By Steve Strunsky | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com |
If you're driving on Route 30 in Camden County just south of the New Jersey Turnpike, and you see a McDonald's Hamburgers sign mounted on a golden arch, you might want to pull over, even if you're not hungry.
It's not the fries or Big Macs that are so special — McDonald's is known for its strict quality control and uniformity of its food — but the sign itself.
The single-arch marquee is an original version that dates to 1962, and is one of only a half dozen like it from among the 37,000 McDonald's locations around the world, according to collectors, curators and other sign experts who have been wowed by what may be the Borough of Magnolia's most widely-renowned piece of architecture.
"I would say it’s a historic treasure," said Tod Swormstedt, executive director of the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio. "Especially when there are only a handful left, certainly no more than 10."Before there was Ronald McDonald, the curly-haired clown with the striped socks, there was Speedee, a McDonald's mascot who personified the concept of fast food when the term was still new. The smiling, fleet-footed burger chef is seen here on a reproduction of an early single-arch sign outside a McDonald's restaurant on South Black Horse Pike in Mt. Ephraim, also in Camden County just a few miles from Magnolia.