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What happened to the old Dairy Queen sign at 17th and Dawson streets?

Merton Vance

This sign stood above the former Dairy Queen at 17th and Dawson streets for 48 years.

The Dairy Queen sign with an Eskimo girl holding an ice cream cone was a Wilmington landmark for 48 years until 1998, when the old Dairy Queen at the corner of 17th and Dawson Streets was sold.

Both the ice cream stand and a Wachovia bank building that stood in the block of Dawson Street between 16th and 17th streets were demolished to make way for a new Eckerd Drug store (now Rite Aid).

The Dairy Queen then relocated to its current location at 16th and Dawson, diagonally across the intersection from its previous site.

City sign regulations no longer permitted rooftop signs or signs of the size of the Eskimo girl, however, so the sign didn’t make the move.

But the Eskimo girl sign was not lost to history.

It was acquired by the Cape Fear Museum, where it remains stored in the museum’s obsolete objects collection, although it is not currently on display.

“There are almost 50,000 objects in the collection, and only about 1,000 on exhibit,” said museum director Ruth Haas.

User-contributed question by:
Steve Bradham

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2 Responses to “ What happened to the old Dairy Queen sign at 17th and Dawson streets?”

  1. On February 18, 2010 at 8:06 am Bob Barefoot wrote:

    Nice article and great picture! I pulled up to that place many times when I lived down there circa 1960. What I would like to know is, who painted it? It could have been my Dad who owned Port City Sign Company on Castle St. at the time – I just cannot remember.


    Bob Barefoot
    Richmond VA

  2. On March 5, 2010 at 3:09 pm Rober Roche wrote:

    Remember standing in line at the order window and then picking up your cone at the take out window in the ’50s. But mostly my family switched to the Biltmore Ice Cream Store across the street for milk shakes or lime freezes later on before we left Wilmington with the railroad.

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