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Seattle Neon

Signs of the Emerald City

Matt Hucke

$35.00

In Seattle, beloved neighborhood institutions, unique buildings and businesses are disappearing at a furious pace, and along with them, Seattle’s neon heritage. Seeing those losses motivated local photographer and history enthusiast Matt Hucke to capture a full-color collection of more than 450 brilliant, whimsical, outlandish, and downright spectacular signs. From Aurora Avenue to White Center to Rainier Valley, his book, Seattle Neon, documents the Emerald City’s extensive neon history—the familiar, obscure, historic and new—with gorgeous photos from every neighborhood. The included location information makes it a perfect resource for self-guided walking tours.

“For three years, I’ve walked the major streets of every neighborhood in Seattle, by day and by night, seeking the best neon art…Uniquely handcrafted, neon is not cheap, or disposable, or forgettable. Neon is a statement that a business expects to survive long enough to be worth the effort.”—Matt Hucke

“We want to give a shout out to author and photographer Matt Hucke on his new book, Seattle Neon. This gorgeous, large-scale book features over 425 full color images of historic and contemporary neon signs from Seattle neighborhoods.”—The Seattle Channel

Published by Everything Goes Media, October 2022

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Description

Local photographer and history enthusiast Matt Hucke believes Seattle is losing its character. Rent increases, skyrocketing land values, petty crime, pandemic setbacks, and obsolete business models are driving decades-old businesses from the city. Beloved neighborhood institutions are disappearing at a furious pace, and along with them, unique buildings and businesses—replaced by generic and interchangeable mid-rise apartment buildings and glass skyscrapers like those in most other major cities. Seattle’s neon heritage is also vanishing.

Recognizing those losses motivated Hucke to capture a full-color collection of more than 450 brilliant, whimsical, outlandish, and downright spectacular signs. From Aurora Avenue to White Center to Rainier Valley, his book, Seattle Neon, documents the Emerald City’s extensive neon history—the familiar, obscure, historic and new—with gorgeous photos from every neighborhood. The included location information makes it a perfect resource for self-guided walking tours. Watch a clip on the book on the Seattle Channel’s Art Zone with Nancy Guppy. His portion begins at about 20:11.

“For three years, I’ve walked the major streets of every neighborhood in Seattle, by day and by night, seeking the best neon art—commercial art, some might sneer, but art nonetheless. Neon is uniquely handcrafted. Every piece of glass has been bent by a skilled artisan to precisely the shape and length required. When all or part of a sign inevitably stops working, usually after decades of exposure to the elements, replacement tubes are fashioned using the same difficult and labor-intensive techniques as used to craft the original. Neon is not cheap, or disposable, or forgettable—neon is an investment. Neon is a statement that a business expects to survive long enough to be worth the effort.”—Matt Hucke

About the author:

Author and photographer Matt Hucke is drawn to disappearing and endangered historic places and artifacts, some of them hiding in plain sight. His first book, Graveyards of Chicago (with Ursula Bielski), explored the history and personalities behind (and beneath) Chicago’s best cemetery monuments. Now in Seattle, he’s brought this same idea to a newer form of historic art: vintage neon signs.

Contents

Introduction

  1. Downtown Core
  2. Pioneer Square and International District
  3. Pike Place Market and Belltown
  4. Cascade
  5. Capitol Hill
  6. Central Area
  7. Queen Anne
  8. Interbay and Magnolia
  9. Ballard
  10. North of Lake Union
  11. University District
  12. Northeast Seattle
  13. Lake City
  14. Northgate
  15. Northwest Seattle
  16. Rainier Valley and Seward Park
  17. Beacon Hill
  18. Industrial South
  19. Delridge and White Center
  20. West Seattle

Afterword

Acknowledgments

Sources

Index of Locations and Signs

About the Author

Recognition

“We want to give a shout out to author and photographer Matt Hucke on his new book, Seattle Neon. This gorgeous, large-scale book features over 425 full color images of historic and contemporary neon signs from Seattle neighborhoods.”—Nancy Guppy, Art Zone with Nancy Guppy, The Seattle Channel

“Local author Matt Hucke researched and photographed hundreds of familiar and obscure signs from Aurora Avenue to White Center and Rainier Valley. He catalogs them by neighborhood and street in a way that makes it easy to do a self-guided tour.”—Axios Seattle

Additional information

Dimensions N/A
Format

Paperback