Since 1947, the Mercury Cleaners sign has been a beacon in
Midtown Sacramento. But in early 2014, the sign’s fate seemed
uncertain. The building at 1419 16th Street was scheduled for
demolition, making way for environmental cleanup of the site.
On September 25, 2015, CADA brought in a crew from Pacific Neon
to remove and renovate the vintage neon sign.
Pacific Neon workers first removed the flashing yellow arrow,
with the wings of Mercury.
The metal canopy was the final piece to be removed and readied
The sign had been powered by knob-and-tube transformers, circa
1947, when original owners Casper, Matt and Charlie Kolb bought
the building at 1419 16th Street.
Over the years, many neon tubes had been broken and the sign had
not been fully illuminated in years. But all that was about to
At the Pacific Neon shop, the Mercury Cleaners sign would undergo
a complete renovation.
The canopy was stripped to bare metal, revealing holes that rust
spots that would be filled before new paint could be applied.
Neon bender Steve Uroff shaped new glass tubes and filled them
with argon, which glows red.
Pacific Neon electricians Eloy Duarte (left) and Sergio Romero
rewired the arrow, adding bulbs to both sides of the sign.
Later, the electricians tested the new lights on the canopy.
On June 22, 2015 – nearly nine months after the sign was removed
– it returned to 16th Street.
The same crew from Pacific Neon rehung the sign in its new home
on the Legado de Ravel building.
On the second day, the flashing yellow arrow was lifted into
place, with a new support structure to attach it to the metal
On Friday, June 26, CADA Deputy Executive Director Mac de la
Vergne stood at the former site of the cleaners and led a
neighborhood countdown to the relighting of the sign.
Antique cars from the 1940s framed the sign as it was lit for the
first time in years. Once again, Mercury Cleaners is a beacon on