Carlsbad now has an archway sign over Highway 101, close to where an historic sign stood 75 years ago. The archway sign went up at the busy intersection of Carlsbad Village Drive and Coast Highway. Carlton Lund of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, said the idea was born when Encinitas put up its archway sign 14 years ago. It has taken this long to manifest the classic arch for Carlsbad, he said. A couple of years ago, an old black and white photograph turned up a similar Carlsbad sign over Highway 101 back in 1938. “We didn’t know what the center color was,” Lund said. But the photo helped get community support for the idea. The new sign is a specially selected blue hue with coastal surf white letters.
No public money was spent on the sign. A Carlsbad business, TaylorMade Golf, footed the $225,000 bill. As for the cost of illuminating the sign at night, Lund said energy efficient LED and neon lights run for 25 cents an hour. That will be covered by the proceeds of one city parking meter, Lund said.
The sign is 82-foot-long and spans part of Coast Highway where traffic lights on a public crosswalk will allow just enough time for people to take “selfies” with the sign in the background. Lund said it will give residents a sense of ownership of their city. “This sign will be a landmark for the city,” Lund said. “It’ll draw people to the village, it’ll make people feel proud. The end result is you know that you’re in a California coastal city.“ The official hand-over to the city will take place at a lighting ceremony on the evening of Jan. 8.
Watch the 1930s Carlsbad archway sign, manufactured by Federal Heath Sign in Oceanside, CA, being installed across Carlsbad Boulevard here: