Tulsa businessman's sign collection

Tuesday, November 29th 2005, 10:22 am
By: News On 6

A billboard on the Creek Turnpike led the News on 6 to an interesting story about signs. It's kind of a rescue project and as News on 6 reporter Rick Wells explains, a Tulsa businessman is saving old neon and porcelain signs from the scrap heap.

Bill Stokely of Stokely Advertising has quite a sign collection. "Most of these we found with the helicopter over the years." He flies a helicopter, and as he crisscrosses the countryside he looks for interesting signs, like the old symbol for Mobil Oil. "That was sitting in a junk yard between here and Muskogee."

When he sees something he just lands the chopper and does a little negotiating. He found a Dodge-Plymouth sign when he flew over an Oklahoma farm. "It was just lying behind a barn, just laying there for 35 or 40 years." The farmer told him it was junk, if he wanted it he could have it.

A local company helps him restore some of the signs. "This Palace Hotel sign came from Ponca City. The Horse Shoe Lounge was right around the corner from the Tulsa World." He says gentlemen of the right age might remember the Dixie. "It was on 3rd Street it was a local brothel here in Tulsa." Oh, that's why I don't remember.

He's got them hung in his billboard company's old sign shop. Turned it into a great place to display the collection. "Most of these are 40 to 50 years old." Some are neon, some are not. He's got more outside, gas station signs of all descriptions.

His business has been signs for decades, so why not collect them too.