William Stage

Cityscape
4:35 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Book 'Fading Ads Of St. Louis' Showcases Unique Slice Of History

Star Saloon & Cafe / Old Pattison Whiskies, McRee Town, near Southside, 2012.
(Courtesy History Press)

William Stage first noticed faded ads painted on brick walls back in the 1970s, when he pounded the St. Louis pavement as a public health officer for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Once you do begin to notice them, it’s contagious, you find more and more,” Stage said.

He began carrying around a camera to document the ads, and in 1989 published a book on the topic, “Ghost Signs: Brick Wall Signs in America.”

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