Farm Bureau - Melissa Wheeler

The North Bend Eagle

  Wall dog
Eagle publisher Nathan Arneal paints the original North Bend Eagle nameplate on the side of the Eagle building.

'Ghost signs' inspire art work on Eagle wall

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 10/27/21

Nathan Arneal is a modern day ‘wall dog.’

Click here to see more pictures of the Eagle sign

In the 1890s to 1960s wall dogs traveled around the country painting signs or advertisements on barns or brick walls, wherever they could find a large, blank space. These were the forerunner to billboards, neon signs, and other forms of modern day advertising. The signs that still exist are called ‘ghost signs’ because they are often faded and advertise a business or product no longer in existence.

Arneal has a big, blank brick wall on the south side of the building that houses his business, the North Bend Eagle. He said he was inspired by the warehouses in the Old Market and Haymarket, and the Widhelm Electric Co. sign painted along the top of the building south of his. Widhelm’s closed in 1980, but the sign remains.

“I just like that look,” Arneal said. “We have this big brick wall here that would be suitable for such a project. Also, I like the idea of leaving a legacy there. Who knows how much longer the Eagle will continue to exist? Hopefully decades after it’s gone, if it’s gone, we’ll still have the reminder the North Bend Eagle used to be here.”

Arneal said he’d been thinking about doing this painting for a couple of years and meant to get to it this summer. Finally, he decided to get to it this fall.
In preparation Arneal talked to Linda Minarick who has painted a number of murals in Morse Bluff and the paint store personnel.

For the lettering, Arneal copied the typeface of the first flag of the North Bend Eagle that graced the top of page one when the Eagle was first published in 1897, 124 years ago this week. At the time, the style was to include a period after the newspaper’s name, so a period went up on the brick wall.

The initial process involved taking a photo of the empty brick wall. Using Photoshop he made a black square on the brick picture. Arneal has a digital copy of the 1897 first page. Again in Photoshop, he cropped down the paper to just the words, North Bend Eagle. Arneal made the words white and imposed them on top of the black square on top of the brick.


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