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#95073 - Mon Feb 07 2005 07:19 PM Jack Mendenhall's Museum Showcase & Photos
the poor mans museum Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: Mon Oct 25 2004
Loc: Santa Ynez, CA, USA
A Visit to Jack Mendenhall’s Museum

I only started collecting Petro stuff about a year and a half ago and even before that I had heard rumors of the “Mendenhall” collection. It really wasn’t until I started collecting that I paid more attention to what was almost literally in my backyard. Jack’s place is only about 3-4 miles from my house and yet I had never had a tour.

I finally made a connection that could arrange a private tour for me and last Saturday we got that tour. I’m actually glad I waited, because I had a much greater appreciation for what I was seeing than I would have had when I first started collecting.

I know that many of you have seen or heard of Jacks collection, either in person, online or in magazines. I thought that I’d share my experience with you on Oldgas, both for the record and for those of you that might not get the opportunity to see it.

Thank goodness I brought along a photographer, because I was too busy looking to get many photos of my own. Due to the sheer number of photos I will post them over the next couple of weeks and tell you as much about them as I can, as well as share some of the history behind Jack’s collection.

If you have specific questions about signs, globes or cars, you can post them or email them to me and if I don’t know the answer I can call over there and find out.


What Jack Collects

I knew that Jack was an avid sign collector, but I didn’t know that he also collected a lot of globes. I make jokes about collecting globes in California, but after seeing wall of lit up globes, I was impressed.

Here are some overall shots of some of the buildings covered with signs.







_________________________
C Cragg

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#95074 - Mon Feb 07 2005 07:32 PM Re: Jack Mendenhall's Museum Showcase & Photos
Tom Stover Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: Sun Oct 07 2001
Loc: Left Coast
Curt, thanks for the photos. It's been about 5 years since I was at Jack's place. Makes me want to go dig out all the photo's I took there. If you ever get the chance to visit Buellton, look up Jack & try to get an invitation, it is well worth it. Plus Jack & his son Mark are really great guys!!!

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#95075 - Mon Feb 07 2005 07:33 PM Re: Jack Mendenhall's Museum Showcase & Photos
kmann Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: Tue Aug 26 2003
Loc: new york
love the mix of ALL advertising.. thanks curt..

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#95076 - Mon Feb 07 2005 07:33 PM Re: Jack Mendenhall's Museum Showcase & Photos
Scott Shipers Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: Fri Apr 18 2003
Loc: Kansas City, Missouri
Curt, I can't wait for this. I have heard numerous stories but never seen any pictures. Thanks for sharing.

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Scott Shipers
WANTED: Imperial Refineries Items
Kansas City, Missouri 64151
_________________________
Scott Shipers
WANTED: quart picture cans

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#95077 - Mon Feb 07 2005 07:45 PM Re: Jack Mendenhall's Museum Showcase & Photos
the poor mans museum Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: Mon Oct 25 2004
Loc: Santa Ynez, CA, USA
I started with the outside of the buildings to give you an overview of some of the signs. Believe it or not, some of the really good petro signs are inside and still to come.

And you Globe Guys, just hang on, because I have plenty of eye candy for you too!









[This message has been edited by the poor mans museum (edited 02-07-2005).]
_________________________
C Cragg

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#95078 - Mon Feb 07 2005 11:24 PM Re: Jack Mendenhall's Museum Showcase & Photos
Pegasus Offline
Moderator

Registered: Sat Mar 22 2003
Loc: DFW metro area
Love that "Hotel California" sign!!! I'd expect to see a grouping of White Eagle globes inside...."You can checkout any time you like, but you can never leave".....

Richard
_________________________
Richard Weir
Corinth, Texas

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#95079 - Tue Feb 08 2005 04:32 AM Re: Jack Mendenhall's Museum Showcase & Photos
Gary Drye Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: Fri Oct 13 2000
Loc: Clarksville, Tn. USA
Very, vert impressive! Is all this located on private property out in the country or is it a city block? Looks like a real service station in one of the pics. Thanks for the peek and I will be looking forward to the others.

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#95080 - Tue Feb 08 2005 08:28 AM Re: Jack Mendenhall's Museum Showcase & Photos
roger cherry Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: Thu Jul 04 2002
Loc: Collierville, Tn
Love that stuff. More pictures... Please!!!

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#95081 - Tue Feb 08 2005 09:21 AM Re: Jack Mendenhall's Museum Showcase & Photos
the poor mans museum Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: Mon Oct 25 2004
Loc: Santa Ynez, CA, USA
A Bit of History about the Property

Jack’s property is an interesting mix of buildings. I had always wondered about the property and how it was zoned. It is located in the City of Buellton which is fairly small city situated at Highway 101, 30 miles north of Santa Barbara. Buellton is probably most famous for “Pea Soup Andersens” restaurant and most recently was featured in the movie “Sideways” as was our entire area.

