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This Iconic Neon Sign In Clintonville Is Back

Nestled at the bustling corner of Morse Road and North High Street in Clintonville, a neon spectacle continues to light up the neighborhood skyline, much to the delight of both residents and visitors alike.

The story of this neon sign, towering above the premises at 4910 N. High St., is as colorful and vibrant as the sign itself.

The neon sign’s journey began in 1961, illuminating the way for Jerry’s Drive-In customers. Picture the scene: cars pulling up, with “carhops” gliding on roller skates between vehicles and the kitchen, delivering trays of food under the neon glow. This was more than a restaurant; it was an experience, a slice of Americana right here in Clintonville. The sign, with its curved arrow piercing the night, directed hungry patrons to this buzzing hive of activity, becoming an integral part of the neighborhood’s identity.

tee jayes neon sign
via Columbus Landmarks Foundation Facebook

As the years rolled on, the sign bore witness to the comings and goings of various businesses. Sister’s Chicken and Biscuits, an offshoot of Wendy’s, took over in 1986 and wisely chose to retain the neon marvel. More than just a business decision, keeping the sign was a nod to the community’s history and its sentimental attachment to this piece of neon artistry.

When Tee Jaye’s Country Place took the reins of the property in 1992, they stumbled upon a dilemma that would challenge the fate of this towering neon beacon. The question of whether to keep or remove the sign was on the table. But the community didn’t really give Tee Jaye’s too much of a choice. There was very vocal opposition to removing the sign, and so, it remained.

Fast forward to the present, and the iconic marker not only remains in place but continues to be a central figure in the property’s evolving landscape. Now, as the site transitions to its latest incarnation, the sign stands as a testament to the community’s resilience and affection for its local landmarks.

Designed by Fred Ervin Neon Sales of Columbus, the sign is a rare bird in central Ohio. Its Las Vegas-style flair and mid-century design make it a standout landmark that captures the imagination and nostalgia of locals and visitors alike. Whether people love it for its kitschy charm or appreciate it as a beacon of continuity in a rapidly changing neighborhood, the sign’s appeal is undeniable.

Now, as another chapter unfolds at this corner in Clintonville, the neon sign is once again being repurposed for the newest restaurant, ready to shine its light on a new venture. Its endurance through the decades speaks volumes about the community’s values, showcasing a collective desire to preserve the quirky, unique elements that give Clintonville its character.

In a world that often feels in a hurry to discard the old in favor of the new, the story of this neon sign is a heartwarming reminder of the beauty in preservation. It stands not just as a directional marker, but as a symbol of community pride, a piece of local history, and a beacon of continuity in the ever-evolving landscape of Clintonville.