Blogdowntown's Kristin Friedrich tells the story of how the Museum of Neon Art spared a big Union 76 ball from the wrecking ball of history.
Union Oil of California’s circular orange logo dates back to the 1940s. It went 3-D in 1962, when the company debuted the rotating, plastic ball at the Seattle World’s Fair. In 2002, Union Oil, by then known as Unocal, was enveloped by ConocoPhillips, which re-branded the orange logo and began to take the balls down.
An unexpected tide of nostalgic protest reared its head. Local author, historian and Esotouric tour company co-founder Kim Cooper launched the website savethe76ball.com. She gathered 3,000 signatures and campaigned to save and re-install some of the de-installed balls. Word made its way to Koga, who began to pursue a ball on behalf of MONA.
ConocoPhillips, eager to avoid ball backlash, offered appeasements. It would re-install a select number of orbs at West Coast gas stations (though they would be in the new red color, not orange) and donate several dozen to appropriate historic and conservation groups. MONA was chosen as a recipient in early 2007.
But that was just the first leg of the Downtown ball’s journey....
Great reporting...at one of the city's best written and most authoritatve blogs.
Also: need some antenna balls? Here you go.