San Francisco Neon

historic sign network

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A Best Practices Guide

Release Date: November 15, 2018, Giant Orange Press
Authors: Al Barna and Randall Ann Homan

Soft cover, 40 pages, full color
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Need a crash course on saving a vintage neon sign? This guide gives you the information you need to kick into conservation mode to “save the sign” using neon best practices. Includes resource links and organizations to contact for support. Conservation is not a term you often associate with a rusted neon sign, but that is exactly what is needed to save these neon roadside artifacts that are one-of-a-kind works of art, each one crafted by hand. There is a growing national movement to protect neon neighborhood icons threatened by neglect, refacing, or removal.


Research and publication funding for this Neon Speaks Guidebook by a San Francisco Heritage Alice Ross Carey grant and a matching grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.


• Photographs by Al Barna and Randall Ann Homan. Plates include 10 photographs of lost iconic signs from the 1970s, and 200+ current color photographs

• San Francisco/photography essay by local award-winning travel writer Tom Downs

• Neon preservation essay by Eric Lynxwiler, neon sign art expert and board member of the Museum of Neon Art (MONA)

• Endnotes section with local stories, oral history, and rich details on 30+ legacy neon signs

• Index by neighborhood to give readers a sense of which neighborhoods still have clusters of neon, and which neighborhoods have lost all but one or two surviving signs

• Neon condition to give readers indication which signs are illuminated nightly, which signs need restoration, and which signs have been removed

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Cloth hardcover edition with 200+color photographs,  extended neon notes section and neighborhood index. The fabulous Verdi Club is on the cover,  one of the best neon signs in San Francisco.

All photos © 2014 Al Barna and Randall Ann Homan

All content © 2018 Al Barna and Randall Ann Homan