Nine thousand souls. The story runs thus:

Grants began as a railroad camp in the 1880s, when three Canadian brothers – Angus A. Grant, John R. Grant, and Lewis A. Grant – were awarded a contract to build a section of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad through the region. The Grant brothers' camp was first called Grants Camp, then Grants Station, and finally Grants.


Perhaps the most memorable boom in the town's history occurred when Paddy Martinez, a Navajo shepherd, discovered uranium ore near Haystack Mesa, sparking a mining boom that lasted until the 1980s. The collapse of mining pulled the town into a depression, but the town has enjoyed a resurgence based on interest in tourism and the scenic beauty of the region.

Perhaps many are drawn to the ancient signage. That's what we'll explore today.

You have to appreciate it when the sign remains after the business is gone.


There’s no way these buildings can ever shake their origin.

I wonder if that’s a later imposition.

“Dammit man, there’s no time! We have to go now! Leave the 9s! Leave them!”

Even if there wasn’t the sign with 9s, you knew this was a gas station site because of the lights.

Gas, or car lot.

I’m wondering if the town passed an ordinance against automobiles, and that just killed everything gas related.

No, of course not. It's a well-maintained old station, might be used today. Or perhaps the owner simply has a sense of pride.

This is an old beaut, with the original stone.

Built during the boom, no doubt.

“I want someone to be able to look down as they enter, and see reassurance that this is, indeed, the right motel.”


Another piece of commercial architecture you could find across the nation. But if you grew up when this style was passe, you wouldn’t look at this and say “oh I know that, it used to be a . . . "

Do you know?


Cool old signage; confused facade.



Oddly enough, there are no strip malls of offices that turn into motels.


Dead diner with no life, and a small amount of Buckaroo Revival to tell you it was still going in the 70s.

But that was a long time ago.

I do believe I stopped in this town because the number of signs exceeded the number of businesses by a factor of 10. It’s as if they couldn’t bring themselves to take down all that cool signage.

Or it was intentional, and they wanted to keep the signs for tourist reasons.

Another gas-station light.

Pray tell: what was the brand? I’m thinking we might have a clue in Tuesday’s Product.

There’s nothing but sadness in a sight like this.

I’m glad it survived, though.

From space, its grave.