Handpainted signs are the rarest of vintage signs in San Jose. Not many remain, making the Diamond Laundry and Cleaners wooden sign extra special. This is the oldest billboard still in existence in the South Bay. It was installed in 1950 after the store moved here from its previous location on Grant Street. The laundry is named for owner Harold H. Hulbert’s birthstone. After Hulbert passed his wife, Mary, and stepson, Gary Burton, ran the laundry.
The most endearing part of this sign is a lovely little vignette of a lady with the words “Miss Careful Works Here” painted above it. The vignette is an unfinished portrait of Miss Careful, inspired by Mary, who, at age 94, still turns up at work everyday. (See this lovely photograph of Mary by her grandson Jason Burton.) The sign painter, Norman Hollingsworth, died in 1997 while doing a touchup of the face on Miss Careful and Mary insists it remain unfinished, though many artists have volunteered to finish the painting.
The store is fronted by this neon sign, probably from the same time as the billboard.
398 W. San Carlos St.