Goldmann's Department Store sign finds a new home ... in North Dakota?
After 111 years of business and serving as a fixture on Mitchell Street, Goldmann's Department Store was forced to close its doors for good back in 2007. Now, the building is flickering back to life, as the former department store space is in the process of becoming the new Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center (the medical center, which helps serve lower-income patients, is currently located 1711 S. 11th St.).
As a part of the renovation process, however, the iconic Goldmann's sign was taken down. Luckily, after spending a brief time for sale, the popular Milwaukee and Mitchell Street landmark has found a new home ... in North Dakota.
The sign was purchased by the National Save the Neon Signs Museum, located in Minot, N.D. and dedicated to collecting, preserving and exhibiting classic neon signs from across North America. As reported on Twitter, it arrived to its new home early last week.
According to tips from Dean Castelaz and Adam Levin, the sign was removed from the side of the old Goldmann's Department Store building several weeks ago during the construction process and left sitting in the lot available for sale to the public. Prior to the confirmed sale of the sign, Randy Roth – the owner of Endeavour Corp., a local firm working on the Goldmann's renovation project – noted that the price of the sign was pretty much nothing.
"If we could find someone who would just take it and just pay for the cost of picking it up, they would have the Goldmann's sign," Roth said. "It's zero dollars. Frankly, we don't want to destroy it and just throw it in the dumpster. So really, frankly, if anyone is interested in purchasing it – and I put that word in parentheses – it's just a question of them making arrangements with our contractor and coming and picking it up."
Roth also noted at the time that they wanted to give the sign to "the right person, who's got some type of relationship back to the street." If the sign wasn't sold by the time the renovation was completed, it was to be disposed of. Thankfully, that didn't happen.
So, the next time you find yourself in North Dakota and want a taste of Milwaukee history, the museum offers visitations of its neon sign collection via tours by advance appointment only.
As for the former Goldmann's site, according to Roth, the renovations for the new Gerard L. Ignace Indian Health Center are projected to finish up "sometime in November to the beginning of December."
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