Long live the Pig!

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Restoring a Pasadena, MD landmark

 3-B's Bakery has been a landmark on Ft. Smallroad Road, in Pasadena, MD for over 50 years. When it was built in the early 1950's, an 18' tall, double-sided steel fabricated pig was erected atop the roof. Adorned with neon, the pig and a 24' tall verticle sign, which ran down the front of the building, beconed early travelers to and from the Pasadena beaches in for bar-b-q. Purchased by the Bolander family in 1957, it became a bakery, while maintaining its original luncheonette. No longer electrically maintained, the rooftop icon  received only periodical paint updates. A fire in 2000 closed the bakery and grill for several months. It reopened better than ever, bakery intact with a full dining room. The original formica and stainless steel counter and stools could not be saved. A new, larger counter and stools were installed. 3-B's opens at 5 am 7 days a week, and serves one of the best breakfasts and lunch in the area. the bakery sells original home-made gems, prepared by the Bolanders.

  I was approached by the sons of the owner, in secret, about restoring the sign, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of George Bolanders' ownership. Having been a patron myself for over 10 years (and never having solicited such an undertaking), I was honored.  It was to be a surprise to George.

The rooftop sign had not lit in 50 years. The current paint job was not in bad shape, just chalky with a little flaking.

From the ground, it is hard to believe the sign is actually 2 stories tall, above the roofline. I may tackle restoration of the BAKERY portion in the future.

Rolling scaffolding and ladders were set in place. Both sides of the entire sign were rough-sanded. Minor sheet metal repairs were made. I drug the painting process out over a month in hopes that the owner wouldn't suspect that I was also creating provisions to accomodate all of the new neon tubes. I hand-matched the pink using lettering enamels. This type of industrial paint will retain the vibrant pink color longer than retail house paints, which have tendency to fade out in a shorter period of time.

After another prolonged period of time, I completed the restoration. The fun part was waving to the captive audience of children on the road below, sitting in cars at the traffic light. I took to wearing a strap-on pig snout while going about the task.  I got 'thumbs up' from countless drivers, sensing this was going to be something cool when completed. Apartment residents below me also got excited. Who wouldn't want to live under an 18' tall neon pig?!

With its new paint job, the pig stands out to the thousands of motorists on this busy road.

Standing tall and looking proud.  Remembered by few, this early advertising icon has become a beloved landmark once again. From half a mile away, the pig welcomes you in, offering you a donut and beverage with its warm neon glow. No modern plastic backlit sign will ever compare to the once common neon icons of the early days of automobile travel. The owners are to be commended for their dedication to restoring this gem back to its original appearance. LONG LIVE THE PIG!