The Richmond Welcome Arch or Welcome Arrow, as it was generally called, was erected in 1927 and taken down in 1952. It stood astride San Pablo Avenue with the arrow pointing down Macdonald Avenue. At that time, the main business district of Richmond didn't begin until about 23rd and Macdonald, causing some motorists to wonder why such a small town had such a big sign. Actually most people (including my father) rarely stopped in the town, due mostly to the odor of the refineries.
This photo, reportedly taken not too long after the arch was built, shows the Arch with not only the giant arrow bearing the word RICHMOND, but with an additional sign above it with the message "TURN HERE AUTO FERRY TO SAN FRANCISCO." The letters in the word RICHMOND were each three feet high. The arch and its messages were identical on both sides. Electric light bulbs in each letter illuminated the sign which blinked on and off at night. Richmond Public Library photo.
The above photo, taken in 1943 shows the arch with the arrow, but no sign for the ferry. Soon after the San Francisco Bay Bridge was completed in 1937, many of the ferry routes on the bay were discontinued. If the Richmond Ferry was not operating in 1943, that would be a good reason for removing the sign for the ferries from the arch. The problem I have with that notion is that I think the ferries were running during the war. Unfortunately, in spite of the fact the sign was there for 25 years, information regarding it is very scarce. If anyone reading this knows anything more about the arch and signs than I have here, I would like very much to hear from you. Caltrans photo.
This photo was taken during the demolition of the arch, which occurred on April 17-18 1952, and cost the city $777. There is no trace of the auto ferry part of the sign in the photo, which could further indicate that ferries or not, that section of the sign was still missing from the arch from at least 1943 on. Or, it may have trucked away before this photo was taken. City of Richmond photo.
This is a tale of two cities. In 1911, Marysville dedicated seven identical arches spanning seven intersections in the heart of its downtown. Unfortunately, truck traffic throught town increased dramatically over the next few years and the arches became a growing problem. Struck from time to time by passing vehicles, and neglectred too, they were forced out of the picture. All but one of the attractive, lighted arches were destroyed. The one shown above, which had graced the corner of Third and "C" Streets was offered to the Rio Linda Grange and they accepted.
When the townspeople of Rio Linda gathered on June 23, 1926 to dedicate there new arch at the intersection of Rio Linda Boulevard and "M" Street, no one cared that it was second hand and nearly 15 years old.
While this arch differs from the norm in that it doesn't bear a town name, it did to begin with. When first installed, a sign hanging from from the center of the four-cornered arch carried the words RIO LINDA in approximately 8" letters. The area proved to be too windy for the sign and it was eventually removed.
In 1985 the arch was completely refurbished and rededicated.
For several years, this sign spanned Main Street in downtown Walnut Creek. It is reported to have been erected sometime in the early to mid-1930s and remained there into the `40s or even `50s.
The channeled letters spelling out the town's name, appear to have been illuminated by neon tubing. The two sided, arch-shaped sign was suspended by wires attached to poles on either side of the street.
If you know of any Welcome Arches in California, past or present, that are not shown here, I would like to hear from you. In my book, Arch Rivals, I have many more and some will be added to this site, but I am always looking for any that I may have missed.
Click here to Email us