What's your Sign... neighbor?

Real Estate Agent



Western Washington is full of fine old traditions- Who hasn't heard of of the Festival of lutefisk in Ballard? Or the naked bicyclists during Fremont's Solstice Parade? 
But one of the fine traditions that is often overlooked is that of the Carved Wood.


 As you drive along the gorgeous scenic byways, one side a drop off to muddy shored salt water, the other a steep wall covered in madrona and blackberry, you will often come across the Northwest's version of the  Local Artisan. You will marvel in the likenesses of bears and eagles, often in patriotic stance. Sometimes a toilet paper roll holder.



 As you near your destination, you will see the more common fruits of the Carvers labors: Name Signs.


Our landscape is blessed with much rugged beauty- rugged, like where an untamed driveway (muddy & unpaved) leads through the mysterious (overgrown) trees & shrubs, to a home near the banks of a delightful saltwater estuary (called mudflats here'bouts) or perhaps a small lake (glorified mud-puddle). 



And if you have ever had the delight of trying to discern between said driveways  on a late afternoon in February, as the rain is blowing sideways and your windshield is fogged from the cold, you are very thankful to the signs announcing whose home you are approaching!

Our western Washington forest-scapes are dotted with these signs.
They announce everything from the cost of the lot, the ancestry of the inhabitants to the humor found within. And they range in complexity from the simple "surname-on-a-plank-of-cedar" to those carved in the shape of favorite forest denizen, up to 5 foot x 5 foot carving naming 5 generations of the family found therein and sculpted with bas-relief and painted on both sides.


I am not sure whether this is a phenomenon found only in the Pacific NW, but I am sure it is a treasure to the cold and weary traveller, struggling to find that one home on a shore of thousands of similar driveways!

Are you looking for a home or a vacation spot in Western Washington? Somewhere to hang your own shingle?
I work in Thurston County & Mason County and can help you find homes anywhere around Eld Inlet or Harstene Island, from Olympia to Shelton, and all the little and big lakes around the area, including Mason Lake, where these photos were take, or Timberlakes or Benson Lake or Lake Limerick or along the shores of the Skookumchuck River or just about anywhere in the area! These areas are about 2 hours from Portland, Oregon, and about 1 1/2 hours from the Seattle & Bellevue areas- so perfect for a vacation spot.
Give me a call if you have questions about the South Sound, I live here and I love it!
Sarah Nopp, RE/MAX Four Season, 360-789-7898
Search for homes at my website: http://www.sarahnopp.com/.



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Patty Carroll
Vancouver, WA

Hi Sarah, this is a great post. We didn't know that it was so popular we are looking to have a sign made for our vacation spot too.

Apr 26, 2008 02:05 AM #1
Thesa Chambers
Fred Real Estate Group - Bend, OR
Principal Broker - Licensed in Oregon
I love these signs we still see a few but not nearly as cool as these - thanks for sharing -
Apr 26, 2008 04:29 PM #2
Sarah Nopp
South Sound, WA

Patty & Scott Carroll - RE/MAX, Vancouver WA
I am not sure who you would look for to make these, but I bet the neighbors have names. I have seen some of the roadside log carvers with signs too, so you might try them.

Central Oregon Real Estate | Thesa Chambers, Broker
We see fewer signs as the years go on too. As the areas get more settled and polished, the fewer signs are left. It seems like paved driveways don't go with carved signs :)

Apr 26, 2008 05:38 PM #3
Kate Elim
Dockside Realty - Spotsylvania, VA
Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a

Hi Sarah...Love the signs and the fact that you are sharing them with us.  It is things like this that make areas unique.  Like you, I wish these trends would not disappear.  I like some of the interesting mail boxes out my way.


May 02, 2008 09:20 AM #4
Sarah Nopp
South Sound, WA

KATHLEEN ELIM, Lake Anna Real Estate   Mailboxes? What interesting mailboxes are you talking about. I would like to see some pictures! Please :)

May 02, 2008 03:19 PM #5
Respect Realty LLC
Respect Realty LLC - Milwaukie, OR
Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate

Most cities everywhere have sign codes that now don't allow for the personality that these smaller cities have created with signs like the ones you have here in pictures. I wish cities could see that signs like these give a city personality and start to allow them once again.

May 13, 2008 05:46 PM #6
Sarah Nopp
South Sound, WA

Todd Clark (Realtor), GRI (Washington Co, Beaverton, Oregon) (Kastings & Associates, Oregon)
Thanks Todd, This is actually way out in the County- so no city code to worry about. Just the CC&Rs for each subdivision of the lake, and any of the shoreline rules from the state. I wonder what a city would really do if a whole neighborhood started doing something like this...

May 15, 2008 07:14 AM #7
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