The population of the entire Santa Ynez Valley which consists of the cities of Buellton, and Solvang and the towns of Los Olivos, Ballard and Santa Ynez is only around 14,000. For California, especially along the coast, that is a relatively small area.

Jack’s place is only about a block off the Highway and if it weren’t for the ten foot high wall around the property you could probably see it. The only thing that you can see when you are near the property is the large pole signs. The property has commercial on one side and residential on the other, and is actually zoned commercial.

In the early days of Buellton, one of the buildings was built as a church and Boy Scout meeting hall and another was a garage. When Jack bought the property he operated it as a tow yard, which is what allows for the tall wall. Although the property is zoned commercial, Jack lives in a “residence” in the two story building with all of the signs on. While we were touring Jack spotted us from the upstairs window and waved. He’s getting pretty feeble these days and can’t do the tours himself, though I’m sure that he would like to.

As Jack’s tow business grew, so did the buildings. Buildings were also built to house the ever growing collection. Now the tall building is in the center and is surrounded by a series of garages. It’s kind of like a “self storage” complex. The building behind the lollipop signs with the roll up doors was built to look like gas station service bays.

They have done an excellent job of displaying the collection in the various building. According to Will Scott, our tour guide, it’s still a work in progress. Jack’s son Mark is still adding to the collection.

That’s enough narrative for now, let’s see some more photos and then I will tell you more about “What Jack Collects (and Doesn’t collect).








I can't wait to go back at night and see all of the neon lit up. The Polly, the Richfield Eagle and the Foster Freeze sign are my favorites.
_________________________
C Cragg

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#95082 - Tue Feb 08 2005 10:31 AM Re: Jack Mendenhall's Museum Showcase & Photos
aquaelvis Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Loc: Bakersfield, CA
I am not looking to start more drama... but is that Polly sign original??? I can't tell the condition from the picture. I have only seen one like that (neon) and it was a repop. If that is original it must be the coolest sign I have ever seen! The Richfield looks original... WOW! That is awesome.

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WANTED: Sunset Gas/Oil stuff!
_________________________
WANTED: Sunset & Seaside Gas/Oil stuff!
Also- gas pumps in CA!

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#95083 - Tue Feb 08 2005 02:33 PM Re: Jack Mendenhall's Museum Showcase & Photos
the poor mans museum Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: Mon Oct 25 2004
Loc: Santa Ynez, CA, USA
From the ground it appears to be original porcelain, but I did not specifically ask about that sign. I do know of another one here in town that I have see up close and personal and believe to be original as well. I will see Mark Mendenhall today or tomorrow so I will ask about it.
_________________________
C Cragg

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#95084 - Tue Feb 08 2005 02:56 PM Re: Jack Mendenhall's Museum Showcase & Photos
Tokheim Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: Wed Feb 19 2003
Loc: NW PA
SWEEET!
Nice job Curt,
Thanks for the pics and info!

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#95085 - Tue Feb 08 2005 04:14 PM Re: Jack Mendenhall's Museum Showcase & Photos
Signal Gas & Oil Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: Sun Jun 06 2004
Loc: Lodi, CA.
Nice job Curt. I think that Polly sign is original from what I can see. A lot of the the signs in southern CA. were made like that and as collectors have found them they take them apart and have one good neon sign and sell the other side or trade it to pay for their investment. Don't ask me for sure as I don't remember the Polly in northern CA. The Richfield was on top of my dad's station just like that when he opened it in 1960. Soon after modernized and taken to the sign junk yard.
Curt you going to get us a free tour when you have your gas bash? Got to save money for Firestone beer. Ted

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Ted & Pam Roach
Lodi CA.
pca-west.org
_________________________
Ted Pam Ethyl & Polly Roach
Lodi CA.
209-210-8971
Looking for Signal, Hancock, Mohawk, Douglas, Gilmore and Richfield

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#95086 - Tue Feb 08 2005 04:33 PM Re: Jack Mendenhall's Museum Showcase & Photos
besgar Offline
Petro Enthusiast

Registered: Fri Feb 20 2004
Loc: BEULAH CO
I have to agree that polly sign is one of the coolest neons I have seen. I would like to have one if any one comes across one.
Thanks
Brandon

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#95087 - Tue Feb 08 2005 04:37 PM Re: Jack Mendenhall's Museum Showcase & Photos
the poor mans museum Offline
Veteran Member

Registered: Mon Oct 25 2004
Loc: Santa Ynez, CA, USA
Yes, we are planning a tour for the Gas Bash in Solvang, July 15-16, 2005. This cyber tour is for those of you that won't be out here then, so the rest of you can decide if you want to look now or wait. (No peeking Ted).

I'm going to start the indoor tour as soon as I can get some more of the pictures downloaded. Here is a preview of coming attractions.



Keep in mind as we start the indoor tour that the Mendenhalls are all about racing. That's Bonneville Salt Flats racing and trying to set land speed records, so there is a car or at least car parts in every garage.
_________________________
C Cragg

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