Commodore Inn Sign
The Commodore Inn was a small diner off of Patterson Avenue in Roanoke. It existed for about 60 years, 1940-2000. I never went inside the original diner but the place was always fascinating to me because of its neon sign. To me it was the coolest neon sign in the city. By the time I moved back in 2007, it was in bad shape.

I took it upon myself to try to get it repaired and thought it would look great hanging downtown Roanoke in some surprising spot, like down an alley or something. I obtained the sign in 2012 and it took several years to get it completely repaired (All new neon and completely repainted.). Councilman Ray Ferris gave me the sign, Rob Humphreys and John Johnson helped me to take it down, Jack Fralin repainted it, and the Roanoke Market Building paid for the neon.

There's whole bigger story here about historic preservation, working in government bureaucracies, living with a giant old sign in your tiny apartment for a year, my own myths connected to the sign and more. Maybe I'll tell that story one day.


The fund raising video for the sign

Taking down the sign.

The sign once it was down.

Rob Humphreys putting the sign into his truck.

Jack Fralin at work. He did the most for the sign, put a lot of love and brilliance into it.

Fresh neon

Though I'm happy it's repaired, I'm sad it just sits behind a velvet rope in the Market Building.

The interior of the Commodore Inn circa 1942