Home » City Guide » , ,

SF Gets a Brand New 25-Foot Neon Sign

The two-and-a-half-story neon sign, an homage to the old Cadillac Hotel sign, was just unveiled
By - posted 11/8/2023 No Comment

Join Tenderloin Museum and SF Neon as they ignite a new, historically-informed neon sign above the entrance to the Tenderloin Museum at Eddy & Leavenworth in San Francisco.

Three years in the making, this 25-ft double-sided neon will brighten the museum’s street corner and serve as both a literal and figurative beacon for the Tenderloin neighborhood.

The sign is 25 ft long with a steel frame, aluminum sheeting, 8 transformers, and 337 ft of neon glass tubing.

See the lighting on KTVU

On November 8th, the brand new neon sign will be unveiled as the newest addition to the neighborhood’s historic neon signage. The two-and-a-half-story neon sign is an homage to the old Cadillac Hotel sign, which photographic evidence suggests lit up our community in the 1950s. This new recreation proudly bears the name “Tenderloin” on one side and “Cadillac” on the other, a fusion of history and artistry, illuminating the Tenderloin community and adding to the vibrancy of our neighborhood.

This sign is the conceptual project of and a proud partnership between Katie Conry of the Tenderloin Museum and Randall Ann Homan of San Francisco Neon, an organization that educates and advocates for the artistic legacy of historic neon signs. TLM & SF Neon have co-presented scores of programs and walking tours that highlight the Tenderloin neighborhood as a mecca of neon signage in the city. This new Tenderloin/Cadillac sign proclaims the neighborhood’s rich neon lineage by reinstituting a lost landmark while acknowledging the solidarity of the Tenderloin community today.

The Tenderloin/Cadillac sign was inspired by a family photo of the original Cadillac Hotel sign, which surfaced in 2020 on the San Francisco Remembered Facebook Group. SF Neon replicated the design in the photo with custom letterforms and decorative border. Not just a recreation but a visionary work of art, the Tenderloin/Cadillac neon sign serves as a beacon of hope for the Tenderloin, welcoming visitors, invigorating foot traffic, and adding essential street lighting for the block.

Now, after three years of multifaceted planning, which even included successfully advocating for new legislation to create a neon sign district in the Tenderloin, the Tenderloin/Cadillac sign is ready to shine its light on the neighborhood. The project was made possible by support from the San Francisco Community Challenge Grant Program (CCG), Magic Cabinet, as well as by the advocacy of Supervisor Dean Preston, Tenderloin People’s Congress, and the CCSRO Collaborative Land Use Committee.

Come together to celebrate the completion of this new, historically-informed sign to help foster a sense of pride, identity, and belonging for the people of the Tenderloin. On November 8th from 6-7:30 pm, witness the illumination of a new chapter in Tenderloin history–the 6 pm sign lighting ceremony will feature special guest speakers and streetcorner fanfare by Brass Mafia. After the ceremony, the 5-piece New Orleans / Bay Area fusion brass band–a project of the all-star Bay Area collective and regulars in the TL Jazz Mafia–will share a set of celebratory tunes inside the museum, showcasing TLM’s ongoing “Sounds of the Tenderloin” live music series. Throughout the evening, look for a special video projection outside the museum featuring “Lost Neon Landscapes” compiled by SF Neon from the Prelinger Archive.

The live music at this program and the “Sounds of the Tenderloin” program series was initially made possible by a grant funded by the Specified General Fund for the Museum Grant Program under the California Cultural and Historical Endowment.

Read more at the Tenderloin Museum