Temporary Ghost Advertising Zone / by Kasey Smith


1018 Mission Street at Sixth Street; a five story SRO dating to 1911 and currently operating under the name Kean Hotel. Clear Channel occasionally removes and updates the billboard on the building’s western wall, temporarily revealing the long-hidden Coca Cola sign underneath. Does this sign remain visible for long? Usually not. The billboard re/deinstallers never remove their scaffolding/platforms and they usually return within a few days to finish the job – and by “finish” I mean install a bigger and better billboard. 

This is actually one of two Coca Cola ghost signs on 1018 Mission Street. The other sign can be seen on the eastern wall facing towards 6th street. Both appear to be of a similar vintage. And what is that vintage? Well, they both feature the iconic “contour bottle” which was adopted in 1916 so they’re definitely no older than that (remember, the building is from 1911). However, it seems that until the mid-30′s a significant portion of Coca Cola’s advertising involved their soda served in a glass with the contour bottle gaining visual dominance somewhere in the late 30′s to late 40′s. So, if I had to make a vague, grasping, quasi-educated guess, I would put these ghost signs at the late 30′s through the late 40′s. Any Coca Cola experts care to further pinpoint the date?