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Pocatello history to be neon

neon pocatello

POCATELLO, Idaho - It was that light-bulb kind of idea that went off when Historic Preservation Commission liaison Terri Neu saw the sign.

"Neon signs really tell about a history of the area and what businesses were located here," Neu said.

Before the Relight the Night committee took-on the gargantuan task of refurbishing the old Chief Theater sign, they knew that was going to be the tip of the iceberg.

Relight the Night's Randy Dixon and Old Town Pocatello's Stephanie Palagi were approached by people whose family businesses downtown closed, but the signs needed a home.

So, together, they have been working with Neu to find a way to refurbish and relight the original signs that once lit the streets of Old Town.

"We have such a large volume that are still operating, that it's pretty unusual," Neu added.

Now, the issue is where they are going to store these signs while they wait for their turn to be made-over.

The former Fred's Photo sign that had been hanging up since 1938 was moved to a private storage facility this past year, while on Wednesday afternoon the Teamsters sign was also taken down and moved to the Pocatello Regional Airport to be stored.

This leaves Jerry Meyers with the last neon sign on the east side of the underpass, which was once his father's. He now has plans to refurbish the old Meyers Shoe Repair sign and light it back up to keep that history alive once he closes up shop.

"It would be nice to get it fixed up and looking good," Meyers said. "When the neon worked, it looked pretty good. I mean, it's the only one on this side of the street as soon as you come this side of the underpass. I think he would be happy to see us making it look nice again."

Meyers said he plans to pay for the sign himself. Unless these signs belong to the city or are donated to the city, the commission cannot use public funds to pay for the sign upgrades. Now, Neu and Dixon said they are trying to figure-out how to go about this and will meet with the city Wednesday night to discuss these issues.

Neu also said these signs can help bring in more tourists while helping preserve Pocatello's history, but now it's just a matter of where to put them once they've been refurbished.

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