Monday, June 6, 2011

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

One more block down Washington there are ghost signs covering an entire side of a building. The two on the right are for warehouse space (big shocker here in the warehouse district). I can't make out the top, but spanning the building in the second row of signage we have "Martin Parry Commercial Bodies." Sounds pretty cool, right? Like maybe back in the day you could buy cadavers for TV commercials or something? Awesome!?

Okay, so not quite that macabre. Martin Parry was once a vehicle manufacturer, but by 1915 was specialized in building truck bodies for the Ford Model T (click the link for a great set of illustrations from the company's 1926 catalog). An analyst report from 1923 says the company was formed in a combination of two predecessors in 1919. The company was bought by GM in 1930 (more great illustrations) and renamed the Chevrolet Body Division. This sign was therefore likely painted sometime between 1919 and 1930, and probably graced a distributor of Martin Parry bodies. You can find it at 607 Washington Ave. N.

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