Heather Ezell

Heather Ezell

A group of neighbors calling themselves “The Alamo Sign Gang” is on a mission to save the Alamo sign.

The group sent a letter last week to Oaxaca Interests, the developer building Sylvan Thirty on the former site of the Alamo Plaza Hotel Courts on Fort Worth Avenue, urging that the sign remain a fixture on the street as a tribute to the thoroughfare’s history.

The sign is one of Dallas’s most-recognizable examples of mid-20th century roadway signage — and it’s a direct link to the history of Fort Worth Avenue and a time in our country’s past when novel architecture and neon signage were widely used to attract customers. Communities across the country are working quickly to preserve the last remaining examples of this unique signage, and we must do the same.

The developer took the sign down about three weeks ago and put it in storage during construction. Preservationists are concerned because Sylvan Thirty developer Brent Jackson had said the sign would remain on the site as part of the new development’s design, but then he asked for suggestions from the public on how to recycle or reuse the sign.

The letter states that the group wants to work with the developer to find a solution.

It is true that we are worried about your intentions, but we are not against Sylvan Thirty. In fact, we are excited about your project and the valuable resources it will bring to our community. That said, we do not believe much-needed new development and preservation of our important shared history are mutually exclusive. We can and should have both.

Cooper Smith Koch, a spokesman for the developer, said Jackson received the letter last week and he has spoken to one of the signees, Jerry Neisel.

“I thought it was a very respectful letter and a very civil letter,” Koch says.

The sign’s neon wasn’t working when Jackson bought the property, and “sign doctors are diagnosing” the sign to figure out what it would take to get it working again, he says. Jackson has not yet made a decision on how to reuse the sign, Koch says.Here is the full letter:

Alamo Sign Letter by Advocate Media