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Utah man wins decade-long battle over historic beer sign

By The Associated Press
02.03.09

OGDEN, Utah — A man who has fought for a decade to restore a nearly century-old painted sign advertising beer has emerged victorious.

In 1998, Bruce Edwards' request to restore the painted sign on his C.C. Keller building on the city's 25th Street was denied by the Ogden Landmarks Commission. Edwards said one member of the commission said no because the sign advertised beer and didn't fit a family-friendly image for the thoroughfare.

But recently, the commission approved a renewed request.

"I outlasted 'em," Edwards said. "And the bottom line is, I was right."

The original wording on the sign dates back to about 1910 and is painted on the north side of the two-story brick structure. It reads, "Every hour upon the hour for about an hour Drink Becker's Beer — Ogden's Famous Beer."

After his request was denied, Edwards and the city got into a war of sorts. In 2000, Edwards put up a sign in the window of his then-vacant building hammering the city with insults. The City Council then passed an ordinance forbidding signs like Edwards'.

The battle moved to court, where in 2005 a judge sided with Edwards, saying the city had violated his First Amendment rights. So the critical sign stayed and the landmarks commission denied his request to restore the beer sign again.

After more time in court, Edwards applied again last year and finally got the long sought-after approval.

Ogden Mayor Matthew Godfrey says any feud with the city is in Edwards' mind.

"I feel sorry for Bruce," Godfrey said.

But Penny Allred, proprietor of the Two Bit Street Cafe on 25th Street, said the city didn't treat Edwards fairly.

"Had they done that, a lot of this nitpicking back and forth could have been avoided," she said.


Previous
Utah judge strikes down Ogden's sign law
Court had allowed removal of businessman's signs on day of 2002 Olympic torch run in city. 10.05.03

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