More Strange Signs

On July 24, 2009 · 7 Comments

I naturally want to stop for a photo whenever I come across an odd sign. This isn’t a new fixation – I’ve posted a batch before. This is the latest installment. I won’t be discussing anything intellectual or educational today. Simply sit back and enjoy.

Florida Panthers

I would imagine that panther crossing signs are somewhat rare. Deer crossing, sure. I’ve even seen a sign for turtle crossing. However this is the only time I’ve ever been warned to watch out for wandering panthers with a tendency to jump in front of cars.

The Florida Panther, a type of cougar, is critically endangered and there may be only 80-100 of them left alive. One of their few remaining outposts happens to be Everglades National Park, where I visited last April on the way to Key West. The loss of even a single specimen could harm the population. It would be a shame to further endanger the species because of a few inattentive tourists. Hopefully this visual reminder will make a difference.

The sign appeared on the road to the Royal Palm Visitors Center. I never did see the panther, though.

Poison Ivy

How tired or desperate would someone have to be to sit down on the poison ivy bench? This seems like a crazy experiment dreamed-up by a psychology student conducting field researching for her doctorate. Imagine. A hot, sunny day. A tantalizing bench. Mounds upon mounds of poison ivy just feet away, and you are really, really tired. Do you take the risk? Do you walk away?

The Park Service had a choice. The could have simply moved the bench. No, instead they created a warning sign, mounted it and let visitors make the decision on their own. Someone at Maryland’s Glen Echo Park is very cruel.

Road Sign at the Virginia Border

Welcome to Virginia! There’s nothing wrong with this sign. Its totally normal. Everyone has seen similar markers while traveling across state or national boundaries, probably many different times. This one is a little different though because it’s not along a roadside. It’s underground. Indeed this marker is found on a platform 97 vertical feet below street level.

The Blue and Orange Lines of the Washington, DC Metro subway share a tunnel under the Potomac River and enter Arlington County at the Rosslyn station. The Commonwealth of Virginia erected a border sign within the station just to let passengers know they’ve entered a new land.

You can see part of the tunnel on the right side of the photo.

Children with Guns

There’s a distressing seriousness behind this sign on the front door of the Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul. I’m afraid to even ask what must have happened before the curators felt compelled to erect the sign.

On a lighter note, I couldn’t get the image of pistol-packing toddlers out of my mind. Don’t mess with those kids from Minnesota. They grow ’em tough up there.

Milwaukee Airport Security Sign

There’s little room for levity at airport security. It’s better to remain serious and keep to one’s business rather than risk the possibility of an extra special body cavity search. That’s why I was surprised to spot this sign in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin airport after I passed through the magnetometer and prepared to put my shoes and my belt back on, repack my laptop, and find the various bits of metal I’d placed in the little plastic bin.

I felt, well, a little discombobulated. What better place to go than the recombobulation area? That’s not a real word, or at least I don’t think it is, but it represents something even more rare: a security checkpoint with a sense of humor.

On July 24, 2009 · 7 Comments

7 Responses to “More Strange Signs”

  1. Greg says:

    Yeah, I always wondered why VA put a sign at Rosslyn, but as far as I could tell during my summer in DC last year, no other signs are at stations, either from VA, DC, or MD. Speaking of Metro, is it just me, or is the anteroom of the Friendship Heights station directly on the DC/MD line (or at least directly under Western Ave)?

    • I’ve not seen another sign anywhere else on the system either. It’s been there as long as I can remember and I think it may even date back to the earliest days of Metro from when it first pushed into Arlington in 1976. I do think there’s a bit of an inferiority complex at work here too. Arlington has always been in DC’s shadow so this is an easy way to get out in front of people.

      I’m convinced you’re correct about the Friendship Heights station. Check out this map on StationMasters. The black squares with white arrows are exit markers. The two southern ones are in the District. The two northern ones are in Maryland. The inescapable conclusion is that the border, marked by Western Avenue, bisects the Friendship Heights station. Some time ago I wrote an entry called "Unusual Goes Very Local" (Part I and Part II). The claim I made was that you can find geo-weirdness wherever you go, even in your own backyard. Something like this would be a perfect example of that phenomenon. Funny thing, I’ve used that station before but somehow its odd geographical placement didn’t stick with me. Good catch!

  2. Steve_CTMQ says:

    Tom – you already link my blog often enough but every once in a while, I feel I can add to a post.

    Here in CT, we have a whole bunch of weird ET Buckle Up signs. I especially like how commenters keep alerting me to other locations.

    A few other dumb signs here.

  3. Greg says:

    Actually, now that I’ve done the Googling I should’ve done before commenting, it looks like the northwest DC boundary monuments are all(?) on the northwest side of Western Ave by a matter of many feet, like in people’s yards and such. If that’s the case, then the Friendship Heights station anteroom may be right under Western Ave, but fully in DC, since Western Ave itself would be fully in DC. That would be too bad, since I always liked crossing Western Ave thinking the border ran right down the middle.

    • Twelve Mile Circle says:

      Do you recall if you have to walk down any long corridors to get to the exits on the Maryland side? Those metro station tunnels are pretty long, and it would be considerably longer than the width of Western Avenue. Depending on how it’s configured it might still qualify. In any case, two exits are in DC and two are in Maryland so there’s a border crossing somewhere in that station (albeit it might be in one of the pedestrian tunnels, especially if any of them radiate a long distance from the station itself).

      UPDATE: Having seen some more photos, I’d say there’s a good chance the anteroom is fully within DC, with the border crossings taking place in the two pedestrian tunnels leading to exits in Maryland. Bummer.

  4. Aaron of Minneapolis says:

    The “bans guns” thing, while admittedly odd, has to do with Minnesota’s handgun-carry law. “Private establishments” (such as businesses or museums) are allowed to ban guns if they’ve “prominently posted a conspicuous sign”. I don’t think enough people actually carry guns for it to be much of an issue.

    Still, I did get a giggle out of that picture! Love the “recombobulation area” sign, too. 😀

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