Retro ice cream party ends vintage sign exhibit on June 29

An ice cream party with prices from 1949 will close out the “Signs of the Times” exhibit at the Aurora Historical Society at the David L. Pierce Art and History Center on Saturday, June 29 from noon to 4 p.m.    

Drawing inspiration from a hand-lettered sign for Valley Maid ice cream c. 1949,  which is part of the exhibit, the historical society will charge 8 cents for a cone, 6 cents for a fudgsicle and 10 cents for an ice cream bar during the last day of the exhibit. 

The exhibit displays one hundred signs dating back as far as the 1880s, and includes signs from train stations, restaurants and bakeries, street corners, Phillips Park, political campaigns, schools and other aspects of Aurora history.  They are electric, neon, painted, printed, and even sewn.  There is a faded hand-printed sign announcing the appearance of John F. Kennedy in Aurora, put up just days before he won election to the presidency, and taken down only after his assassination three years later.

“You forget how the streetscape changes over time,” said long-time volunteer Bill Walsh,  who helped mount the exhibit.   “Signs come and go, and we don’t remember them very long.  But I’ll tell you what, for me the prices on that Valley Maid sign really brought back memories.”  It was Walsh’s idea to sell the ice cream during the closing reception.

The exhibit is open Wednesday to Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.  June 29 is the last day.  The David L. Pierce Art and History Center (The DLP) is at 20 E. Downer Place.  Admission is free. 

Visit “Aurora Story” on the second floor and “Empathy,” an Aurora Public Art exhibit on the third floor of the DLP.