Sunken Gardens finally shed some light on things when its iconic sign made its nighttime debut Thursday night on Fourth Street in St. Petersburg.
The sign that serves as a welcome to the roadside attraction at 1825 Fourth St. N recently was refurbished to more closely resemble the original flower-filled sign from the 1960s. Its new design appeared last Wednesday. But because of technical issues it didn’t get to show off its more glamorous neon side until now.
The landmark location first opened in 1911, when plumber and avid gardener George Turner Sr. purchased just over four acres that included a shallow lake he drained to form his private “sunken” garden. It went on to become one of the area’s best-known roadside attractions and is now owned by the city.
The recent project, costing $180,000, replaced the sign that had been installed in March 2003 with one that more closely resembles the original from the ‘60s.
The new design makes greater use of LED lights, and limits the troublesome neon to the outline of the V-shaped chevron mark, said Brandon Giles, who oversaw the project for Thomas Sign & Awning of Clearwater.
Neon can be more expensive and fragile, Giles said, and the LED lights give the same pretty glow with much less maintenance and power costs.
At night, the 320-square-foot sign glows with its 40-inch letters and retro fonts. The new sign brings the return of a tumble of flowers on the side, which were taken down in recent years because of structural issues.