SUNNYSIDE – Monday morning’s damp gloom further darkened as the last of downtown’s colorful landmarks faced retirement.
Under the careful handling of Curtis Hoon and Mark Braley of Eagle Signs, the iconic Golden Pheasant Restaurant sign was removed from the perch it has laid claim to for more than 60 years.
“I was afraid it might crumple when we set it down,” Hoon said.
The moving of the sign from the building front and placing it on a flatbed trailer without any damage is an art, Hoon remarked. “It’s like a ballet,” he added of the precision needed in the removal process.
The vibrantly flashing sign, which used to shine 24 hours a day, was officially turned off on Dec. 31, 2010, by retired owners Sing Louie Wang, Marina Louie, and their son Kile Louie.
While sad that it is gone his family’s former building, Kile commented, “It’s good it’s going to the city to be restored so that people can see it again.” He added that he’s grateful it won’t be destroyed.
New building owner Javier Gonzalez of Grandview, however, did turn the light on for last year’s Sunnyside Lighted Farm Implement Parade, which was the last time the brightly colored bird took flight.
Gonzalez began work on remodeling and updating the building in February to open the second location of his Javi’s Chicken and Churros business. He had planned to open his restaurant in December but said it may have to wait until January.
“I hope to refurbish the old restaurant sign and add my only logo above it on the front of the building,” he mused.
“It won’t be a pheasant, but it will be colorful,” he grinned.
While the flashy sign hasn’t been continuously turned on since 2010, it has remained a downtown landmark. The sign will be stored on city property until money can be raised to bring it back to life.
“We hope to refresh it, as well as several other old Sunnyside neon business signs to be included in a neon park,” said longtime downtown businessman Bill Flower of the Downtown Sunnyside Business Merchants.
For now, there is time to mourn the loss of the sign which was donated to the merchants for its park by Gonzalez and the Louie Family.
In a Sunnyside Sun newspaper article from 2010, Sing Louie Wang said “The pheasant has been flying for so long, it is tired. It’s time for this bird to rest.”