Three years ago the old Wonderbread bakery was torn down to make way
for a massive new apartment building. But the iconic sign that used to
crown the bakery was saved and provisions were made to put it on top
of the new building.
Construction crews will hoist it up to its new home this Thursday at
1pm. Until then, it’s resting on a trailer on 18th, temporarily
closing that street between Main and Jackson.
Stay tuned for more coverage on Thursday.
…if the sign will be just “WONDER” or the whole wonderbread… because just “WONDER” seems pretty perfect.
I don’t recall if the sign actually had a “Bread” portion to begin with.
From Bing.com’s birdseye view it appears that it was Wonder on top and Bread On the bottom.
“Wonder Bread” is all the sign said. Hats off to John Jeannot (deceased) and Paul Crane, community members who fought for the sign to remain in some way as the Central Areas own kitsch art.
If kudos are being handed out, I recall that Bill Bradburd worked long and hard on retaining the sign, too, and was instrumental in it finding its new home right where its old one used to be. Many thanks, Bill, and those others who worked on this. It’s good that some of the history of Jackson St will still be visible (even if it is its association with generic white bread!) :)
It was George Staggers of CADA who presented the idea and negotiated with the building owners for it to be placed there. The first idea of John’s and Paul was to have it placed in Pratt park. The, then,Director of Pratt Fine Arts Center was offered the sign and wanted to sell it off in an auction to benefit Pratt. The Director left, the idea went away and the sign was given to the Museum of Science and History for storage until a home was decided upon. It was George that intervened and found a home for it.
Sounds like all of the people mentioned have worked hard on this on the community’s behalf – and, judging from the more recent story, so has the developer. Thanks, all.
Most of the credit should go to Legacy and Chris Meyer, their project exec, who worked to get the rights for the sign from Interstate Brands and invested in the restoration of and re-installation of the sign.
John Jeannot was the original preservation maverick and worked with us to convince Fairfield Residencies (the property owner before Legacy bought the site and its approved building plans) not to destroy the sign – or to allow Pratt to auction off letters. Daniela McDonald was able to get media attention to the issue by getting the NY Times to cover the story. Because of this, Fairfield backed off and agreed to pay to take the sign down for us (“the neighborhood”) before demolition. MOHAI volunteered to store the sign and we were going to use local volunteer labor to restore the sign via a DON matching grant. But just before all this happened, Fairfield put the property and plans up for sale.
It was when Legacy took control and Chris Meyer took an interest in the sign that the replacement of the sign back onto the new building became an option – an option that many worked hard to ensure.
Adrienne Bailey should also get credit for insisting that the sign remain intact and prominent in the neighborhood rather than become a museum piece at MOHAI.
What Bill left out was the first story about the Wonder Bread sign in the Seattle PI. This was the story that got the attention for the sign being saved. It quotes Paul crane and John Jeannot. Google Wonder Bread Sign Seattle PI and check it out!
Origins of saving the Wonderbread sign.
There’s another article, the NYT piece, that appeared a year later – which I think shows (in that the issue had been largely dormant for the previous year, and was at that point still unresolved) the long timelines for activist work of this kind – and the way in which these issues need to be shepherded by multiple people, working through many configurations. You can link to that article here (if you’re not already tired of fleshing out this story :) ): http://althouse.blogspot.com/2006/03/politics-of-old-signage
I was interested to read Bradburd’s account in this CD News thread, which adds the names of a number of people whose work on this might have gone unrecognized by the wider community (or, at least, those who don’t read CD News!).