If you’ve never been to Portland chances are you know the iconic white stag sign. It’s the iconic symbol of Portland. Like Old Town Portland, the sign has it’s own interesting, weird and wonderful past.
Since its installation, the sign has changed quite often, depending on who owned the building at the time. If you saw the sign in 1950, it read “White Satin Sugar" and was animated to show the state filling with sugar.
In 1977, the sign was designated a City of Portland Historic Landmark.
The longest-lasting version was created for White Stag Sportwear and lasted from 1957 to 1997. For the 1959 Christmas season, a red neon nose was added to the stag's snout in imitation of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
“Nose Day,” as it’s called by locals, is a proud tradition to this day. The nose is always lit the day before Thanksgiving. It requires a manual flipping of a switch on the control panel located at the base of the sign.
Ownership of the sign passed from one entity to another for 51 years until 2010 when the Portland City approved an agreement in which the city took ownership. The company that created the original sign, Ramsey Signs, donated it to the city, and the city agreed to pay the company a monthly fee of $2,000 for sign maintenance and electricity.
Learn more about Portland’s weird and wonderful history on our solo tour “Weird and Wonderful Portland” only on the WalknTours app. On the solo tour you’ll learn about the Shanghai tunnels that run under it’s streets, the history of the Hung Far Low sign, the Skidmore Fountain, the Chinatown gate and you’ll get a chance to eat at iconic shops like Voodoo donuts, Stumptown coffee, the Pine street market, Kell’s Irish Pub, Old Town Pizza and so much more.
The WalknTours app offers solo tours navigated by your smart phone. Go at your own pace, on your own schedule and on your own terms. It's like a real life tour guide, only it's on your phone, way more convenient and a better story teller. Now available in Boston, Charleston, Savannah, Salem, New Orleans and Portsmouth.
To take the tour get the WalknTours app on the App Store or Google play.