Saturday, December 17, 2011

Building, "Ghost Sign" Will Be Gone

This "ghost sign" for Bull Durham tobacco dates back to the days when signs were painted directly on the sides of large buildings. Plainfield has quite a few, but this one's days are numbered. The building suffered a devastating fire early today and is now slated for demolition.
At three stories, the building dwarfs its neighbors on the North Avenue block between Park Avenue and Gavett Place. According to press reports, it is in danger of collapse.
In March 2010, the ornate 1886 building in the center of the streetscape between Gavett Place and Watchung Avenue was also demolished due to danger of imminent collapse after some bricks fell to the street.
This building on the track side of North Avenue's train station is also crumbling and could be the next to fall.
Here's how it looked in May 2008 before being boarded up.

The rear is not secured and has been open to the elements for years. This is how it looked from the train station in December 2007.
And here it is today.

Developers have made many promises about the North Avenue Historic District, but action is lacking. Meanwhile the district is fading bit by bit from being historic ... to just being history.



  1. Thank god our strict code enforcement keeps these buildings in good shape and ready for future use...Oh..sorry wrong city.

  2. You know..I just thought of something...put a mailbox ( like a residence type mail box) on the street in front of these buildings and then take a sledge hammer and crack and buckle the sidewalk and the owners of the buildings will be dragged into court in a jiffy !

  3. Great piece of history, and good to capture the sign photographically before it goes. The loss of Ghostsigns in the UK inspired me to start the Ghostsigns project.

  4. When I lived in Hoboken in the early 80s, fire was the first step to redevelopment. First the fire, then the conversion to co-ops or condominiums. If I were a tenant living in any of these buildings near the train station I would be very concerned.

    Considering the prominence of the North Avenue Historic District in the city's Master Plan, are we just wasting money with planning, or are we just slowly stoking the flames of new development through creative destruction and questionable code enforcement?