native of Abilene and he built the ford company here so it’s a neat part of like who was a part of bringing history in your town,” said Blankenship.

Although this sign will have a fresh coat of paint, Blankenship will keep the authenticity. She says the sign has about 10 different variations of how the logo because it has changed over the years.

“I think it’s kind of unique. You have a little bit of an altered Ford Logo or maybe a logo that is in between one of those time periods,” said Blankenship.

The project coincides with an endeavor of The Abilene Chamber of Commerce’s Downtown Initiative and The Abilene Preservation League to highlight and preserve these icons of downtown history.

“It protects or preserves the narrative, the story and I think that is really as important as the buildings we save,” said Jim Stewart, Executive Director, Abilene Preservation League.

“We certainly want to keep what we have over the decades and celebrate that and blind it in very nicely with the new murals that are going up as well,” said Steve Dieterichs, Executive Director, Abilene Chamber of Commerce’s Downtown Initiative.

The Ford sign is the only sign set for restoration right now. The artist will host a workshop called “Do’s & Don’ts of Painting Historic Brick” on Wednesday at noon at The Abilene Chamber of Commerce. It’s cost $10 to attend the workshop and lunch will be provided.

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