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California Mission Trails Assn. Member - Large, two-sided porcelain sign

In Signs > Porcelain Signs > Show & Tell and Signs > Travel and Highway Signs > Show & Tell.
I see a sign...14 of 34Large 'SLOW' Sign - with grafittiOld Porcelain Sign - No Parking on this Side of Street - Police Department
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Posted 4 years ago


(2658 items)

A good friend of mine who has been collecting signs for lots longer than me gave this beauty to me today. I believe the mission depicted is Santa Barbara Mission. I can't find any information about the California Mission Trails Assn. though. I'd love to find out more about it - age? what was the association about? Who/what were the members? It's in beautiful condition despite having obviously hung outside for some time. The first and second photos show both sides of it. The sign is 24" across and quite heavy.

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  1. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 4 years ago
    thanks for the love aghcollect, drfluffy and mtg75! i really hope i can find more info about the assn..
  2. toracat toracat, 4 years ago
    Beautiful Sign!! I have 2 Mission Bells!
  3. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    Great colours, love it?
    Could it have been an organization promoting businesses along the the Mission Trail when the highway was developed?
  4. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 4 years ago
    uhm yeah, walksoftly. it probably was that, but i can't find anything about it. it was probably created, but never took off, or their mandate might have been picked up by state parks or something. i'd just like to know the details about it - when? who? what happened? thanks! hi toracat. what is the date of your mission bells, toracat? there were quite a few issued over the yrs, i think.
  5. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 4 years ago
    just realized the color is screwed up in this photo. the background is a dark blue with orange lettering and yellow graphic. it's much better in person!
  6. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    I did some searching just for the hell of it, you would think that there would be some mention of the association some where.
    They must not have existed for long.
  7. pw-collector pw-collector, 4 years ago
    There is a book by Kenneth Clyde Adams, published by Murray & Gee in 1947 titled "California Missions Trails Association".
    Not sure if this will answer your curiosity.
  8. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    Well done PW!
    The publisher was the California Department of Highways and Public Works, 1944
  9. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 4 years ago
    wow, thanks pw-collector and walksoftly! unfortunately, i can't find anything about it. can you send me a link to it? i'd love to read it!
  10. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    You can find a copy at the following libraries;
  11. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 4 years ago
    Thank you walksoftly. your link lead me to a contact email for what i think is the current organization charged w/ the same tasks as the Association.
  12. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    You're welcome keep us posted!
  13. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 4 years ago
    i got a very prompt and thoughtful reply to my questions:

    'Pete, that is indeed a beautiful sign.

    Such an organization existed during the Mission Revival period. These were the years, in the first half of the 20th century when so many of the missions were restored. The official name was the California Mission Trails Association, Ltd. From what I can determine they functioned for thirty to forty years between the 1930s – 1960s. They published a series of pamphlets promoted the historic trail (for example, Tour and Mileage Guide (1937), California Mission Trails: The Most Beautiful 600 Miles in America (1952) California Mission Trails Visitor’s Guide (1966). The association was listed in the California Local History: A Centennial Biography, published in 1950. I suspect, but have not been able to confirm, that they were headquartered in Los Angeles.

    I don’t know whether there was any connection between this group and the earlier El Camino Real Association (founded in 1904), and the effort (led by Mrs. A.S.C. Forbes) to manufacture and place “marker bells” along the trail.

    If you have the time and interest you should be able to find individuals still alive who can provide details on the membership and perhaps more important, the sponsorship. This will take a lot of calling and writing. You might see what is available at the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley. Another potential source is the Santa Barbara Mission Archive Library. I would definitely contact the major Historical Societies (San Diego and Los Angeles in particular), the California Historical Society in San Francisco etc. Like any research one source will lead to another, and ultimately, someone who really knows the background of this group.

    It is interesting to note that the “Mission Trail” still has tremendous appeal. Just one example. There is a group of horseback riders that have organized a ride between all of the missions, in stages. See

    If you find out more, let me know…… and keep the porcelain sign well anchored.

    David McLaughlin
    Pentacle Press
    Developer and Sponsor of '

  14. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    It great when people take the time to respond to inquiries.
    Sounds like you have some more research to do, I love when an item has some unknown history.
    Good luck & like he said "keep the porcelain sign well anchored".
  15. gargoylecollector gargoylecollector, 4 years ago
    Yes ,the prices of porcelain signs makes them grow legs and walk!
  16. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    You have a very generous friend!

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