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Phantom signs: Snow Falling on Cedars

Updated: Jan 17, 2021

Snow Falling on Cedars, the movie filmed partly in Greenwood in 1998, left a legacy of faux phantom signs, which helped transform the Boundary mining town into the Puget Sound fishing village of Amity Harbor. Those signs are themselves starting to fade and decay, and a few have been removed. The following photos were taken in 2000 and 2018.


The Hyde Block (also known as Brown’s Store) has three different signs. The “San Juan Islands Choice Quality Salmon” sign painted on the north side of the building was meant to look a bit faded from the get go — now it actually has faded.

2000

2018


The building was used in the movie as Lottie’s Apparel and Amity Harbor Sewing Shop and Notions. In 2000 it was an antique shop. Today it is vacant. Twenty years after the signs were created, both are looking worse for the wear.

2000

2000

2018


The Rendall block used to have this sign for Fisk’s Marine Supply and Hardware, but it has since been removed — I think. Doesn’t look like it was covered over.

2000

2018


The two buildings seen below were transformed into Petersen’s Grocery and Larsen’s Pharmacy. While they still retain most of their signage, Petersen’s used to have signs on the windows as well that have since been removed. The Petersen’s building only dates to the late 1960s.

2000

2000

2018

2018


The Larsen’s building was built in 1897 as the Greenwood Trading Co. and later became the P. Burns and Co. meat market. In 1968, it became Jarrel’s Clothing, of which a faint (real) phantom sign can be seen on the building’s north side.

2018

2018


On the north side of the Gulley Block (now the McArthur Centre) is a giant sign proclaiming Amity Harbor the Strawberry Capital of the San Juan Islands.

2018

2018


The Amity Harbor Library sign, in the window of the Greenwood Library, also in the McArthur Centre, is no more. The Boundary Creek Times of Dec. 5, 2013 reported that the library, having created a new logo, asked city council if they had any objections to removing the old sign. The library board wanted the option to replace it. Despite the objections of councillor Darla Ashton, a resolution was passed that so long as the library’s role in the movie was properly documented, they could do as they saw fit.

2000


I bought the photo seen below on eBay in January 2021, showing the Greenwood Inn restyled as the San Piedro Island Inn and the Pacific Hotel turned into the Harbour Hotel. Neither of these signs outlasted filming of the movie.

Rossland, similarly, has a phantom sign that’s a legacy of a movie: the ad for the fictional Berchowitz and Epstein of Lake Placid, New York, painted on the side of the old Bank of Montreal during filming of Miracle, looked so good that it stayed — and has probably fooled more than a few people into believing it’s from the turn of the 20th century.


Greenwood has a few other phantom signs from actual businesses, which you can read about here.

2000


Updated on Jan. 17, 2021 to add the photo I purchased on eBay.

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