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Moon Winx Lodge sign.

Neon: Moon Winx Lodge Sign (Gone)

Field review by the editors.

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

The Moon Winx Motor Court opened in the 1920s, but it wasn't until around 1960 that it installed its famous neon sign of a smiling, winking moon. According to a 2003 interview in the Tuscaloosa News, local artist Glenn House designed the sign in 1959 as a gig job for Rivers Sign Company. It took him, he recalled, three hours at a rate of 50 cents an hour.

The idea of a vertical sign with stacked letters, Glenn said, came from his quirky mother, Lucille, who owned a nearby attraction of oddities named Ma'Cille's Museum of Miscellanea. Lucille taught Glenn, as a child, to write his name vertically, turning the letters into a face with the last N as a bow tie. "I have kicked myself for 50 years," Glenn told the News, "because I didn't give that moon a bow tie."

Hurricane Katrina damaged the sign in 2005, and it barely escaped being destroyed by a tornado in 2011. Glenn House died in 2014. The sign was repaired and repainted in 2017, and in 2018 the motel's owner announced that he planned to eventually sell the property to a real estate developer. When that happened, he said, he hoped to donate the sign to someone who could safely move and preserve it -- probably Northport's Kentuck Art Center, home of the Big Red Dog. He noted that the sign costs around $300 a month just to maintain its neon, which is roughly 200 times what Glenn House was paid to design it.

Neon: Moon Winx Lodge Sign

East edge of the city. I-20 exit 79 (Cottondale). Drive north, following University Blvd E., for 5.5 miles. Moon Winx Lodge will be on the right, between 8th St. and 34th Ave.
Hauled away March 27, 2023.

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