More on “Renowned the World Around”

I was aware that the “Renowned the World Around” slogan from this week’s “Where the Heel?” was not confined to the pin that was pictured because I was told the city of Durham erected a sign using the slogan near the train station. However, I was not aware of how very cool this sign was until yesterday when I started looking for some pictures of it.

According to the blog “Endangered Durham,” the sign was built in 1913 to welcome visitors arriving by train. The electric lights allowed the welcome to be extended day or night. Apparently the sign was over 30 feet wide, the globe on the top was a “10 foot sphere,” and it used 1200 bulbs.

The image of the sign above is from our postcard collection. Click here for more information about this postcard and its image. Also, there are several other images of the sign in the Durham County Library’s Historic Photographic Archives. Click here for a daytime view and click here for a wider night-time shot that includes the sign.

I’m particularly interested in the colors of the lights (or lack thereof). I’ve seen several photos where the lights all appear white and two with differently colored bulbs: our postcard with red and green and an image in Duke’s 1917 yearbook where the word “renowned” is done in blue. It could be that color was added for advertising purposes, but it would be interesting to know for sure. Does anyone know anything else about this very impressive sign?

One thought on “More on “Renowned the World Around””

  1. Hello,
    I thought you might like to know that Durham author Jim Wise included a section on the Slogan Sign in his excellent book, Durham Tales: The Morris Street Maple, the Plastic Cow, The Durham Day that Was & More (The History Press, 2008).
    He writes that the sign included 1,230 electric bulbs mounted on a framework 41.5 x 31.5 feet in size. The red globe at the top appeared to rotate, and the double border was composed of red and white lights. He doesn’t mention any blue lights.
    One of the best parts of Jim’s story is that when they first lit the sign on December 15, 1913, the estimated crowd of 10,000 people was dismayed to see that everything was illuminated EXCEPT the word Durham! The problem was quickly fixed, resulting in loud cheers. Sadly, the sign was brought down in a windstorm a few years later.


    Laura All
    Senior Commissioning Editor/Publisher
    The History Press

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