Louisville’s commercial signs reveal a lot about its history! In this article, we’ll take a look at some of Louisville’s downtown signs over time. A number of signs were in use for decades, while others came and went quickly (along with the businesses that the signs were intended to identify). Each sign conveyed information about that particular establishment, and more. For example, the signs tell us what services and goods were being sold in downtown Louisville. Louisville’s signs also tell us about design trends and the history of available technologies for sign fabrication. Louisville’s signs tended to be modest, reflecting the economic realities of the town. Starting off with images of the State Mercantile building at 801 Main, it is apparent that the building was not always called the State Mercantile. For several decades, the store was known as Carveth Bros. & Dalby.
Article by Bridget Bacon, Museum Coordinator