Thursday, August 27, 2009

signs: Lineman's Club

Lineman's Club

I've been keeping an eye out for this sign for a while. I saw a picture of it online somewhere, and it was described as being in the Oak Tree neighborhood. I finally discovered it today further up East 14th / International in Rancho San Antonio. I want to get better shots when I can, because this sign is wonderful. Besides neon lettering (which is in decent shape), it had a neon drink glass above and neon arrow below. The glass was an unusually shaped martini glass; sadly much of that has broken. But the crowning touch was the shape. Not only shaped like a power pole, it includes the insulators on the cross arms. Now, it would be in contention for best-sign-ever if they'd used real insulators, but I guess including the shape as part of the sign shows up better.

There's an older picture of it on flickr showing the unusual martini glass. I found this blog post about the International Lao Market that's there now asking about the sign, and a response in the comments. Go to the post to read the whole thing, but it sounds like it was quite the place once upon a time:

The club was kind of hidden between buildings and not too many people knew about it. I never let anyone know where I was getting my tickets on game day because they only had a limited supply. I think Ben Davidson or Jim Otto (or both) had something invested in the club and I saw some Raiders having a beer there more than once. Got to build up those carbs for the game, heh heh.

17 comments:

crazy57bus said...

What a great sign. I hate the martini glass got broken, but the rest is so unique.

The New PolyAnna said...

i really like this series.

Colburn said...

I wish I'd known you were looking for this sign -- I pass it nearly every day on the way to work. Another thing I like about it is that it now sits between two southeast asian businesses: it's as if the history of the neighborhood is inscribed in that one little piece of real estate.

Gene said...

@TNPA: Thanks. I like your shot of the Mullen's Liquors sign, but I almost snorted coffee at my nose this morning laughing at the one by Tom Spaulding that you linked to :-)

@dc: No worries. Part of the fun of this series of signs is finding them. If I'd gotten frustrated looking for that one, I'd have put out a plea. But if there are other ones you know of I haven't posted yet, by all means let me know. On the main Our Oakland page, there's a link to a Google Map I did of signs I've posted, ones I've photographed, and ones I know about.

Jim Fitzsimons said...

I used to frequent this bar on Raider game days. These were the hardest core Raider fans I've ever known, made a favorable comment one day about the 49ers and almost lost my life. Amazing bar from a sociological perspective, all races were there but all were exactly the same as their love of the Raiders united them. Bar was owned by Russ Fassio, a great guy and his brother, Jim Fassio (my father-in-law) still lives in San Leandro.

Gene said...

Thanks for the info, Jim. I saw two comments from you, not quite the same, so I published the more recent of the two. Let me know if you want otherwise, or to make other changes.

Jamie Hill said...

Is the sign still there?

Gene Anderson said...

Last I saw it was there, though the remaining neon for the drink glass was a bit more broken.

newtonpo said...

Was my "Usual Haunt",in the mid-seventies when i worked at Lovette Roofing.Me and Lee Fletcher used to cash our checks there,and spend most of it there as well..Used to close the place regular.,Jim Fitzsimons comments above are spot on,and mirror my recollections of that place in time.We used to go too Raiders games in a bus that picked us up and dropped us back at the bar...Man .,Man oh man..

Unknown said...

I remember Russ and Georgia, my parents Bill and Virginia Gillingham were very close to them. They were the nicest people in the world!

Jim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim said...

Sadly the sign has disappeared. I saw it there as recently as this summer. I inquired in the Vietnamese owned market and beauty salon beneath where the sign once stood and was met with vacant stares.

newtonpo said...

No worries,Jim.It's been refurbished and found a permanent spot at the IBEW 1245 hall in Vacaville. You can look it up on line as"Linemans club finds new home", and get the lowdown.

Jim said...

That is good news. I had always heard it was a favorite hangout for the PG&E crew. Can't believe the sign has been gone for so long. I have been getting my haircut at Trudy's across the street for the past 10 years and I would have sworn, under oath, that I saw it this year. Is memory the first thing to go? Thanks for the update.

Eric Fitzsimons said...

So any chance we could get a picture of the restored sign? That is a great story. I'm sitting with Jim Fassio, Russ's brother and he loved the post and tribute to Russ. He said that the bar was originally owned by Frank Swan who Russ met while in the Army in Germany. He was Russ's Sergeant. They became friends as they were both from Oakland. Russ use to go to the bar as a patron and to visit his buddy from the Army. Swan ultimately decided it was time to sell and Russ became the new owner.
Jim Fitzsimons

newtonpo said...

Well, believe it or not, our little pub on East 14th Street and the sign that announced her presence isn't obscure or lost in time. Just found a series of good photos on, "Google Images", just punch in "Lineman's club sign". They did a beautiful job rehabbing it!. I worked for a time in 1970 at the old Simas Brothers gas station on 14th and E14th streets, right down the street from The Lineman's..Lot of fading memories, mostly good..

newtonpo said...

Thanks for that update,Eric.A big part of the reason me N' Lee went there was Mr and Mrs Fazio.Their warm spirit and friendly way with us Miscreant Children of Oakland pervaded the place and I can not remember to many conflicts in the place, even around the pool table on Friday and Saturday nights..On rainy day's we couldn't work, and would go to the club to,"Wait it out",lol.Have Hot Toddies with Tuaca, and those toasted sandwiches Russ had.I met my best Gal Alice there..And crackers, now my eyes are misting,Eric..Please give Russ's Brother Jim my regards..