The world-famous neon Weirs Beach sign, which was erected on Saturday, July 21, 1956, celebrated its 50th birthday on Friday, May 26, 2006, after an extensive renovation spearheaded by the Weirs Action Committee. The sign features 696 11-watt chaser bulbs, 200 feet of neon tubing, and lights up in a distinctive pattern beckoning visitors to Weirs Beach. Weighing in at 4400 lbs, the sign was restored in mid-January 2002 to a relocated traffic island, 8 feet closer to Lakeside Ave and off the state right-of-way on Route 3. The relocation resulted in an improved traffic flow, with two lanes of one-way traffic on either side of the sign (previously, there was one-lane, two-way traffic on either side of the sign.) The relocation plan had called for a left-hand turning lane off of Route 3 southbound, but there wasn’t enough room. One interesting feature of the sign is that it is two-sided. For visitors coming from Laconia and other points South of Weirs Beach, and who are travelling North on Route 3, it will point to the right; while for visitors coming from Meredith and other points North of Weirs Beach, and who are travelling South, it will point to the left.
In 2017, a Lakeside Avenue improvement project resulted in a larger, two island base for the sign, with a new crosswalk crossing between the upper and lower islands. While the new design maintained two-lane, one way traffic on the northern side of the sign, the new upper island purposely restricts the southern side to one lane entering Lakeside Avenue. (The photo below shows the temporary, painted line crosswalk in August 2017. A few months later, a permanent, faux-brick, colored concrete crosswalk was installed.) In May, 2018, an irrigation system was completed to the two islands.
HISTORY OF THE WEIRS BEACH SIGN
The original colors of the Weirs Beach sign, seen below in the circa 1957 postcard and copy-cat decal, were yellow and black. (The postcard also shows the original traffic island, and behind it, the Endicott House Restaurant.) The sign was yellow, the supporting poles were black, and the arrrow was black. Today, the sign is light blue, the supporting poles are dark blue, and the arrow is red. Also note the mast pole atop the sign. Before restoration, power to the sign was fed from overhead utility lines and down the mast pole. After restoration, power was fed from an underground line and up the main bottom pole. Unfortunately, during the restoration, a key element of the original design, the mast pole, was removed. With the mast pole, the original sign was tall and well-proportioned. Without the mast pole, the sign doesn’t look quite as elegant.
Compare the old sign, with topmost pole, on left; to the new sign, with no topmost pole, on right
The original Weirs Beach arrow sign. Interestingly, the prime property at the corner of Lakeside Avenue and Route 3 is vacant and overgrown in this photo.
The original Weirs Beach sign on a fall night, circa the 1970s, looking towards the lake. In this photo, while the sign is still the original yellow, the arrow and poles are painted gray, and the neon appears to be neon yellow instead of the original neon red.
Click here to enlarge this B&W photo of the sign’s original installation in 1956
Click here to enlarge a photo of the one year anniversary of the sign in 1957
A 1998, pre-restoration, daytime photo. Circa the 1980s, the sign colors had changed, from the original yellow-and-black, to a light blue sign, dark blue poles, and a red arrow. Upon restoration in 2006, the sign kept the 1980s color scheme.
A 2006, post-restoration, nighttime photo.